This family teaches philanthropy through bellringing

The Fie family legacy of service to The Salvation Army spans more than 60 years and is still going strong, with the family coming together every Christmas season in Denver to ring bells at the Army’s red kettles. In the Share Change video, “A Family of Volunteers,” family members, including patriarch Merrill Fie and his […]


A joyful bucket list with kids

It’s here—the season of merriment and good cheer. Use these December days to encourage joy and giving with your children, starting with these 10 bucket list ideas: 1. Send a meaningful letter. Sometimes, the best gifts are words. Who can you share good words with this season? 2. Go Christmas caroling. Gather up your family […]

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Man and Young Girl Volunteer Bellringers

How to volunteer as a Salvation Army bellringer 

When you drop a dollar (or more!) into a Salvation Army kettle, that money helps fund programs in your community—from the food pantry, emergency utility assistance, to after-school programs and so much more. That money helps The Salvation Army serve some 23 million Americans a year. So each of the 25,000 individuals who stand by […]

Mother Playing with Daughter

5 ways to strengthen your relationship with your kids

There’s a natural tendency for us as parents to fall into the routine of daily family life. The reality is that between school, work, cooking, cleaning, running errands, sports, extracurricular activities and more, we are so busy juggling our adult responsibilities and time with our families—many times to the point where it’s so exhausting that […]


A wedding marked by a village of love 

My best friend (and maid of honor) sent me an email while I was wedding planning that really upset me. It read: “These are the things that are still needed for the wedding. I love you and want you to have the wedding of your dreams.” I looked over the very practical list and couldn’t […]

Food at Salvation Army Food Pantry

Why I love working in social services

I believe one of the most rewarding and interesting career fields is social work—the opportunity to understand people, and help them, every single day. Helping others is a fundamental part of humanity. Life can be difficult—we all know this—and if each of us helps others, we’ll be doing our part in making life a bit […]

Salvation Army Volunteers with backs turned in volunteer shirts

21: Yes, The Salvation Army is more than kettles and thrift stores

 Did you know: The Salvation Army is more than red kettles and thrift stores? Yet, if there’s one thing we hear time and time again it’s this: “I thought The Salvation Army was just kettles and thrift stores!” Which is generally followed by: “I wish more people knew about all The Salvation Army does.” […]

Brew Crew Backpack Closeup

‘Brew Crews’ bring coffee and love

The Salvation Army has a street outreach centered around coffee: the “Brew Crew.”   These teams of those in addictions recovery programs through the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) venture out with backpack coffee dispensers, known as “Rocketman Backpacks,” to share Jesus and a cup of coffee, with the outreach aimed primarily toward those experiencing homelessness. “We […]

Do Gooders Podcast 17 Lt. James Fleming

17: How The Salvation Army keeps kids full for the weekend with Lt. James Fleming

You’ve probably heard of  The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinners, food pantries or the provision of meals during a natural disaster. But you might not know that TSA in communities across the country fills backpacks or other bags with food to send home from school with kids for the weekend. That’s to make sure kids who […]

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Granddaughter smiling with grandfather who is sitting

How to keep bonds strong with grandparents 

My grandparents have lived in South America all my life—in Chile and Peru, respectively. But even so, my parents always made sure we built and maintained a strong relationship with them through phone calls and occasional visits. And because of this—despite being thousands of miles apart and my Peruvian grandfather passing away when I was […]

Veteran with army boots next to him in civilian clothes

The Salvation Army is helping veterans find purpose at work

Many veterans know finding “the job” is just the beginning. Discovering one’s path—or purpose—is a process that can take years, and sometimes, a lifetime, especially after having been successful in combat, and returning home without a clear way forward.   That’s where Charles Smith and the staff at The Salvation Army’s The Haven come in. The […]


How to stay connected with family when they’re far away

I was 22 years old when I moved away from my home state of California and ventured south to Louisiana where my husband was stationed in the military. While I physically moved away, a piece of my heart stayed with the family I left behind—my mom, dad and brother. As excited as I was for […]

Do Gooders Podcast 13 Phil Lum

13: Life inside a Salvation Army Kroc Center with Major Phil Lum

A network of Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers across the U.S. have a common goal: to help people discover and develop their passions in their own neighborhood.  The 26 centers were created thanks in large part to Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, who entrusted The Salvation Army with $1.5 billion […]

Do Gooders Podcast 12 Monica Curca

12: What is Peace and How Do We Build It with Monica Curca

What is peace—and how do we build it?  How can we create a shared future where everybody belongs.  In this episode, Monica Curca talks about peace and why it involves all of us…Why we’re all responsible to solve violence. And why power is found in relationship.  Monica founded Activate Labs, a nonprofit organization that builds […]

Do Gooders Podcast 12 Paul Fields

11: How Salvation Army Culinary Students Train for the Workforce with Chef Paul Fields

What’s 18 square miles with a riverfront promenade and legendary food scene?   You guessed it—Napa.  This central California town is considered a world-class destination with plenty of culinary star power.   And Chef Paul Fields is at the heart of it all, having worked for the Pebble Beach Company, Silverado Country Club and several local Napa […]

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10: How Sports Can Change Lives with Jose Moreno

It’s no secret that sports teach character. Both wellness and life lessons come with being part of a team. Jose Moreno gets to take those benefits to the next level. As the Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations for the Fiesta Bowl, Jose leads charitable giving and philanthropic efforts across Arizona. Through events like […]

Family Holding Hands Walking Through Field

How to juggle work and spending quality time with your kids 

I went back to work when my daughter was just six weeks old. And although I loved my job, when I dropped her off at her babysitter’s house for the first time, my heart broke a little bit. I worried about the moments I would miss—like her first words or steps—and was sad I wouldn’t […]


Making Christ’s name known: Part Four

A Scripture study from Caring, part four of five.  Read part three here. Part 4: He is the Way   Behind the scenes Read what Scripture says in John 13:1-30.   Beyond the surface One of the most fascinating stories in Scripture is how Jesus conducts himself during the Last Supper. In John 13:1-30, Jesus […]

White Lighthouse on Edge of Cliff

Making Christ’s name known: Part Three

A Scripture study from Caring, part three of five.  Read part two here. Part 3: He is the Shepherd  Behind the scenes Read what Scripture says in Matthew 14:13-21.    Beyond the surface In this passage, the disciples found themselves partnering with Jesus. As followers, they watched Christ perform miracles. Knowing his capabilities, they brought […]

Young Girl Watering Plants

6 ways to keep your kids enriched during the summer

Summer is in full swing—school is out and the kids are enjoying their break from the classroom with activity-filled days soaking in the sun. They’re having fun playing outside, swimming in the pool until their skin wrinkles, spending time with friends and becoming avid campers.  And while they’ve definitely earned this stress-free fun away from […]

Aerial View of Lighthouse by Cliff

Making Christ’s name known: Part Two 

A Scripture study from Caring, part two of five.  Read part one here.   Part 2: He is Hope Behind the scenes Read what Scripture says in Matthew 16:13-20. Beyond the surface In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus takes his disciples on a journey to Caesarea Philippi. He asks them, “Who do the people say I am?” […]

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Do Gooders Podcast 7 Guy Fieri

07: How food makes us feel good with Guy Fieri

When Guy Fieri was just 10 years old, he sold soft pretzels from a three-wheel bicycle cart that he built with his father. Through the years, Guy has opened more than 60 restaurants around the world, starred in seven TV series and executive produced a number of others, inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame, […]

Brian Qualls Headshot Profile

Once-bullied camp employee helps others deal with adversity

My expectation of myself was that nobody would ever care about me, that nobody would ever like me, that nobody would ever love me. I kind of associated my name “Brian” with “loser.” I was bullied a lot. I had a lot of issues where I was thinking that I would rather just not live […]

Thomas Ferraro in VISTA Uniform

Retired reporter goes back to work as a Volunteer in Service to America

VISTA, the half-century-old national service program dubbed “The Domestic Peace Corps,” fights poverty in America.                                                                                  […]

Smiling Child Walking Outside on Bridge

How to make the most of time with your toddler this summer

Some of my greatest memories with my toddler have been in the summer, finding creative ways to get relief from the heat and planning family trips to explore new places together. These are times that bring us endless joy and laughter, and seeing my little girl smile is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. […]

Overhead View of Open Picnic Basket

How to pack for a summer picnic with thrift store finds

With summer right around the corner, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the frigid winter and spring weather and hello to perfect outdoor-fun temperatures. Finding quick, easy and inexpensive outdoor activities for the summer can sometimes be a drag, but with the help of The Salvation Army’s array of Family Stores, thrifting your way […]

Female Friends Hugging and Smiling Around Bride

3 Strategies for maintaining friendships in adulthood

When I was a kid, I remember how easy it was for me to make friends and keep them—especially in elementary school. I vividly recall many of my childhood friendships starting at the school playground during recess with a simple introduction, followed by someone saying, “Do you want to play tag?” But as time progressed, […]

Salvation Army Soldiers Holding Donuts

How The Salvation Army introduced America to the donut

Food historian John T. Edge credits The Salvation Army with introducing American taste buds to the donut in his book, “Donuts: An American Passion.” During WWI, Edge says that Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance were sent to the front lines to give American soldiers a taste of home. Called “Donut Lassies,” they didn’t […]

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Female Graduate in Red Cap and Gown Walking Down Street

8 Books to inspire graduates to live the good life

If you’ve ever graduated, you’ve probably heard excerpts from Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”—famous lines like, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” While the book’s rhythmic inspiration is, perhaps, the most popular go-to graduation book, there are a […]


How to honor Memorial Day on your day off

As we head into Memorial Day, it’s easy to get caught up in the anticipation of the three-day weekend and poolside barbecues we have planned. But the significance behind the national holiday encompasses so much more than the day off. Honestly, I didn’t really fully grasp the meaning of Memorial Day until our family became […]


9 tips for being present over long holiday weekends

Memorial Day functions as our traditional summer kick-off. It’s when we start up the grill, smoker or BBQ and consume copious amounts of food. It’s a great time to get together with friends and simply enjoy one another’s company. Yet, even though the weather is nice, the grill is cooking and we’re with family and […]


What is National Salvation Army Week?

Perhaps the most often-asked question I got when I worked at National Headquarters was “When is National Salvation Army Week?” And it always made me laugh. Knowingly. Because, let’s be real. While it is the only week The Salvation Army has that was declared by a president—President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, a mere 74 […]


What it’s really like to be married to a soldier

When my husband, Erik, joined the military, I didn’t know what to expect. We had dated for several years before he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and he proposed while in basic training. Our marriage happened like many military marriages do—quickly. We found out there was a high possibility of him deploying very early on […]


Mom’s an alien?

I grew up in a border town in Arizona and my family would regularly drive to Mexico to get tacos or tortas for dinner. When coming back to the United States, we’d have to wait in a long line of cars as the exhaust from other cars and the heat of the sun tested our […]

Major Rob Birks and His Mother

What Ruth means to me

There is absolutely no chance of me writing a 750–1,500-word piece about my mother that would do her justice. In truth, an entire book or volume of books could not tell her whole, beautiful story. Nor would it even begin to tell of her influence on my life. Still, I’m all-in for any occasion to […]

Christin Thieme, Her Mother, and Christin's young son pose for holiday photo

5 things I’m modeling after my mother as a new mom

They say nothing changes you like having a child of your own and I have found this to be absolutely true. In fact, I read in “The Birth Of A Mother” from The New York Times: “At the time a child is born, the mother is born too. She had never existed before that moment. […]

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4 valuable traits we can learn from military children

Most military kids face more challenges in their childhood than many adults do in a lifetime—and they go through many of them at a young age. From coping with a family member’s deployment or being away for extended periods of time for training, to moving every few years and frequently having to adjust to new […]

homeless man sleeping outside

Communities in the West look for solutions to the homelessness crisis

The number of people living on our streets continues to rise to emergency levels along the coast. As economies rebound and housing markets soar, so does the population of those who find themselves without a home. Despite the state of the economy, levels of homelessness continue to rise in many communities, none more prominently than […]

Officer and woman smiling with each other

How to heal homelessness through community

‘Unprecedented’ effect of temporary shelter keeps doors open When you arrive at The Salvation Army-run homeless shelter in Antelope Valley, California, the presence of the past is undeniable. The Army operates the Los Angeles County shelter out of an abandoned mental hospital—whose address includes the law code involved in temporarily committing individuals, 5150—and much of […]

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

PB&J ministry provides weekly touchpoint for people on streets of paradise

A sandwich ministry provides a weekly touchpoint for people living on the streets around Aala Park in Honolulu’s Chinatown, with Salvation Army members and friends offering both food and the non-judgmental love of Jesus. Hawaii—the Aloha State—has almost everything. For people who like to be warm year-round and don’t miss seasonal change, the climate is […]

Room with an outside view of building

How to add more hygge coziness to your life

“Hygge,” pronounced hoo-gah, is a Danish word for capturing a moment of bliss and an arguably healthy obsession of the way one views and lives life. It’s “the Danish art of coziness,” as explained by VisitDenmark. You know when you’re driving in the dead of night, and all you’ve been seeing for miles and miles […]

Sign that says love in all capital letters

7 ways to show love to strangers

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us start thinking of creative and thoughtful ways to express our love to significant others, family and friends. But the holiday also gives us the opportunity to pay it forward and show love to others we don’t know—people who may need a reminder that they are not alone, and […]

Three coffee cups on wooden table

Coffee connects cops and community

Event facilitates understanding, growth. When Portland Tabernacle Corps Officer Lt. Laura Fyn walks through the Rose Center for Seniors, it’s common for her to overhear snippets of conversation in passing. But the ones regarding fears of police brutality really weighed on her heart. “With everything going on in our country right now, I think that […]

Two people eating together at table

Eating together feeds bodies and souls

Research shows sharing a table with others has a number of benefits. Life is busy. Between work, commuting and other responsibilities, it can be hard to carve out the time for meaningful relationships with others. Traditionally, many of these bonds have been formed through something simple: food. “Eating together is one of the most fundamental […]

American Flag waving in front of columns

Advocating for good

Nonprofit advocacy forms a vital link between community needs and Capitol Hill. “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu—especially in Washington, D.C.,” said Sabrina Kiser, The Salvation Army’s Assistant Director of Social Services and Public Policy Coordinator at National Headquarters. A Salvation Army employee since 2010, Kiser was there when […]

elderly couple sitting on porch

How to build relationships with your local community

Loving our local community is something attainable, at the tip of our fingers, and yet, something we always seem to put off. Maybe it’s the convenience of it that creates a sense of idleness in us, maybe it’s the proximity that scares us, maybe it asks things more frequently of us. Why is it important […]

couch with table and plants inside room

How to be a good roommate and live together well

One of the greatest gifts and challenges of life is doing life with one another. Depending on your age or stage of life, you might have already experienced multiple opportunities to live with other people. Maybe you grew up in the same home your parents grew up in and have lived there ever since. Maybe […]

Woman sitting on couch next to flowers

The science of making friends as an adult

We search for soul mates, why not best friends? I hit my social peak at 5 years old. Kindergarten was the bomb, let me tell you. I was double-booked for play dates. I frequently had three, yes three birthday parties in the same weekend. During lunch, I had a system to hang out with all […]

3 ways parents can encourage other parents

3 ways parents can encourage other parents

It’s common to hit hurdles at every stage of parenting that can be discouraging, whether that be dealing with exhaustion and parent shaming, or the tantrums of toddlerhood and arguing siblings. In the middle of the chaotic times, it’s important to have a support system in place of fellow parents you can count on. This […]

hand holding marker above paper

How art can heal and bring people together

How art can heal and bring people together When art meets people where they are, magical things can happen. Even better: when art heals people in some of the most dark or unexpected places through song, dance, the written word or live theatre. “I think that we are all made to create,” said Bethany Farrell, […]

woman taking selfie with friends

Capturing life and improving it

Research finds taking and sharing pictures can enhance wellbeing. For something touted as a simple, modern way to connect, having a social media presence is complex. It can feel like a necessary evil—you want to stay in the loop and see your sister’s cat photos, but it’s easy to get sucked in and stumble upon […]

Husband and wife with child outsdie

5 ways to stay organized as a family when life gets busy

One of the biggest obstacles I face as a parent is staying organized, especially on days when my toddler is taking out toys as I’m putting them away, unfolding laundry I just folded, or spilling snacks on the floor I just swept. It’s hard, but that’s why having a system in place for this “organized […]

young girl looking at iPad

Why cultural representation in children’s movies is important

When I first watched the children’s movie “Coco” with my daughter, I got emotional, not just because of the beautiful story it tells about family, but also because my little girl’s Mexican culture was finally represented in mainstream cinema. There is so much children can learn from being exposed to other cultures, especially at an […]

Three young women smiling with each other

How to extend an invitation to church

Let’s ask ourselves when the last time we extended an invitation to an unbelieving friend to come to church was. If the answer is “I can hardly remember,” then perhaps the reason is either we haven’t enlarged our circle of community to those who may need it, or there is something keeping us from it, […]

hands holding candle

How to make the most out of volunteering

To be a volunteer is to be a giver of good things, of life, of shared burdens. To be a volunteer requires sacrifice, generosity, and action. As we approach April, or volunteer month, consider these mindsets and methods to give and hopefully you will find an appreciation for life in the bigger picture given in […]

person painting fence

9 habits of highly successful volunteers

How you can strive to make the most impact when giving back To be successful at something like volunteering your time may seem counterintuitive as it’s more about giving freely than being “good” at something. But volunteering is like everything else in life: You get out of it what you put into it. Whether it’s […]

woman laying with eyes closed next to leaves

Can we train for compassion?

Researchers wanted to determine two things: After the training, would participants’ behavior become more altruistic? Would their brains respond differently to suffering? New research says yes, through meditation. When you hear the word “training,” you probably think of how your body can achieve various tasks, like learning an instrument or exercise, through repetitive practice. While […]

Man washing hands outside

Salvation Army helps battle San Diego’s Hepatitis A outbreak

Vaccination clinics, hand-washing stations and outreach events are part of a coordinated effort to contain the deadly disease. Since last spring, San Diego County, California, has played reluctant host to the nation’s second-largest outbreak of hepatitis A in decades. And through it, the county’s called on an unlikely partner to stop the spread of the […]

woman next to red kettle

Why do we still put out the kettles?   

Face-to-face ministry is what we do and who we are With the rise in digital technology—and the amount of time we spend using it—the Army should take a serious look at why we still put out red kettles during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. People are more and more comfortable giving at our websites, so […]

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How to really hear someone in a time of polarization

“It is easy to become overly invested in conveying our viewpoint—and when that happens, we stop listening.” Here are a few tips to help you reach across the aisle. I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m good, you’re bad. When we demonize or idolize, we eliminate the middle ground. It’s all or nothing. It’s my way or […]

Two cups of coffee on table

Finding freedom in engaging with others

I was raised in West New York, New Jersey, one of the most densely populated municipalities in the United States. Our neighborhoods were not only overcrowded and constantly busy with the influx of workers making their way into the area, but parking was a challenge. Northerners, unlike their southern neighbors, enjoy a quick and deliberately […]

group sitting together in city park

Called to community

We long for unity, but what does that really look like and how do we find it? What is community? Community, Merriam-Webster says, is a unified body of individuals. After further delineations and demarcations, the dictionary entry concludes with “community: ‘a social state or condition.’” The word seems easy enough to define—in essence, a community […]

Three people laughing together outside

9 Bible verses on the importance of community

God calls us to fellowship with one another on earth because it reflects the fellowship we will have with one another in heaven. The mission of the gospel is too big a task for us to do on our own; that is why he collectively calls us to a sharpening standard of unity. How we […]

Three women with arms around each other

12 quotes on making an impact from inspiring women

It is International Women’s Day and we want to celebrate women all over the world who work to make the world a better place. Today, especially, be inspired to support the women in your life and empowered in your pursuit to uplift others. “Being a working mom, you want to make a difference in our […]

person with pen and Bible

8 Bible verses on cultivating kindness

Kindness is not simply being nice. It’s courage and discipline, it’s constant and unchanging. It’s a simple facet of Christ, not a smiling face of a Christian. It’s not a performance for the masses, it’s a performance for the audience of one. It does not tire or boast or point to “I,” but is there […]

Flowers in vase on stool

Why comparison is stealing your joy

We’re quick to forget we aren’t getting the full story. Comparison eats up energy, peace and creativity—all things that exist within joy. It’s a fear-based response that distracts us from our gifts. The jealousy we feel when we compare our lives to another person’s fuels the doubts and insecurities we have about ourselves. Theodore Roosevelt […]

"Good" Mural on wall

10 best public art projects for community good

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein When creatives and artists decide to make the community more beautiful or spread a message that we need to hear, we can’t help but join in, either through watching, helping or sharing it with others. It takes courage to put art out into the world, but […]

Three women laughing together

How to find a new community

Your willingness to be open and vulnerable can be a major help. At some point in our lives we will find ourselves looking for a new community. It might be because we switched jobs or schools, and that forced us to move to a different new city or state where we do not know anyone. […]

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box of blueberries

Why you should grow your own berries

I love my morning routine. Around 6:30, I roll out of bed, take a shower and dry my hair. Then I put on my favorite cotton robe, move into my kitchen and boil some water for my French press coffee. While the water is heating, I grab the greek yogurt, plain granola and blueberries from […]


The art of social transformation

“There is a growing awareness of the impact of inequality…Young artists are connected to social movements or to their ideologies through social media, and this will inevitably affect their interests and their work.” – Suzanne Lacy A new wave of artists are making change happen. Ninety-nine years ago, Marchel Duchamp kicked up a major fuss […]