Winter and the Christmas season mean more activity for everyday operations such as Chico’s new homeless shelter, for which a block of 10 motel rooms has been rented. Overseeing this 24 hour program means extra expense for the Army, but one which is worth it in the changing of lives. These rooms mean shelter not only at night, but during the day, for people such as one woman who has pneumonia. Socks and underwear will be handed out to the homeless on Christmas Day. The corps is simmering with activity. Captain Robin Yant says the new Singing Company is ready to perform on Christmas Sunday, when all the children are looking forward to a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” party.
There will surely be a White Christmas in Laramie, Wyo., says Corps Officer Captain Shirley Breukelman. The corps building is a 120 year-old mansion, sitting on a hill. Since Laramie’s altitude is 7,200 feet, winds constantly swirl around the building. Though there are no TV stations, the radio and newspaper are very willing to help with publicity. Being in a small town has its advantages, because people really get involved in helping.
Families, businesses, churches and local service clubs join in making the Kettle Campaign a success. This year the American Red Cross will also be manning a kettle. About 150 food baskets will be distributed to 380 individuals.
Leeward Corps, Hawaii
At first it is hard to get the feeling of Christmas without a touch of winter. However, Captain John Chamness, corps officer, says, “Here in Hawaii we deal with many of the same issues and difficulties that are experienced on the mainland. The major difference is that it’s generally sunny and 85 degrees all year.”
Leeward has more people than ever coming in for assistance. Last year they served 376 families, and this year already more than 500 families have asked for help. With increasing demands and the limited resources in a town where there are four other corps vying for the same resources, they are finding it difficult to meet the many needs.
The area has an outstanding ally in the large military population. Building on the traditional affection for our organization for its work among them in peace and war, officers find them offering assistance in sorting canned goods and other tasks. “They have called us saying that they miss the red kettle and the bell,” Chamness adds. “Last year I got a phone call from a lady over at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange asking if we would like to come and put our kettle at her store, and also an Angel Tree. When I met with Ms. Jayne Crocker, she said it’s just not Christmas without The Salvation Army kettle with the bell ringing.
Santa Ana Temple
Santa Ana Temple Corps is very proud of its “church on wheels,” a motor home which lets them have six regular meetings around in the Barrios each week. According to Majors Luis and Nancy Martinez, corps officers, they are now happily in the midst of preparations for a special Christmas Festival. This is the time when Sunday schools in several Barrio neighborhoods all come to the hall. Each group offers its own form of entertainment: drama, song, poetry–whatever they care to do. There are presents for all, and it is a very happy day. In past years the community has come through with many donations for this party. This has come together at the last minute, so there is suspense waiting to see what will come in.
In addition to the Barrio Sunday schools, there are three Home Leagues outside of the corps as well as a regular Home League twice a week. The regular Sunday school has a joyous party, also, with everyone there. All the corps groups make a giant effort for a dinner on the 19th, attended by people from their outreach ministries.
The kettle program, run by the Santa Ana Coordinator, is in full swing with kettles manned by soldiers in full uniform during the week. On Saturday, volunteers take over.
The Majors are planning to go with their family to their home country, Chile, on a “missionary vacation” just before Christmas. They are grateful for all the help they get from their 80 local officers who make their programs possible. Thanks to them they are able to leave the corps in good hands.
Templo de Santa Ana
El Cuerpo de Santa Ana esta muy orgulloso de su : “Iglesia en ruedas,” una casa móvil que les permite tener seis reuniones regulares alrededor de los barrios cada semana. De acuerdo a los Mayores Luis y Nancy Martnez, oficiales de este Cuerpo, ahora estan, felizmente, en medio de los preparativos para un Festival Especial de Navidad. Este es un tiempo cuando las Escuelas Dominicales de los barrios vienen todas al Cuerpo. Cada grupo participa a su manera en el entretenimiento: drama, canto, poesía- lo que a ellos les guste hacer. Hay regalos para todos y es un día muy feliz. En los últimos años la comunidad ha ayudado con muchas donaciones para esta fiesta. Esta ayuda viene en el último momento, eso mantiene el suspenso, esperando ver que vendrá.
Además de las Escuelas Dominicales de los barrios, hay tres Ligas del Hogar fuera de la del Cuerpo. La Liga del Hogar del Cuerpo se reune regularmente dos veces a la semana. La Escuela Dominical regular también tiene una fiesta llena de gozo, donde todos son bienvenidos. Todos los grupos del Cuerpo hacen un esfuerzo gigantesco para tener una cena el día 19, donde asiste la gente de los diferentes ministerios que el Cuerpo tiene.
El programa de las “campanitas,” es llevado a cabo por el Coordinador de Santa Ana, durante la semana su completa operación es manejada por soldados completamente uniformados. Los sábados, los voluntarios se hacen cargo.
Los mayores estan planeando ir con su familia a su país de origen, Chile, en unas “vacaciones misioneras” antes de navidad. Ellos están muy agradecidos por toda la ayuda que reciben de sus 80 oficiales locales, los que hacen posible los programas del Cuerpo. Gracias a ellos, los mayores son capaces de dejar el Cuerpo en buenas manos.