En los últimos meses se ha reportado un incremento de personas en Fayetteville con pancartas en las calles pidiendo dinero, comida o empleo, y esto ha despertado la incertidumbre de lo que pudiera estar ocurriendo.

Según el Salvation Army, y otras organizaciones sin fines de lucro, dedicadas a brindar servicios de ayuda a estas personas, se estima que el Noroeste de Arkansas cuenta con alrededor de unas 3 mil personas indigentes, o sin hogar. Esto se debe al alto número de desempleos en nuestra región.

A pesar que dichos centros proporcionan un lugar donde pasar la noche, alimentarse y tomar un ducha, muchos de estos menesterosos acampan en diferentes puntos de Fayetteville.

Sostuvimos una entrevista con la Directora de Recursos Humanos del Salvation Army, Dawn Rodríguez, quien nos comentó sobre las principales razones de este incremento de personas necesitadas.

Dawn: “Hay diferentes razones por que no tienen un hogar y no tienen empleo. [Normalmente] es porque pasan por algo fuerte como si se pusieron bien enfermos y pierden el trabajo, y cuando no pueden trabajar no pueden pagar la renta o pagar un bill, y [consecuentemente] pierden el trabajo”.

Rodríguez también recalcó que algunas de estas personas si cuentan con un hogar, pero simplemente quieren aprovecharse de la gente para recibir cosas gratis. Ante esto, nos brinda algunas recomendaciones sobre lo que debemos hacer en caso de ver a alguien pidiendo en las calle, ya que lo mejor es abstenerse a darles dinero.

Dawn: “Si necesitan comida, das comida, si necesitan información ustedes pueden dársela. Si pueden manejar con una bolsa llena con jabón, con cosas para ayudar a lavar la ropa o con toallas, o cobijas y con papel de información [para que sepan] a donde pueden ir ellos para recibir asistencia”.

Cabe destacar que el Salvation Army cuenta con varios programas para las personas de la calle, ademas de un Refugio de Emergencia, en los cuales cientos de personas se ven beneficiadas con comida, ropa, y ayuda para conseguir empleo. La organización, ubicada en la 15th Street en Fayetteville, siempre esta en necesidad de voluntarios.

Redactado por Andrea Guzmán

Salvation Army Delivers Hot Drinks for Homeless

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – Hot drinks will be served to help the homeless fight the cold.

The Salvation Army Corps Community Center of Fayetteville will be taking a canteen truck out Tuesday, January 24, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. They plan to do this each week during winter.

You can spread the word by using #giveNWA #feedNWA.

Salvation Army Raises Over $340K in Red Kettle Campaign

NORHTWEST ARKANSAS – The Salvation Army reached 90 percent of its money raising goal in the annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The group raised a total of $343,952, which is 91 percent of their goal. Major Dan Matthews, Area Commander for the Salvation Army released the following statement:

“We want to thank each community in Northwest Arkansas for their generosity this year in giving to the Christmas Kettles. It was a wonderful year – we made 91% of our goal, and we are delighted with that. All of the Angel Tree tags were bought for, and we can just imagine how many families were brought together around the tree because of that generosity in NWA. So thank you, to everyone in this community, for giving from the heart this year. God Bless you.”

The money raised will help support Salvation Army services in NWA  in 2017, including providing shelter, food, utility assistance, addiction recovery, clothing, furniture and disaster relief. Also this year, the Salvation Army was able to provide Angel Tree gifts to 2,113 children this year.

Local Woman Claims Warming Shelters May Have Saved Her Life

It’s cold for anyone having to go outside this time of year, especially for our homeless population.

Many of them are spending most of their days in freezing temperatures.
One Northwest Arkansas woman says warming shelters may have saved her life.
Jewelya Boyd was homeless for ten years, she now lives at the Havenwood Home in Bentonville, but she said the salvation army is why she survived being on the streets.
“When you’re homeless and it’s cold you are fighting for your life most definitely,” Boyd said.
For Boyd, staying warm isn’t something she’s taking for granted.
“I experienced homelessness for the last ten years of my life, off and on, off and on. Mostly do to my addiction and not keeping things together like i should have,” Boyd said.
She regularly used the Salvation Army’s cold weather shelters to get by during the decade she was on the streets.
“I’ve literally slept in my car and on the ground before that,” said Boyd.
A spokesperson for the Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army said the number of people coming to the shelters has increased, because of the overall population boom.
But they say no matter the building capacity size they won’t turn away people, even if it gets a bit crowded.
Boyd believes cold weather shelters saved her life, and recommends if you can’t find your way to a shelter,  use blankets, hay or anything to keep yourself warm through the night..
“One bad circumstance is all it takes for someone to wind up on the streets and cold,” Boyd said.
Which is why she says we are so fortunate to live in Northwest Arkansas
“A lot of areas don’t have these shelters and opportunities and warming places. It’s hard for someone that’s out in the country I can imagine, but we are very incredibly blessed to have such warming shelters and areas that are willing to take people in for just the night,” Boyd said.
There are several options for shelters in Northwest Arkansas, including Bentonville and here in Fayetteville.
For people in the River Valley, The Community Rescue Mission in Fort Smith is also open.

Homeless Census Training Helps Identify NWA Homeless Population

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — – Homelessness in Northwest Arkansas has changed over the years. What once was a population made up of predominantly males has shifted to include women and children.
One professor in Arkansas has been tracking the changes over the years and he gathered a group to help him find out who in our state is living without a home.
Every other year, University of Arkansas Professor of Sociology Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick uses volunteers to count the homeless population in Benton and Washington county.
Since 2007 the population has increased. On Monday around 50  volunteers gathered at Central United Methodist Church. They learned what they’ll be doing this week — during a 24 hour period — to pinpoint the number of people without homes right here in Northwest Arkansas.
“We give them the location and then give them a time frame and then they are asked to go to that particular site with a team leader, theres anywhere between five and ten volunteers at a site and then systematically interview everyone that is on site,” Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick said. “Not everyone on site is homeless, but there is a set of screening questions to determine whether or not that person is homeless and if they are, then they do a complete interview which takes about 4 to 5 minutes per person.”
Without the reliable data, from volunteers like Jazmynne Matthews, that details the homeless population in the two counties, the government will not provide federal funding to the area.
“I think that there is a fear of stepping out, but at least they are bold enough, even in their fears to say i want to do something to help my fellow man,” Matthews said.
Ever since volunteers have been doing the census since 2007, Northwest Arkansas has brought in over $3.5 million.

-original story with KNWA-

Red kettle worker plays the banjo, not bells

SPRINGDALE — The temperature hovered in the low 40s, and the sky was gray and dreary. But the cheerful notes of “Jingle Bells” — bluegrass-style — pealed out, and busy holiday shoppers entered the Springdale store wearing smiles.

Gary Shipley picks his banjo every day but Sunday in front of the Harps Food Store on Sunset Avenue, making for a unique alternative to the bells usually associated with the Salvation Army’s red kettles.

The shoppers likely don’t realize that the serenades come from a professional musician with quite a resume.

Shipley’s website lists performances with the Harvest Time Singers, Little Jimmy Dickens, Alan Young, Charlie Lawson and Oak Hill, Charlie Louvin, Jimmy Martin, Rich McCready, Spring Water Bluegrass Ultimate, the Misty Mountain Drifters and many more.

He also played behind Margie and Enoch Sullivan with the legendary Sullivan Family group, which received a distinguished achievement award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2005, while Shipley was a member.

Shipley has played the banjo for 45 years, and to prove it, he shows calluses on his fingers in the shapes of the banjo strings. He also plays 26 other instruments — the dobro or resonator guitar is his other favorite.

He was born in Webb City, Mo. “And as for bluegrass, I took two lessons, and that was it,” he said.

“He loves music. You can see it in his eyes,” said Capt. John Robbins of the Salvation Army’s Springdale Corps.

More than half of what Shipley plays for passers-by as he strums for Salvation Army kettle donations are gospel songs, he said. “Most people don’t know the songs I play — or they might not recognize the way they’re played.”

Sometimes he breaks out his voice, and he does take requests. And, sometimes the joy he shares comes back to him.

“It’s very rewarding,” Shipley said. “Some people buy coffee and bring it to me, and I don’t drink coffee. But I do drink hot chocolate.”

Many Harps customers stop and lean against the posts at the entrance to listen for a while, said store manager Ricky Ritch.

“A lot of people come in just to see him,” Ritch said. “A crazy amount of people stop to tell him how much they appreciate it.”

Ritch admits that he looks for reasons to go outside to listen. Perhaps the manager might collect the grocery carts from the parking lot, he said with a laugh. And customers have requested Shipley’s presence at the store year-round.

“When you see what he brings to the table, you can’t beat it,” Ritch said. “He steps it up to the next level.”

“I know we do appreciate the excitement it builds in our customers,” he said. “Who doesn’t like that kind of music? We’ve got Silver Dollar City in front of our store.”

Lyndsey Strong, a spokesman for the Salvation Army, said Shipley’s performances are a fun change from the typical bells associated with donation seekers.

“It’s Arkansas bell ringing. It feels fun and local, and that’s neat,” Strong said.

“‘Ringing the banjo’ — that sure beats the bells,” Shipley said. “I couldn’t just ring the bell. That would drive me bonkers. The banjo — that’s what I do.”

From his nine-hour-a-day post in front of the grocery store, Shipley said he thinks that what he’s doing is important.

“[The Salvation Army cares] so much. They do so much good for people. They house people. They feed people. Without them, some kids wouldn’t have a Christmas,” he said.

Shipley, who is disabled, said he has faced his own challenging circumstances. “I’ve needed [the Salvation Army], but I never took it. I always had family I could turn to to get me set up.”

All donations collected in the kettles stay local, Strong said. The money supports emergency night shelters in Fayetteville and Bentonville, and a free addiction recovery program. It also pays for hot meals, food baskets, gas vouchers and help with utility bills.

Last year, donations in the Northwest Arkansas kettles totaled more that $372,000, Strong said. This year’s goal is $380,000. “Other groups hold a gala. We have our kettles,” Strong said.

She said the kettle program seems to be fruitful in any economy, even in an increasingly “cashless” society. “Many people make it a point to save money in their car at this time of year,” she said.

When he’s not traveling to perform, Shipley and his family attend the organization’s worship services in Springdale.

“I go to the Salvation Army church not because I have to, but because I want to,” Shipley said proudly.

He shares his talent at the services and works with youths, teaching them to play guitar or piano. “When it comes to working with the children, he is always there,” Robbins said.

“[Shipley] is a very good man,” Robbins said. “He’s just an amazing person. He loves God.”

Robbins said Shipley also likes to just sit and talk with people, finding out what’s going on in their lives. And at Harps, he does it without missing a note.

There are some shoppers who look down on Shipley and assume he’s less fortunate because of his service, Shipley said.

“They look at me and treat me differently,” he said. “What they don’t know is, if not for different circumstances, they could be living in the gutter. There’s need everywhere in this society, if they’d just open their eyes and do what they can.”

“If they don’t put nothing in the kettle, I don’t care,” Shipley said of passing shoppers. “That’s all right. I’ll still tell you to have a great day. I don’t want anything from them.”

“I’m just here to watch the bucket and say hello to everybody — you can’t leave the bucket by itself,” he quipped. “I’m here to play the banjo and put a smile on their faces.

“It’s not in here,” Shipley said, pointing to the red kettle. “It’s what’s in here,” he said, pointing to his heart. “That’s what matters.”


Original Story from NWA Democrat Gazette –>

Salvation Army Begins Distributing Angel Tree Gifts To Parents

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — The Salvation Army began distributing angel tree gifts to parents on Thursday (Dec. 15).

More than 2,000 children across Northwest Arkansas will receive gifts this Christmas thanks to the generosity of our community.

The Salvation Army said this is the first year that all the angels were adopted.

Rob Ceballos was one of the 100 volunteers who came out to help load the gifts into parents’ cars. He said one of the best things you can do is to give back.

“I think every Christmas is kind of a rough time for a lot of families and it’s just important that kids have the best Christmas they can…a bike, a toy, you know anything is so much fun for these kids,” Ceballos said.


Billy Barren was also volunteering with fellow co-worker from Sam’s Club and he said it is great to see the family’s reaction to getting gifts for their kids.

“Looking at all the bikes and toys back here is crazy…like how much people gave back and to see it all go to great families in the community,” Barren said.

Salvation Army Major Mary Matthews said give back and they did. They were able to help between 800 and 900 families this year.

“The community just really responded in just a powerful way this year. The angels just flew off the trees long before Christmas and the gifts started coming back and it is just a generous community,” Matthews said.

Matthews said each family also received turkeys, eggs and potatoes.

“Total strangers that don’t know somebody and they have a heart for somebody who might be struggling and buy something for that family that they’ll never see…So it`s a gift given just totally out of love,” Matthews said.

Volunteers will continue to distribute the rest of the gifts on Friday (Dec. 16).

The Salvation Army’s red kettles will be out through Christmas Eve. The money collected from these supports their mission all year long.


Salvation Army Begins Distributing Angel Tree Gifts To Parents


Cold weather in the forecast is prompting the Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas to open its overnight emergency centers for those who are without shelter.

The centers are located in Fayetteville and Bentonville and typically open when the forecast is 34 degrees and below.

Temperatures are set to be cold this week, with the lowest temperature being in the teens this week. Cots will be available for the homeless population seeking shelter from the cold temperatures starting Monday night through Friday night.

Lindsey Strong with the Salvation Army said there is no capacity limit and the shelter has seen up to 40 people when the temperatures are very low.

The Fayetteville shelter is located at 219 S. 15th Street and the Bentonville shelter is located at 3305 S.W. “I” Street.

Locals Volunteer As Bell Ringers For The Holidays


FAYETTEVILLE(KFSM)– Every year red kettles and smiling volunteers greet you at the door of your favorite supermarkets, ringing their bell and wishing you a happy holiday.

The Salvation Army tradition started 125 years ago as an effort to feed one thousand hungry people in San Fransisco.

Donations from the red kettles now help support over 4 and half million people in the U.S. .

Bell ringers graciously donate their time and their smile to support those in need.

Ken Martin says he enjoys participating with the Salvation Army every year.

“There’s many folk that are down and out and this is just one way I can give back to the community.”, said Martin who has been a bell ringer with his church group for the past 6 years.

Volunteers takes shifts at kettles across the world during the coldest time of the year.

But watching joyful shoppers drop donations in their kettle is what helps them pass the time by.

Locals Volunteer As Bell Ringers For The Holidays

Salvation Army Helps Emergency Workers Enjoy the Holiday


For many of us, Thanksgiving means spending time with family and eating a lot of turkey. For others, it means working to keep you safe. Many emergency responders were on call Thurssday, but that didn’t stop them from enjoying a taste of Thanksgiving.

Almost every Thanksgiving for Central EMS employees its serving the injured, Instead of serving of a plate of turkey. But this year is different for these emergency responders.

“We respond to people in need. That is the worst day of their life,” Central EMS worker, Shawna Ross said.

“Its great to know that we have the support of our community.”

That support served up on a plate thanks to the Salvation Army.

“Throughout Fayetteville and Bentonville we just wanted to deliver a little Thanksgiving feast for the people who are really supporting us day in and day out,” Lindsey Strong with the Salvation Army said.

The Salvation Army delivered over 100 meals to emergency responders Thursday. A small gesture that put the thanks in Thanksgiving for these hard working employees.

“We are just very thankful especially on this day that they have chosen to treat us and kind of pay us back. pay it forward,” Ross said.

–Original Story–