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Army serves dinner and doors open for ministry

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God’s spirit was present at this year’s Chamber of Commerce fundraising dinner in Clearlake, Calif. — a dinner that might not have happened without the Army’s help.

While the Army does not normally provide catering services for the Chamber of Commerce, this year the Chamber had a problem. Just before the event, they discovered although the location had been secured and all the tickets sold — the food had not been provided for.

It looked like the dinner would have to be cancelled when Chamber CEO Mark Hawkins had an idea. He asked his wife Inez, a worker for the Army’s service extension unit, if the Army could help out, figuring she would use her skills as a former Navy cook.

Inez agreed, and with the help of service unit volunteers, she planned the dinner. On the day of the event 18 volunteers arrived, including nine teenagers who heard that the Chamber and The Salvation Army needed help. They cooked, served, and cleaned up. Even the mayor and the assistant city manager helped in the kitchen.

The meal was perfect. As the mayor told the guests how The Salvation Army saved the day, Inez and the volunteers received a standing ovation.

The blessings then began to flow. Last year Wal-Mart had denied the Army’s request to place a kettle at the store and things didn’t look promising this year. Present at the dinner was Wal-Mart’s manager, who publicly announced that Army bell ringers were 100% welcome. As she thanked him, Inez mentioned that one of the Army volunteers needed work, and the Wal-Mart manager, along with a local alarm company, set interviews with him. He is now working full-time at Wal-Mart.

The Lord moved many hearts in the room. Several businesses came forward and asked what they could do to help this season. Inez and her volunteers were delighted — “All we did was cook and God served up the blessings!”

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