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Monthly Archives: February 2009
We’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about what happens to families who lose their homes to foreclosure. While there are certainly some families who’ve been foreclosed upon in our residency programs, the more typical scenario is that we give them food, rent help, utility payments or other essentials so they can start over somewhere new.
Homeless families in Salinas, California are finding help in an unlikely place: the El Dorado Motel. It all started when Siddiqi Hansoti, the motel operator, welcomed Gus Hernandez and his family a few months ago after Hernandez lost his job in the loan industry and then his home.
Hansoti extended Hernandez credit for a room even though he was homeless. Not long after, Gus became the motel’s assistant manager. Now, about half the rooms at the El Dorado house homeless families at deeply discounted rates.
Sadly, because of a decline in tourism a lot of small motel operators in the area turn a blind eye to prostitution and drugs because they need the revenue to pay their bills. Hansoti has a totally different approach that helps families and allows him to cover his costs.
The Salvation Army and other local churches have begun providing needed services at the El Dorado. Salvation Army Captain Philip Smith says they’re planning to provide an after-school program and some help for the parents to find employment. Smith is sitting down with the families this week to find out from them what more he can do to ease their transition back into a place of their own.
I’d say that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Hansoti and Hernandez have come up with a creative solution to a handful of social problems and everyone involved is the better for it.
Please click here to read the newspaper account of this story online in The Californian.
I got up today determined to make good on my promise to give a little something to my favorite charities. Of course, The Salvation Army tops the list (you’re not surprised, are you?) but I don’t want to leave out the public radio station I listen to every day, my favorite animal organization, and the international aid group that lets me buy goats and chickens for families in Africa.
Seems like I’m not the only one trying to give more during these uncertain economic conditions. MSNBC posted a story yesterday which reported that charitable giving outpaced inflation in 2008. Not only that, the numbers say, so far, that charities are resisting the recession.
That may not last, but we may surprise ourselves. Claire Gaudiani, author of the book “The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism.” says that Americans give twice as much as the next most charitable country.
Giving to make life better for others is a pretty darn nice thing for the US to be best in the world at. No one does charitable giving like we do; or, like you do. Thank you for making sacrifices so that The Salvation Army can feed, shelter and care for folks who’ve hit bottom. Really.
Most of The Salvation Army news we hear is about large scale efforts like our mobilization for Hurricane Katrina, or world class programs such as the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers that are going up in communities around the United States.
Funded by the United Way and local foundations, the all-volunteer Salvation Army staff in Brush operate what we call an Outpost in Salvation Army parlance. It’s not a program or a church, but a local service center in a community that’s not quite large enough to support a full-scale operation. They help with rent payments, utility bills, medical bills, and sometimes food, lodging and gasoline for people passing through town.
The Brush Salvation Army Outpost is great blessing to at least one young woman. New in Colorado and afflicted with grand mal epilepsy, she arrived to find out that her disability drug insurance plan didn’t cross state lines with her. The cost of the deductible for her seizure medicines was well beyond her reach.
But thankfully, not beyond the reach of The Salvation Army. When the volunteers, many of whom work at Brush City Hall, heard about her situation, they quickly offered to pick up the tab. Now, she’s got plenty of time to save up the cost of the deductible for next year, and stay seizure-free in the meantime.
Historian John T. Edge, in his book Donuts: An American Passion says on the first two pages that Salvation Army lassies served up donuts to the boys in uniform during WWI, thus beginning America’s love affair with the delicious treat!
Apparently, the donut traces it’s roots to Europe, but gained a foothold on this continent after WWI when soldiers returned home longing for the treat they were served by the Salvation Army donut girl; a symbol of motherhood and home.
I’ve often said, that if I could get by with it, I’d eat donuts (and bacon) for every meal. They’re surely one of my favorite things to eat, in moderation, of course. Honestly, I didn’t know – until today – that I have my beloved Salvation Army to thank for bringing the humble donut to America.