National Volunteer Week is here!
One of The Salvation Army’s favorite times of year has officially arrived: National Volunteer Week, which runs April 7–13.
We get giddy just thinking about the next seven days.
“We love National Volunteer Week because it allows us to celebrate our amazing volunteers and encourage others to join our mission,” said Haley Nelson, volunteer services director for The Salvation Army Northern Division. “We adore our volunteers so, so much.”
The Salvation Army Northern Division would not exist without its volunteers. More than 28,500 of them gave their time in Minnesota and North Dakota last year. Their efforts allowed us to provide food, housing, youth services, disaster relief, and other critical support for 340,000 people. Sign up to volunteer now.
A man named Rueben Walman (pictured) is a great example of the kind people who volunteer for The Salvation Army (read more about Rueben). Three mornings per week he picks up bread donations from local grocery stores and brings them to The Salvation Army in Willmar, Minn. He also transports people to and from Salvation Army church services every Sunday, assists with weekly youth programs, and much more.
“We are proud to recognize Reuben for his efforts and we thank him for all he does,” said Auxiliary Captain Ron Felt, leader of the Willmar Salvation Army, who is pictured with Reuben.
Other Salvation Army volunteers do their work outside our walls. That includes Darla Bohn (pictured), who mentors women coming out of prison. Through Salvation Army prison ministry programs, Darla helps the women find jobs, connects them to resources, and offers a listening ear (read more about Darla).
“It means so much to prisoners to be treated like humans,” said Darla, who recently won The Salvation Army’s National Award of Excellence for her work as a corrections volunteer. “Some people ask me, ‘Why on earth do you want to help prisoners?’ I believe that if we, as Christians, have accepted forgiveness from God, how can we not look at everyone else and offer them forgiveness, too?”
Then there’s our Christmas volunteers. Last November and December, thousands of volunteer bell ringers helped us raise $2.5 million in the Twin Cities, $2.4 million in Greater Minnesota, and $1.4 million in North Dakota. Other volunteers helped distribute toys, serve holiday meals, answer phones, and much more.
One of our favorite volunteer bell ringers is not a person, but an entire family – the Schudas (pictured). Members of the Schuda clan live in suburbs across the Twin Cities, and every Christmas season, more than a dozen of them get together to bell ring while wearing wacky holiday costumes (read more about the Schudas).
“There are 101 ways to volunteer,” said Christi Schuda, who’s been bringing her kids along to bell ring ever since they were babies. “Find the one thing that’s right for you. It could be volunteering at the food kitchen or ringing the bell for an hour. Every little bit helps.”
We will continue celebrating our volunteers after National Volunteer Week ends with the announcement of the 2019 Salvation Army Northern Division Volunteers of the Year. Be on the lookout for that announcement later this month.
National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 by President Richard Nixon as way to recognize volunteers and to spur to others to get involved.
Darla Bohn helps The Salvation Army fight for good by supporting women who are in prison and by mentoring those who have just come out...
The Schudas are a great big family that fights for good. They first started volunteering for The Salvation Army in 2007, and today their specialty is bell ringing...