Volunteer Spotlight: Lenora Chamberlain

Apr 24, 2024


She may prefer to stay behind the scenes, but Lenora Chamberlain’s dedication to The Salvation Army has been seen from Nebraska to California.

Lenora’s volunteer journey started in 2009 when she moved to Torrance, California. A longtime friend introduced her to the Torrance Corps’ small group for women. Despite not previously knowing anything about The Salvation Army other than that she had shopped at the thrift stores, Lenora quickly became involved in all sorts of programs, including various women’s ministries, youth programs, and homeless assistance programs.

After moving back to Nebraska, Lenora called the Omaha Citadel Corps out of the phonebook. She attended her first meeting, introduced herself to the officers, and handed over the article that The War Cry had published about her time in Torrance. Since that day, Lenora Chamberlain has been a consistent figure in the Omaha Citadel community.

The day-to-day of her volunteering looks a lot like cooking meals for the various Citadel programs while working on other tasks, such as putting together packets for local nursing homes, and finding new ways to give back. She’s known for coming up with new ideas despite any challenges she may face. It’s this initiative that led to her Volunteer of the Year award in 2020 after she took it upon herself to stich hundreds of masks for those who live and work on The Salvation Army campus where the Citadel Corps resides, while also planning, cooking, and serving homemade meals to youth camps and the residents of Durham Booth Manor and Renaissance Village.

While volunteering is a regular part of Lenora’s routine, she encourages others to just give it a try. She wants potential volunteers to understand that they don’t have to fully commit in order to help out. They don’t have to attend church, they can try out different programs and locations, and they can just be there, she says, “to be involved, for fellowship.”

But she doesn’t commit to her volunteer role for the recognition and awards. When asked why she volunteers, Lenora says a few things. First, she says that when you walk into an organization like The Salvation Army, you’re going to realize that they need help with lots of things—snacks for the kid's programs, bell ringing, tidying, gardening—and you’re going to think ‘something needs to be done about that.’ “That’s me,” she says. Then she shares that her favorite part of being a part of The Salvation Army is the church community she’s found and says that giving back “is what we’re told to do, as Christians.”

Her final reason is simple, “it makes you feel good.”

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