A beacon of hope

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“Hope Fair” held at San Fernando Corps, Calif.

by Robert Brennan –

A family enjoys the festivities at Hope Fair. [Photo by Nikole Lim]

In a culmination of National Salvation Army week activities recently, The Salvation Army’s Southern California Division held a “Hope Fair” at the San Fernando Corps and Community Center. In these difficult economic times, and with California unemployment rate in excess of 11 percent, the Southern California Division felt impelled to respond to the many people who may be navigating the social service environment for the first time.

Modeled on a traditional job fair, the Hope Fair invited social service agencies from both the governmental and non-profit sectors, to host a table where attendees might find useful information. One hundred fifty-two people attended this event and were not only able to access information from a broad spectrum of social service organizations, but also found job skills training information and crucial information on economic assistance. They could also register for free dental exams and x-rays. The Hope Fair also was able to match attendees with possible jobs from such organizations as the U.S. Census Bureau and Goodwill.

Fox11 News was a media partner of the Hope Fair and covered the event with several live remotes. Fox11 reporter Tricia Takasugi interviewed Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Victor A. Leslie on television. Leslie spoke directly to the Fox11 viewers, getting out the message that The Salvation Army is responding to the increased need, and asking for their support of the Army’s mission.

Besides providing vital information and even offers of gainful employment at the fair, Salvation Army officers were available throughout the day to meet with anyone asking for spiritual counseling.

As part of the Southern California Division’s Project Shield & Shelter campaign, aimed at raising awareness and increasing services in these hard economic times, the Hope Fair exemplified how The Salvation Army can utilize its infrastructure, cooperate with other like-minded non-profit organizations, and continue to do the most good for those in need.


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