An employee came into Major Mark Anderson’s office at the Salvation Army one day and wondered aloud: “How do we do it?”
You may have wondered the same. The agency’s services are seemingly everywhere, yet the fund-raising process that underwrites the services – beyond the ubiquitous kettles during the holidays – operates with little fanfare.
So many programs have been a way of life in Lincoln since the building at 27th and Potter streets opened in 1955. Among the myriad of services, Major Anderson said, the Salvation Army:
- Hosts the Small Fry Basketball League for 700 youngsters each year.
- Supervises an after-school program for 75 children.
- Works with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to offer free music lessons for 104 children and adults.
- Hosts a homeschool program from 4 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.
- Offers after-school pickup basketball games, health classes, arts and crafts sessions, and exercise programs.
- Provides a summer day camp program and on-site “food security” for children throughout the summer.
- Sponsors cultural awareness classes for Lincoln newcomers from Sudan.
- Helps assimilate “disconnected” newcomers from the Middle East.
- Invites the public to free produce giveaways on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Helps to fight human trafficking and comes to the aid of fire victims.
- Awards between $14,000 and $19,000 per month in utility assistance through the HeatShare program.
- And, pays for gas vouchers and motel rooms for those who are homeless.
Many of the agency’s most ardent financial supporters have a pretty clear vision of how far their donated dollars are stretched, but the litany of services listed by Anderson provided some valuable insight during a recent presentation at a Northeast Lincoln Sertoma Club meeting. “We don’t just dole out the cash … we work directly with the families,” Anderson told the Sertomans.
He added that on a national level, Salvation Army’s tentacles are reaching out to families affected by hurricane damage in Florida and Texas.
At the breakfast meeting, Northeast Sertoma donated $500 to the HeatShare program – matched by the Black Hills Energy Foundation – and an additional $3,068.66 for the hurricane victims in Florida and Texas.
As for Anderson’s response to the employee’s question? “It’s a quiet lifeline … it just happens.”
If you’d like to help the Salvation Army in its mission to help the underprivileged, check out salvationarmy.org
To check out what the Northeast Sertoma Club is all about, stop by any weekly meeting between 7 and 8 a.m. on Thursdays in the second-floor meeting room of Hy-Vee at 5010 O St.