The Salvation Army’s operations and ministry in Tupelo have fallen on hard times because money is short – income’s down in a reeling economy and demand is soaring for its diverse services to the homeless, hungry and others.
Tupelo historically has been generous in support of charitable service providers, in significant measure because it was the recipient of large-scale assistance from many generous people and agencies after the deadly and devastating tornado of 1936.
The Salvation Army in Tupelo, in fact, was formed after the late Jim Ingram, a Tupelo bank chairman and National Guard general, served on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Camille in 1969. He and others saw the response of the Salvation Army to thousands of people who were homeless and hungry – its staff and volunteers, made up of people from many different churches and faith streams, working hand in hand and side by side to help anyone in need.
The passion brought back to Tupelo by Ingram and others led to the formation of a Salvation Army ministry, including the church that exemplifies the core beliefs and calling of all Salvation Army adherents.
It is a Christian ministry, and in its actions follows the path so specifically defined by Jesus in the stories and narrative of the New Testament.
This year, the Army’s Tupelo ministry faces a shortfall so far of about $60,000 to $80,000 in income. That means it faces cuts in staff or services, or both, which would create a domino effect of services for the poor and others in need falling more heavily on some other agencies, which also may be feeling the pinch.
Few if any other agencies are well-positioned by history and knowledge to help temporarily with the basic physical, emotional and spiritual necessities of the least fortunate among us.
The Salvation Army’s history is instructive.
The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and took his passion into the streets.
Booth understood that the poor did not feel comfortable or welcome in the pews of Victorian England.
There was nothing glamorous or fashionable or even high-profile in that ministry then, or now.
But it was effective, and remains so.
In our celebrity-obsessed culture, ministries that divest themselves of ego and work without highly paid executives tend to get lost in the crowd. It falls to people who don’t care about recognition to keep the Army’s work for the “least of these” in business.
Call (662) 842-9222 to offer help to the Salvation Army.
NEMS Daily Journal