56-year-old Maria Thomas recently visited The Salvation Army Service Center in Glen Burnie for utility assistance. In addition to the lack of power for her home, the having the lights cut off also meant that Maria would not be able to utilize her CPAP machine for her sleep apnea: a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

Maria was also recovering from a recent brain operation, which often left her in a state of confusion so she was unsure as to how she could resolve her outstanding electric bill; that’s when Maria turned to The Salvation Army’s Family Service Center in Glen Burnie. On April 9, 2019, the client signed up for The Salvation Army’s Fuel Fund, which provides energy assistance to heat the homes of local residents who are in financial hardship.

In addition to providing Maria with a list of additional resources that could assist her, The Salvation Army diligently worked with Maria to verify her electric bill status and worked with other organizations on her behalf in the hopes of getting her lights turned back on. Maria’s electricity was restored just three days later on April 12.

The client returned to the family service center later that month for food assistance. With the center’s on-site food pantry, The Salvation Army provided valuable meal supplements for Maria with a variety of non-perishable food items.

 “Thanks for helping me. You helped me a great deal when I was in need. At the time, I did not feel I had any hope to get my electricity back on. You put me in the right direction and directed me as to what I needed to do. I am very happy. You took time out to help and gave me your personal time to get on the right track. Made me feel special. Taking time to make phone calls type up information for me. When I think about how I was in crisis and you took your time to help me, I want to cry.” – Maria

The Salvation Army operates five family service centers throughout central Maryland. These centers offer an array of social services to meet the immediate and short-term needs of thousands of individuals.

Lisa Turner, who previously lived in Arkansas, moved back to Havre de Grace on August 2, 2018 to be closer to her family and friends. She paid a moving company $3,000 to pack and ship her belongings to Havre de Grace. After a month without knowing the status of her belongings, Lisa realized that she had just been scammed.

Against Lisa’s request, the fraudulent moving company transported her belongings to Texas. In addition to the $3,000 she had already paid, the moving company requested her to pay an additional $2,000 to obtain her possessions. Amongst these items was her furniture, belongings of her two young grandsons (whom she has custody of), and her electric wheelchair.

Lisa connected with an attorney from the Maryland Crime Victim Resource Center. The attorney had a connection with The Salvation Army’s Southern Territorial Headquarters, who referred the case to Lt. Wendy and Bo Parsons, Corps Officers of Havre de Grace Corps.

After endless phone calls, emails, and paperwork, Lt. Wendy and Bo Parsons had PODS (portable containers) dropped at the storage facility in Texas, arranged to have Lisa’s possessions moved into the PODS, and then transported to Maryland.

On March 12, The Salvation Army’s Havre de Grace Corps received the PODS. Salvation Army personnel emptied the PODS into a 26-foot U-Haul truck, and personally moved Lisa’s belongings into her new home in Havre de Grace.

In a thank you letter penned to Lt. Wendy Parsons, Lisa wrote:

“As I shut down the house for bed -there on the floor by the front door was a small silver cross & it made me think of you. An angel on earth truly saved us with an army of warriors by her side!

Words can’t express how you have touched our lives. The boys have lost everything in their lives over & over before I got them. I was the one sustainable constant & I let them down. You made me a hero again. This undertaking was huge figuratively & financially! I just hope I can convey somehow that in meeting you I feel forever changed.

That true blessings & humanity do exist alongside the ugly we sometimes encounter but come with a greater force of goodness. Sincerely…thank you & The Salvation Army for making us whole once again.”

BALTIMORE, MD (June 15, 2018) – Major Gene Hogg provides keynote address at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast (Photo by: Donovan Eaton)

Back in 1816, ​BGE (Baltimore Gas & Electric Company) became the first gas utility in the United States when Rembrandt Peale lit the first gas lamp in Baltimore. 75 years later, Salvation Army founder William Booth changed the match making industry in 1891, by switching to red phosphorus, instead of the previously used white phosphorus, ultimately providing a cleaner and healthier work environment for factory workers.

In 2018, BGE partnered with The Salvation Army and helped strike the match to change the grocery industry with DMG Foods.

DMG Foods is The Salvation Army’s first non-profit grocery store. This store aims to provide an affordable place for the local community to purchase fresh and healthy food while expanding their cash and food stamp dollars through nutrition and shopping education, social services, and complimentary supplemental food items.

BGE’s Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Butler, extended an invitation to Central Maryland Area Commander Major Gene Hogg as the keynote speaker at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast last week. More than 150 people tuned in to Central Maryland Area Commander Major Gene Hogg’s keynote address at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast, highlighting The Salvation Army’s partnership with BGE.

Through BGE’s Smart Energy Economic Development (SEED) program, DMG Foods received economic development incentives in the form of reduced billing and using energy more efficiently. Additionally, DMG Foods’ service fees were reduced by 75%, as well as a 25% reduction on electric and natural gas distribution for the next five years.

Effective lighting supports the grocery store in a variety of ways, including improving retails sales and maintaining the quality of fresh and frozen inventory.

Other speakers at the business breakfast included BGE Regulatory and External Affairs Senior Vice President, Alexander Núñez, who was also one of the notable speakers at the DMG Foods grand opening on March 7.

“Every year, we find non-profits that align with our values and the needs of our customers. This year, our cause initiative was to help The Salvation Army to innovate DMG Foods because it was in a food desert. DMG Foods is not just a grocery store, but a true salvation for people in the community,” said Núñez.

As defined by Baltimore City, a food desert or “healthy food priority area” is located more than ¼ mile away from other supermarkets.

According to a recent study at the Tulane School of Social Work, 2.3 million Americans lived more than one mile away from a supermarket and did not own a car. These individuals have limited access to healthy food and often resorting to getting groceries from convenience stores. The study also showed that residents living in food desert areas have a positive correlation with poor-quality diets, diabetes, and weight gain.

Research shows that the potential economic impact of a new grocery store in a food desert includes creating jobs, increasing local income, and improves the residential and commercial real estate. Since opening its doors just three months prior, DMG Foods has opened 15 permanent jobs and provided affordable, healthy food products to more than 2,000 customers.

BGE’s economic incentives has supported more 37,500 businesses throughout Maryland, including DMG Foods.

“On behalf of the thousands of people that are benefiting from the DMG Foods grocery store, I’m only one, but I stand here to say thank you to BGE for making healing possible in our community,” said Major Hogg.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Major Gene A. Hogg
Central Maryland Area Commander
410-790-6484
Gene.Hogg@uss.salvationarmy.org

 

THE SALVATION ARMY OF CENTRAL MARYLAND TO DEPLOY FOR HOUSTON
Salvation Army personnel prepare to provide disaster relief services for Hurricane Harvey survivors and rescue workers.

BALTIMORE, MD (August 29, 2017) — A team of Salvation Army personnel from central Maryland is preparing to station in Texas to help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Salvation Army has committed 59 mobile feeding units (canteens) for Texas, which are used for rapid and free-standing response in times of emergency. To date, The Salvation Army has provided over 6,000 meals to Hurricane Harvey survivors and rescue workers.

“The Salvation Army has activated all of its US and Canadian emergency disaster response assets. These units are able to provide food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual care to those impacted by this ongoing devastating weather event,” said Major C. Mark Brown, Director of Business Operations for The Salvation Army Texas Division.

In times of disaster, The Salvation Army traditionally serves and prepares meals from its mobile canteens, helps distribute cleaning supplies, and offers comfort to those impacted. Due to the size of the population impacted by Hurricane Harvey, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services Team anticipates for this to be the largest and longest emergency response in the history of The Salvation Army in America.

“We are implementing plans to be there for as long as it takes,” said Charles Nutt, Divisional Development Director of The Salvation Army of Central Maryland.

To support The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555, or give online at www.helpsalvationarmy.org. Donations may also be sent by mail to The Salvation Army, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

 

#  #  #

 

About The Salvation Army of Central Maryland

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in Maryland in 1885, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 150 years. Nearly one hundred thousand Marylanders receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, clothing, and shelter to the homeless, and after-school programs for underprivileged children through its partnership with The Boys and Girls Club of America. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in Maryland.

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.