Known and respected as a true refuge for people in times of need, The Salvation Army has served the Gaston and Lincoln county area since 1921. Just last year, they assisted over 300 families with toys for Christmas and 12,763 people overall — and Major David Phelps and his wife, Major Amber Phelps, are beyond grateful for those who support The Salvation Army.
“Due to your love and generosity, we are able to assist individuals and families across the Carolinas who come to us in need,” he explains. “Whether it be shelter, nourishment, empowering our youth, or spiritual support, The Salvation Army is always there.”
The fall season — especially October — becomes a busy time at The Salvation Army, as Major Amber begins the process of applications for Christmas assistance via an online site, for anyone who is eligible. The Gaston/Lincoln county group also assists seniors during the holiday season (about 60 seniors were served last year) with clothing and household items.
“Our Angel Trees are also set up in Walmart stores across Gaston and Lincoln county for people to purchase new, unwrapped toys that we match with the families that have requested holiday assistance,” says David. “As always, our Red Kettles are manned by both paid employees and volunteers — from the Friday after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, and we have various groups that volunteer by scheduling a time with our administrative assistant, David Hansell.”
But reaching far beyond the holidays, the Center of Hope, located at 107 S. Broad Street in downtown Gastonia, houses an emergency shelter for families, as well as single men and women. A clothing closet is open every Tuesday and Thursday for those who need clothing items, and food is distributed on Tuesday and Thursday via a drive-thru food pantry at the Broad St. location. (Food is distributed to an individual only once a month, and does require a name and address.) For clothing donations, items for all seasons can also be dropped off at the Center of Hope.
David also proudly shares the goals of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs — also a trusted resource in the community.
“Our Boys & Girls Club has a two-fold approach to help youth achieve academically, and to give them tools from a Christian worldview to help them today, and in the future,” he explains. “The Salvation Army is an international movement and is part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible, our ministry is motivated by the love of God, and the mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, while meeting human needs in His name, without discrimination.”
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Lowell offers a safe place to learn and grow into productive citizens through character and leadership development, education, career development, health and life skills, sports, fitness, and a spiritual foundation.
Major David Phelps was commissioned and ordained as a Salvation Army officer in 2001, and his wife, Amber, was commissioned and ordained in 2002. Both are thankful for the generosity that makes their programs and services even possible, and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in countless lives throughout Gaston and Lincoln county.
When donating to The Salvation Army, remember your gift serves people in your community. Donations can be accepted online at SalvationArmyGastonLincoln.org, or by mail to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 11209, Charlotte, NC 28220. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, call 704-867-6145. The Boys & Girls Club is located at 715 N. Main Street, Lowell, NC, 704-824-4773.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7