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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: The Susanville Salvation Army

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

The Salvation Army’s office is at 1560 Main Street next to the Susanville Grocery Outlet.

By Terra Avilla

It may have been serendipitous that last week, as I was in the middle of writing about the Susanville Salvation Army, that disaster struck our nearby county. I had been writing about the services that the organization provides to those in need, and how tirelessly they work to serve our community, when in the middle of writing my article, I was inundated with calls about the Camp Fire in Butte County.

I then spent a good majority of my time on the phone with Karen McDonald and Juanita Williams of the Salvation Army helping to gather and release information to those in the disaster stricken area.

I never got the chance to finish my article for last week – but whatever I was going to write about the Salvation Army, pre-Camp Fire would have paled in comparison to what I would write about them now. Guys. I have seen them in action. Our local Salvation Army employees are heroes. They really are.

In a normal week, they help clothe, feed and house many members of our community. They often work as a catch-all provider, giving much needed resources and help to those in our community who are experiencing trauma, or some sort of major life setback. They provide a help up – not a handout.

You may recognize their beautiful, red kettle bells which are synonymous not only with the Salvation Army but also with the holiday season. Yet the Salvation Army provides an array of other services to our little town, that continues year round, not just during the holidays.

These include providing back to school supplies to our local kids, hosting a large-scale, back to school shopping event so students can have new shoes, jackets, etc., for the school year, as well as several food drives for our community members.

If you go to the Salvation Army’s main website, you will see an array of services they offer, ranging from education, to combating addiction, to spreading the gospel.

I first met Juanita and Karen when I was running around with my head cut off five years ago attempting to orchestrate a new Christmas program for our community. Juanita and Karen had both been extremely helpful, and provided a lot of guidance, ensuring that the program I was trying to put together was a success. They did it because they wanted to help. They did it because they wanted to serve our community.

They didn’t sit with me and answer my questions and provide suggestions because they had to, they did it because they wanted to make sure that as many children in this community as possible were going to be cared for during Christmas.

The Salvation Army plays a very crucial role in the food system within Susanville and Lassen County.

Through their program or another, they didn’t care, they just wanted to help make sure the task was completed. The Holiday with a Hero program owes a large part of its success to Salvation Army. I don’t think anyone knows that, and I don’t really think I ever got to tell them thank you for that.

Now let’s talk about last week, during the first days of the Camp Fire. I saw firsthand what tenacious people they have working there. Karen who was already busy working long hours trying to ensure that our local Christmas Angel Tree program was up and running, and was also mid planning the kettle ball kick off dinner, was then tasked with fielding countless calls (which continued to her days off) requesting emergency food baskets and other help for Paradise evacuees.

When she called me Sunday afternoon it took me a minute to realize she was supposed to be ‘off.’ I don’t know how people got a hold of her on her days off, but she answered their calls, and came in to do whatever she could to help.

I challenge you all to stop into the Salvation Army’s office, you will see the works of multiple community-based programs in effect at one time. Presents being collected for their Angel Tree program, food baskets being sorted, various individuals coming in for assorted assistance.

They are a beacon of help in our community that is often overlooked and/or taken for granted. The Salvation Army’s corporate slogan is “Doing the most good.” Well, they definitely are doing that. But our local office is working overtime to do as much good as they can, with all that they can, trying to reach whoever they can.

They are one of the reasons our community is unique and are one of the reasons why I love this place we call home!

Bill Muttera, Michelle Zubillaga and Arlin Billington ringing the bell in front of Safeway last year during the Christmas season.

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One Response to Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: The Susanville Salvation Army

  1. Jaime Baehler-Stevens

    Jaime Baehler-Stevens

    Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 at 9:05 am

    🙂

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