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A Mile Down the Road

How a Summer job with The Salvation Army changed one teen’s perspective.  


By: Christopher George

A mile down Chattanooga’s Dodds Avenue from the McCallie School lies an entirely different world known as East Lake. At McCallie, we worry about the next advanced placement U.S. history test or whether we’ll win the football game this week; At East Lake they worry about the next shooting in their neighborhood or if they’ll make it through the next paycheck. In my summer as a lifeguard for The Salvation Army in the projects, I was humbled, amazed and shocked by the way the kids’ lives are so different from mine.

I took the lifeguarding job to make money and avoid getting a “real job” working at a restaurant, doing lawn care or working at a Lake Winnepesaukah booth. I didn’t know I was signing up for a summer that would completely change the way that I see life, people, society and the McCallie community.

One morning, a little boy came to the gates as I was opening the pool and walked up to me. His name was Carlos, and he was 4 years old. He didn’t know where his parents were, but he assured me that his siblings were looking after him. I thought I’d look after him as well. As life would have it, he and I became best friends. I thought that I was being a good influence on him and that he needed a big brother figure.east-lake-pool-christopher

Little did I know that he would impact my life more than I could ever impact his. Every morning he would walk across the street to The Salvation Army, and every morning he would jump on me with a huge grin and an infectious laugh! I used to complain about the littlest things, but I realized Carlos never once complained to me, nor did he ever break his joyful smile. I began counting my blessings and starting every day with a smile, no matter how the last one went. I never thought that I would be given life-altering advice from someone who was in kindergarten.

In his unknowing intelligence, Carlos taught me selflessness at its core. Being 4 years old, all Carlos wanted to do was swim, eat snacks, color and play games, but one time while running around hyped up on sugar, Carlos stopped in his tracks and looked at me. I noticed that a little girl was playing air hockey by herself. Carlos immediately began playing with her. When I asked him about it he said, “She looked lonely, so I wanted to play with her.” His response helped me realize that kids don’t see people as different, but they see them as solely individual people. We need to be like children in the way we see people.

At McCallie, we try to isolate ourselves from the community around us by saying that we are “outside of the ghetto,” because that community is poor, lower class and plagued with violence. We need to adopt Carlos’ perspective that when we see a person in need of help, we help them no matter what their race, gender or socioeconomic class may be.

Carlos and I became almost brothers by the end of the summer; we were brothers living in two different worlds. As I sat down to eat lunch one day, I was scrolling through Twitter just like normal, nothing special, but I read an article about all the gang shootings that had happened throughout this summer in Chattanooga. Young men were being shot and killed on the streets far too often. The only thing that was running through my mind was that Carlos will have to grow up in that environment; he or his brothers might get caught up in that violence. The thought devastated me.

I started thinking about how naive I was growing up in the suburbs of Chattanooga, not knowing anything of violence. I thought about how Carlos’s eyes are so wide open at such a young age, and that he can’t escape that kind of situation. And I couldn’t help but to think about McCallie. It has been a cornerstone of my development as a man, so I thought about what McCallie could do for that entire community. I thought that McCallie’s young men should be going to The Salvation Army to be big brothers to the kids. I still believe those kids have a lot to teach us, just as we can teach them about life.

So this summer was not one of uneventful binge-watching Netflix, and this summer job was certainly not just for the money. I learned more than I could have ever fathomed in the three short months as a lifeguard by just being there with kids like Carlos. Through interactions with the kids, I learned how just a mile down the road is a whole new world very unfamiliar with my own.

Original Salvation Army Donut Recipe


5 C flour
2 C sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 ‘saltspoon’ salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 C milk
1 Tub lard


  1. Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
  2. Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick. (When finding items to cut out donut circles, be creative. Salvation Army Donut Girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to coffee percolator tubes.)
  3. Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the donuts gradually. Turn the donuts slowly several times.
  4. When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy.

Yield: 4 dozen donuts


Video: Our Sweet Role in History

The Salvation Army Observes Memorial Day

The Salvation Army has always been a strong supporter of the military and has a history of helping war efforts and serving on the front lines.

In November 1894, The Salvation Army’s Naval and Military League was started as a way to communicate with Salvationist sailors and soldiers. However, the League soon broadened its service and established Naval and Military homes in places such as Portsmouth, Malta and Calcutta.

In World War I, The Salvation Army supplied motor ambulances, refreshment huts in military camps and parcels of food and clothing for servicemen. These refreshment huts were where the Salvationists known as ‘Donut Girls’ served food, primarily donuts, to the servicemen. To honor the volunteers who prepared and served donuts as a way to remind soldiers of home, the United States celebrates the 79th Annual National Donut Day on June 3.

Some Officers served as chaplains, and the League operated an inquiry service to help relatives and friends find servicemen. After the war, the League assisted with visits to war cemeteries.

During World War II, The Salvation Army operated mobile canteens that provided tea, chewing gum, soap, toothpaste and sewing kits to servicemen. These canteens arrived only a matter of days after the ‘D-Day’ landing and followed the advance of the Allied troops into Germany. The Salvation Army also provided international hostels and clubs for military personnel and is still present on a number of military bases today.

We continue to support and thank all the men and women in the military for the sacrifices they make for our country.

The Salvation Army Celebrates 79th Annual National Donut Day!

On June 3, The United States recognizes the 79th Annual National Donut Day!  It is only appropriate The Salvation Army, who popularized the donut, will help lead this celebration.

As America entered World War I in 1917, The Salvation Army established a mission to provide for the needs of U.S. soldiers fighting in France.  Salvation Army volunteers traveled overseas to set up service “huts” located in abandoned buildings near the front lines where they could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps and offer a clothes mending service to the soldiers in battle. historical 27- donutday1 (1)

When providing freshly baked goods proved to be a difficult feat considering the hut’s conditions, two entrepreneurial Salvation Army volunteers named Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance cleverly thought to fry donuts in soldiers’s helmets.  The volunteers were capable of frying seven donuts per batch.  The sweet treats, along with the warm hearts and glowing smiles of those who served them, brought a bit of comfort to American soldiers who were serving their country.  Nicknamed “Doughnut Lassies” and “Doughnut Girls,” these women made history by introducing this little known confection to the United States when the “Doughboys” returned from war.

The first National Donut Day was established in Chicago in 1938 to raise money for people in need during the Great Depression.  The holiday has since been celebrated on the first Friday in June as a way to commemorate the service of The Salvation Army’s Doughnut Lassies and honor the memory of our soldiers.  The donut has become synonymous with The Salvation Army’s social services and continues to be a comfort food served by The Salvation Army to those in need during times of disaster.

To celebrate National Donut Day locally, The Chattanooga Salvation Army will be delivering donuts to local heroes who serve our community and nation everyday – men and women from the Armed Forces and the local Police & Fire Departments.

Both Entenmann’s and Krispy Kreme are Donut Day National Sponsors.  Our local partner, Tasty Donuts of Chattanooga, TN will also donate the donuts to be delivered.

Visit Entenmann’s on Facebook and enter to for a chance to win free donuts for a year and other great prizes!  In continued support of The Salvation Army, Entenmann’s Bakery will donate $1 to The Salvation Army for every sweepstakes entry up to $35,000!

Krispy Kreme will offer one free donut per customer and will have counter top Red Kettles available for donations.  All proceeds to benefit The Salvation Army.

Our local partner, Tasty Daylight Donuts of Chattanooga, TN will also donate the donuts to be delivered.


Do The Most Good

Do the most good

Five simple ways to support The Salvation Army

Most people know you can help The Salvation Army by ringing bells for them at Christmastime, serving in their soup kitchens, giving items to their Family Stores or donating money or food, but there are plenty of other ways to help The Salvation Army too, including some you might not have thought of. In honor of Give Local America! Day today, here are five super easy and less commonly thought of ways to support your local Salvation Army.

1. Donate lesser-known needs

When people think of donating items to The Salvation Army, they generally think of things like food, clothing and money, but while those are important, they’re far from the only donations The Salvation Army needs.


Not all the donations The Salvation Army needs are obvious. For instance, women’s hygiene products like the tampons and sanitary pads the Chattanooga Women’s Auxiliary collects at its annual Mardi Bra event are critical but often overlooked items.

Case in point: plastic grocery bags. You know you’ve got some lying around the house, so instead of trashing them, give them to your local Salvation Army, which can use them to pack items for its food assistance programs as well as in its Family Stores. Remember, though, as the Richmond, Kentucky Salvation Army reminds people, the bags should be “clean, dry [and] hole-free.”If you need other ideas, you can call and inquire as to what is needed or check online. For instance, The Salvation Army in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has a Needs section on its website that lists things people can donate. Items include coffee, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, garbage bags and all-purpose cleaners.

Also, many Salvation Army locations have Facebook pages, and some will post the needs they have there. For instance, the Bowling Green, Kentucky Salvation Army recently shared that it’s in need of pillows for its homeless shelter, and it has also sought steel-toed work boots for shelter clients who require them for work, winter coats it gives away to anyone in need, a meat slicer for its kitchen and fitted sheets, pillow cases and towels for the shelter, among other things.

Feminine products are also frequently needed. This includes hygiene items like tampons, sanitary pads and women’s deodorant as well as bras and underwear. The Chattanooga Salvation Army hosts an annual event calledMardi Bra, where it collects these items to give to women in its shelter and to stockpile for distribution to women throughout the year, but even without an official event, you can still donate these critical items.

2. Hold a donation drive


Donation drives are an easy way to collect items The Salvation Army needs. Last year, students at Madison Central High School in Richmond, Ky., held a month-long winter clothing drive for their Salvation Army.

This goes hand in hand with #1, and it’s an easy way to ease yourself into volunteering with The Salvation Army if you’ve never done it before. Once you’ve found out what items your local Salvation Army needs, simply set up a drive at your school, office, church or other community location to collect these items.If you’re not the person in charge, make sure to check with them first for approval, then simply set out collection boxes at various locations in the building, set a deadline and/or goal amount and spread the word. You can create flyers to pass out and post that have information such as what you’re collecting, who you’re collecting it for, where people can donate and when they need to donate by.

Once you’ve raised your desired amount, simply take it all to The Salvation Army. In some places, like Louisville, Kentucky, if you call The Salvation Army first, they will bring out the boxes for you to collect the items and then pick up the donations when you’re done.

3. Credit The Salvation Army at checkout

If you have a Kroger Plus Card, you may be able to help your local Salvation Army with almost no effort on your part. First, check to see if it participates in the Kroger Community Rewards Program; if so, you’ll need the five-digit participant number.

Then, on Kroger’s website, sign in or create your account. Under the Community Rewards section of your account settings, enter the participant number, which designates that particular Salvation Army location as your recipient. After that, each time you use your Plus card when you shop, it earns money back for The Salvation Army.

You can also help The Salvation Army when you shop on Amazon by going through It’s the same as shopping on Amazon, except a portion of your purchase price goes to the charity you select.

With The Salvation Army, if you live in Kentucky or Tennessee, you’d select “The Salvation Army USA – Southern Territorial Headquarters” as your charity, and then, whenever you buy something, a portion of the sale goes to the local Salvation Army in your zip code.

4. Be a signal booster

If you are active on social media, find the Salvation Army location or locations near you that are also active. Follow their pages to keep up with what is going on. Many have Facebook and Twitter, while some also have Pinterest, YouTube and/or Instagram.

When they have messages about needing supplies or volunteers, that their shelters or soup kitchens are open longer or closed because of inclement weather, when their Angel Tree sign-ups are, that they need more bell ringers at Christmas or about any upcoming fundraisers they’re having, share these with your friends and followers and encourage them to do the same. Even if you can’t help, maybe someone else can, and the wider the message is spread, the better the chance The Salvation Army has to do the most good in your community.

5. Share your airline miles

If you have airline miles from United or Delta that you have no plans for or simply more than you can use, consider donating them to The Salvation Army. They’ll be used to help The Salvation Army quickly mobilize personnel in times of disaster, provide travel for those in need of out-of-area emergency medical care and to provide staff travel, which reduces administrative costs and, in turn, allows more money to go directly to Salvation Army programs.

The programs are called United Airlines Charity Miles Program and Delta SkyWish. You must donate a minimum of 1,000 miles at a time and can do so online or by phone. You can learn the full guidelines on The Salvation Army USA’s website.

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