Prayer Garden Comforts Human Trafficking Survivors

BALTIMORE, MD Catherine’s Cottage residents often visit the prayer garden in search of peace and comfort.

Since the grand opening in May 2017, The Salvation Army of Central Maryland’s Catherine’s Cottage has served as a safe place for human trafficking survivors to call home in Baltimore. One of the main characteristics of the home that provides the residents with security, is the prayer garden.

Human trafficking survivor “Hailey” recently came to Catherine’s Cottage for services. Despite having her reservations about entering the program, “Hailey” found Catherine’s Cottage to be a peaceful environment. She was eager to escape her situation and begin her path to restoration.

To prevent the transfer of bed bugs, each resident is asked to wash their clothes upon admission into the program. While “Hailey” was in the basement doing her laundry, staff noticed that she was gone for an extended period of time.

Fearing that she might have run away, staff members went to check on her, only to find “Hailey” crying in the prayer garden. Ever since, the garden has served as a comforting space for “Hailey”.

“It’s so peaceful over there,” said “Hailey” about the backyard.

According to Anti-Trafficking Program Director Shamere McKenzie, other residents at Catherine’s Cottage find solace in the prayer garden as well.

While preparing for therapy, Catherine’s Cottage resident “Ms. Jay” had an emotional breakdown after recalling the traumatic slaying of her best friend. Growing inconsolable, Ms. Jay visited the prayer garden, where she became more serene and relaxed.

When asked why the site might be such a common place of comfort for the residents, Shamere replied “I believe it’s because it’s the only place in the house that has no connection to a trafficking experience. It’s just nature.”

“Hailey” now meditates in the backyard every day. She has found the garden to be a comfortable place for her to release her emotions. So much so, that when the  flowers recently wilted, “Hailey” informed staff that she intends to re-plant new flowers herself.


TSA Officers Serve Food and Forgiveness for the Soul at Corps Cafe

BALTIMORE, MD Lt. Melvin and Kimberly Harvey serve 80-120 people a day through their meal center at Temple Corps.

Temple Corps, located at 1601 W. Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21223, provides services for some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Central Maryland Area Command. To help address the communities’ need, Salvation Army officers Lt. Melvin and Kimberly Harvey make sure no one leaves their corps hungry or hopeless.

Temple Corps clients often sought food assistance. Since the site did not have a food pantry, feeding options for the clients were limited. That was until Lt. Melvin and Kimberly Harvey opened their meal center at the corps in March 2017.

Commonly known as Cornbread Café, the Salvation Army eatery serves 80-120 people every Thursday, from 1:00pm-4:00pm. The lieutenants, along with their church members, serve every customer a meal, refreshments, and dessert. “We want them to feel welcome,” said Lt. Kimberly.

The lieutenants make it a point to remember every customer’s name and serve them with integrity and southern hospitality.

Many clients at Temple Corps are in between jobs, lack permanent housing, or struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. Recognizing that this vulnerable demographic may also need spiritual care, Lt. Melvin and Kimberly Harvey accept prayer requests from the café’s customers upon sign-in.

“Many of the [clients] have gotten off track. I think it’s important for them to know that no matter how you messed up, or no matter how you slipped, God still loves you and he has not forgotten about you,” said Lt. Kimberly.

Since opening their meal center, the lieutenants have seen an increase in their congregation. Even more so, the lieutenants are adamant that no one gets turned away from Temple Corps.

One Sunday morning, an intoxicated gentleman came to the church at Temple Corps for worship. Assuming he would not be welcome in the church, he stood by the back door. Until, Lt. Kimberly Harvey invited him to sit and assured him that despite his condition, he would still receive the word.

“That’s why I fell in love with The Salvation Army. I’ve been to regular churches that will turn people away but in a Salvation Army church, you come as you are,” said Lt. Kimberly.

National Donut Day 2017

Happy National Donut Day!

The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and to commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies” who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

In 1917, The Salvation Army began a mission to provide spiritual and emotional support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. About 250 volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts located near the front lines where they could give soldiers clothes, supplies and, of course, baked goods.

Despite discovering that serving baked goods would be difficult considering the conditions of the huts and the limited rations, two officers – Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance – began frying donuts in a small fry pan. These tasty treats boosted morale and won the hearts of many soldiers.

Nicknamed “Donut Lassies,” the women who served donuts to troops are often credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when the troops (nicknamed “doughboys”) returned home from war.

The donut now serves as a symbol of the comfort that The Salvation Army provides to those in need through its many social services programs. The Salvation Army still serves donuts, in addition to warm meals and hydration, to those in need during times of disaster.

National Donut Day occurs on the first Friday of June. This year marks one hundred years since the work of the original Donut Lassies. On Friday, June 2, shops around the country will participate in the day by giving away free donuts and supporting The Salvation Army. Supporters are encouraged to share a picture of themselves enjoying a donut using #GivingIsSweet.


Howard County Volunteer Goes The Distance

(GWYNN OAK, MD) Salvation Army volunteer Larry Pope at last year’s Feed Caravan.

Larry Pope has been volunteering for The Salvation Army Howard County Service Center & Thrift Store since Thanksgiving of 2013.

Like most people, Larry was not previously aware of the wide array of services that The Salvation Army offered to the community. After volunteering for the holiday season and seeing the various opportunities to serve, Larry has been committed to serving his neighbors in need in Ellicott City.

“I love helping people and I’m having fun,” said Larry.

Over the years, Larry served in a variety of areas including bell ringing, maintenance, food drives, youth programs, and processing in-kind donations. Larry volunteers at the Howard County thrift store,  5-6 days a week.

Every week, Larry works alongside a group of volunteers at the thrift store that process the donated goods. The volunteers clean, organize, and tag these items for customers to buy.

“We have 40 or 50 people here that give their time. Everybody is equally important and without these volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we are doing.”

Apart from his service in Howard County, Larry also drove for 6 hours to aid The Salvation Army of Central Maryland in their disaster relief efforts for the historic West Virginia flooding last year.

Most recently, Larry has collected and donated a variety of toiletries for our new anti-human trafficking home, Catherine’s Cottage. He has also motivated several family members to volunteer and obtained monetary donations from his health care professionals.

Larry’s volunteer experience has been so influential, that he makes sure to visit the local Salvation Army headquarters every time he goes on vacation, including London and Paris!


FeedMore Instruments of Hope

Lily and Joe Chang prepare up to 175 sandwiches every month for the homeless.

FeedMore provides meals, blankets, and toiletries to the homeless in Baltimore, six nights a week.

Since 1983, hundreds of volunteers have served food for this program, including Lily and Joe Chang.

Originally from Taiwan, Lily and Joe, have been volunteering since 2000.

Once a month, Lily and Joe prepare 100-175 sandwiches for the homeless and  serve them along the FeedMore route and to homeless shelters.

On occasion, they order Chinese food and donate up to 200 carryout food boxes to the homeless.

Lily and Joe also donate socks, deodorant, and underwear to fill the gap of need for the homeless.

Joe described their volunteer experience as “impressive and emotional.” Joe was driven to tears a few times after seeing children, waiting in line to get food.

 “[Food recipients] are not lazy. They could be facing a period of hardship such as losing their home, or a failed business. Anyone can face hardship in their lifetime and when they need help, we are here,” said Joe.

Over the last 17 years, Lily and Joe have recruited several friends and relatives, including their youngest, Jeffery, to volunteer for FeedMore. They have since recruited enough volunteers to cover two Saturdays of every month.

For their dedicated service to our community, Mr. and Mrs. Chang received the Ultimate Volunteer Award this year.

Sign up today to help us feed the hungry in our community!


(BALTIMORE, MD) At this year’s Compassion in Action Gala, Lily and Joe Chang received the Ultimate Volunteer Award for their dedication to FeedMore.