TERRE HAUTE —
Sometimes, the unexpected happens.
Worst-case scenarios play out. A “that-will-never-affect-me” situation hits anyway.
Those stories show up routinely at the Salvation Army, in the form of real, flesh-and-blood, shell-shocked people. The act of asking for help often is a new and raw experience. Among the first faces those folks see is that of Gordon Hoag, administrator at the Salvation Army of Terre Haute.
That moment may be one of the hardest in a person’s life.
“If you’ve got any pride at all, it’s very difficult to make that first appointment,” Hoag said. “If you’ve never had to do that, it can wear on your self-esteem.”
The response they receive is important — probably unforgettable.
“We try to treat every person with the utmost respect and dignity,” Hoag explained Wednesday morning. “We try to reassure them that everybody goes through tough times now and then, and that it’s OK to ask for help.” In fact, 1 out of 5 recipients of Salvation Army assistance locally are doing so for the first time.
A few hours after Hoag spoke, the local Salvation Army kicked off its annual Red Kettle drive in Honey Creek Mall, continuing a 121-year-old tradition by the international Christian charity organization.
The donations dropped into those kettles during the holiday season fund multiple services offered by the Salvation Army all year long. That includes providing food, clothes and emotional support for men, women and kids coping with one of those never-saw-it-coming crises.
For the fortunate among us, that Salvation Army bellringer and the Red Kettle are as close as we’ll get to the troubles of the needy.
So drop something in. Volunteer for one of their Christmas-season projects. Donate food, clothes or toys. Then, be thankful if you haven’t been felled by such hardship — a life-threatening illness with large medical costs, a job loss or hefty income cut, a family breakup, the death of the household provider.
“It can take just one unexpected expense a month to throw somebody way off, whether it’s a car repair or a doctor’s bill,” Hoag said. “And then, they have to make a choice — do we pay this bill, or buy food, or fix the car, or keep the lights on?”
Last year, Terre Haute’s Salvation Army assisted 1,649 families, touching more than 5,000 individuals. At this point in the holiday season, the local chapter is on pace to eclipse that mark, having helped 1,434 families already. The need has increased. In 2011, the organization raised $173,000 in contributions; this year, it needs $180,000.
“Obviously, they [also] need hundreds of volunteers,” said Honnalora Hubbard, a local minister, executive director of Terre Haute Ministries and chairperson for the Salvation Army’s 2012 Christmas campaign. Those volunteers, as well as the recipients, inspired Hubbard to take on the latter role for a second consecutive year. While chairperson last year, Hubbard’s son, Anthony, was serving in the U.S. military in Afghanistan. She’d never been apart from him before.
“It was an absolute blessing for me to get to spend Christmas with a thousand other people,” Hubbard said.
Not surprisingly, she highly recommends volunteering for one of the many holiday projects involving the Salvation Army. That might mean delivering food to the homes of the needy in the Tribune-Star Christmas Basket Fund early on Christmas Eve morning. Or walking with parents as their kids choose toys in the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program Dec. 19 at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds. Or answering phones at the Salvation Army offices at 234 S. Eighth St. Or ringing the Red Kettle bell outside local stores for a couple hours. (Hubbard suggests bringing a friend to ring the bells. “Doing it in a pair is a lot more fun,” she said.)
Or, “the one thing that seems the most overlooked — put a dollar in the kettle,” Hubbard said.
Volunteering, though, brings enlightenment. Hubbard remembers helping deliver the Tribune-Star Christmas Baskets for the first time. The Salvation Army handles the applications for those boxes, filled with enough food for a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and then volunteers organized by the newspaper deliver the baskets early in the morning each Dec. 24. The experience of knocking on those doors, and walking inside, reminded Hubbard of her own childhood, growing up in a needy West Terre Haute home.
“I get what it is to be on the other side of that door,” she said.
Many of us, by the grace of God, do not. Participants in the Salvation Army’s holiday efforts become more appreciative of that good fortune.
Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE —
Sometimes, the unexpected happens.
The night it rained tears
March fuels college basketball teams. Fun, glory, buzzer-beater shots and storybook endings in the NCAA Tournament await there.
POVERTY IN AMERICA: Success depends on birth location
Deb Kesler grew up poor in a single-parent family, but she knew that education was the ticket to a better life.
She and three siblings put themselves through college with grants, loans and work.
50 years after Civil Rights Act, work still to be done
This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Indian tradition welcomes colors of spring
One little corner of Deming Park got some spring colors Saturday morning when community members gathered to “play Holi,” an important tradition in India.
Students raise more than $1,100 for children’s hospital, watch school staff get heads shaved
Off with the hair!
Middle school students cheered and laughed with excitement during a school assembly Friday at Honey Creek Middle School as they watched three school administrators “go bald” to support a good cause.
Small World Learning Center hopes to save Woods preschool
A Terre Haute preschool facility on Friday night has publicly announced its offer of a merger with The Woods Day Care/Pre-School.
Hot projects on display at home show
Two-year-old Reed Clutter looked like he felt right at home as he played on a swing inside Hulman Center in downtown Terre Haute during the 2014 Home Show kick off on Friday.
VIDEO: Seuss is Loose
Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.
Utility seeks land for new power lines
Duke Energy is planning to install a new high-voltage power transmission line that would travel between 10 to 13 miles north to south along the Wabash River, in anticipation of the 2015 closure of its Wabash River Generation Station.
Lugar Center to offer CPR training sessions today
Staff members from Union Hospital are partnering with Clark County (Ill.) residents to offer free CPR training to interested community members.
Free cab rides offered for St. Pat’s Day
Terre Haute law firm Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, which has made a tradition of encouraging free cab rides home to those who have consumed too much to drive, has its eyes now on St. Patrick’s Day.
More couples challenge same-sex marriage ban
Three federal lawsuits were filed Friday against Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting the number of legal challenges to the ban’s constitutionality to at least five.
INDOT to discuss U.S. 40 upgrades in Brazil
Indiana Department of Transportation and Gradex Inc. personnel will discuss a pending upgrade of U.S. 40 through Brazil at an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the council room at Brazil City Hall, 203 E. National Ave.
Chamber still taking nominations
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2013 Business Recognition Awards.
Verizon new title sponsor for IndyCar
Verizon will be the new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series, replacing Izod, which left at the end of the 2013 season.
Inmates part of new Legion post
Wearing khaki-colored matching uniforms, more than 20 veterans inside a maximum-security prison stood tall to salute the flag of the United States at an event that welcomed them as new American Legion members.
Putnam deputy released; April trial set
A Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy accused in federal criminal cases of excessive force against suspects in four arrests has been released to pre-trial supervision.
Parent group hoping to keep day care open
When Grace Finley takes her 4-year-old son to The Woods Day Care/Pre-School, she is reassured knowing that he’s receiving quality care, he’s safe and he’s loved. So when she, and other parents, learned Wednesday that the nationally accredited program is scheduled to close June 6, they were stunned by the news.
SCORE gets new home base
The Greater Wabash Valley SCORE Chapter 661 has moved to the former Indiana State Police Post building at the southwest corner of U.S. 41 and Jessica Drive on the Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley campus.
Mayor Bennett drops veto threat over financial consultant
Mayor Duke Bennett has dropped a threat to use his veto power in the matter of the Terre Haute City Council seeking to hire its own financial consultant.
Gas leak closes city streets
A natural gas leak caused the temporary evacuation of three homes in Terre Haute on Thursday morning.
Police records provide details into arrests in case
Police records provide more details of four arrests that are at the center of federal civil rights abuse allegations against a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy.
MARK BENNETT: First BaconFest sure to cure your salty fried meat cravings
Bacon taught me a life lesson.
I wrapped strips of it around chicken livers and secured the cold, gooey bundles with toothpicks to earn money.
New rules may keep moped riders on road
Rep. Dave Wolkins could oppose moped regulations for only so long, as more bikes zipped along the roads and were involved in an increasing number of accidents.
Nearly half of Indiana students get meal aid
Nearly 50 percent of Indiana public school students receive free or reduced-cost meals through the federal school-lunch program.
Hearing date set for Dugger charter school
The Indiana Charter School Board is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on April 8 related to a proposed charter school for the Dugger-Union Community School Corp.
Sullivan County ambulance overturns on Interstate 70
Two Sullivan County emergency medical technicians were treated and released from Terre Haute Regional Hospital after their ambulance rolled over in the median of Interstate 70, about 1 mile east of the Indiana 46 exit on Wednesday afternoon.
New trustee appointed to Indiana State board
Kathleen G. Cabello, president and co-founder of Cabello Associates Inc., has been appointed by Gov. Mike Pence to serve on the Indiana State University Board of Trustees.
Car from home invasion recovered
A stolen vehicle believed to have been used by suspects in a March 4 home invasion has been recovered.
- Sisters of Providence to close Woods Day Care/Pre-School in June
- More News Headlines
- The night it rained tears