Volunteering: Engaging a Sense of Purpose

volunteers TTG morning 2015 - 2There were mountains of cases outside The Salvation Army’s Greater Philadelphia Operations Center filled with thousands of pounds of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls. It all needed to be loaded into trucks and hauled to three Salvation Army sites before dawn on Thanksgiving morning for distribution to local families later that day. Among those up to the task – Team Rubicon!

“They moved, they lifted, they lugged,” recalled Major Susan Ferreira, Associate Director of Operations, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia.

Team Rubicon is a national agency that links veterans with volunteer opportunities in disaster response situations.  The organization reached out to The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia in the fall of 2015 to give local vets a way to give back to the community during the holidays.

“Often vets feel a sense of loss of purpose after returning from deployment,” explained Jenna Brandolini, Pennsylvania Engagement Manager, Team Rubicon. “They understand what it takes to pitch in and get the job done. Volunteering in disaster response situations, and even through the various ways with The Salvation Army, help them to re-engage that sense of purpose.”

team rubicon volunteers - eagles visit
Team Rubicon among the volunteers who posed for a photo with the Eagles

More than 30 Team Rubicon members, along with Brandolini, devoted their time, energy and talents during our Thanksgiving-to-Go program and again in December unloading trucks filled with toy donations, then sorting and organizing them for Christmas gift distribution. During one session members of the Eagles football team dropped by with food for the volunteers as a token of appreciation for their community service.

“A lot of our members know how lonely the holidays can be. They want to make sure people who are struggling get the support they need,” Brandolini said.

Major Susan Ferreira worked closely with holiday volunteers on city-wide efforts and says she is eternally grateful for everyone’s generosity.

“We could not have done the holiday season support without the volunteers. It was really amazing to see them in action,” she said.

volunteers TTG morning 2015
Volunteers form an assembly line to fill up trucks on the morning of our Thanksgiving-to-Go event

From its inception The Salvation Army has relied heavily on volunteers who support its programs. Often referred to as “the army behind The Army,” volunteers play a crucial role in The Salvation Army’s ability to provide quality social services for the entire community. In 2014 (the most recent numbers available,) more than 14,200 local volunteers logged 120,300 hours “doing the most good” with The Salvation Greater Philadelphia.

Although the busy 2015 holiday season is behind us, Major Ferreira wants the public to know we have a need for volunteers year-round. Now that spring is here, we need assistance with painting rooms, building maintenance and yard work, among other things.

“Sometimes being a volunteer isn’t a glamorous job, but it is very rewarding,” said Major Ferreira.

Thanks to the help from Team Rubicon and the many other volunteers, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia is able to positively impact the lives of thousands of individuals and families each year.

“It’s nice to know our work is going to the local community,” Brandolini said.

For more information on volunteer opportunities with The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia, please contact Major Susan Ferreira, Associate Director of Operations, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia at 215-823-4601 or susan.ferreira@use.salvationarmy.org

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