Monday, 11 December 2017

C Columns

Salvation Army: Meeting Needs 365 Days of the Year

 

Rhonda and Bob Lloyd are Treasure Valley coordinators and Boise Corps officers for the Salvation Army. (Courtesy photo)

 

By Gaye Bunderson

 

Nestled behind the historic structure that houses the Marian Pritchett School on 24th Street in Boise sits a compound that includes the offices of Majors Robert (Bob) and Rhonda Lloyd, Treasure Valley coordinators and Boise Corps officers for the Salvation Army.

The couple has many years of ministry experience. While living in Seattle, Rhonda worked with New Horizons Ministries, helping to get homeless women and children off the streets. Bob, on the other hand, occasionally had to put people out on the street. As a transit supervisor, he had to clear the buses of transients when transit system services shut down at 2 in the morning. It was far from his favorite thing to do. 

Now, however, both the Lloyds help people in need through their work at the Salvation Army. The Army has been in the valley for nearly 130 years, providing crisis aid, food, clothing, furniture, utility bill assistance, emergency and transitional housing, and a center for worship services which are led by the Lloyds. 

At a meeting with Bob Lloyd in early November, the Army was launching its red kettle brigade, those friendly figures who stand at the supermarket, ringing in the holidays.

“Christmas is our most visible time, and the red kettles are one of the most iconic symbols of the season,” Lloyd said. 

As everyone knows, the Salvation Army collects donations from shoppers who drop coins or cash into the kettles and then uses the money to help the less fortunate. The generosity of people thoughout the valley at Christmas is remarkable; prior to Christmas, volunteers flock to the Salvation Army at Thanksgiving to lend a spirit-of-the-holidays helping hand. And while Major Lloyd is exceptionally grateful for the money and the volunteerism in November and December, there's something he wants everyone to know: the Salvation Army works to help those lacking in life's necessities 365 days of the year.  

“We touch 78,000 people in a year,” Lloyd said. “One of the challenges we have is that most people want to volunteer around the holidays. It's not unusual at Thanksgiving for us not to have enough room for all the volunteers; there are sometimes more than we can manage. We'd like people to remember we are doing the same basic things in the spring and summer.”

One of the Salvation Army's mottos is: “Need knows no season.”

The Army teams with other ministries in the area, including the Boise Rescue Mission. “People confuse our missions at times, but there's a lot of partnership,” Lloyd said.

Kendelle Sundell, development manager for the Salvation Army in Boise, said: “We work together to provide a social safety net in the community, and it really takes all of us to work together.”

The Salvation Army also partners closely with the Idaho Food Bank to help meet the needs of those who are struggling.

“We encounter people who are in distress,” said Lloyd, explaining that sometimes, out of their distress, they may not be as open and friendly as they would otherwise be. “We try not to take it personally because we realize they're coming to us because they have issues. They aren't happy with life. We strive to create relationships with clients so we can help with their deeper issues. In the Salvation Army, we have a spiritual movitation, and that helps a lot.”

The Salvation Army does not require anyone it serves to attend church, but members don't shy away from letting it be known they are people of faith, serving God.

“We serve without discrimination,” Sundelle said. The Army does not ask anyone his or her religious affiliation and has no stipulations about who may receive aid. As much as it is able, the Salvation Army helps any person in need.

Lloyd is just one of many members of the Salvation Army who feels fulfilled by his calling. “I love this job,” he said. “It beats kicking people off the bus at 2 a.m.”

 

For more information, go to www.boise.salvationarmy.org. There is also a Salvation Army in Nampa. Go to thesalvationarmynampa.org.

 

 

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