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The Salvation Army of Northeast Ohio Christmas Stories

Christmas stories

The Salvation Army Of Greater Cleveland

Doing The Most Good, All The Time

The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland is here to help all the time, good or bad. We strive to help those who need a lot of hjelp, to those who just need a little push. During this holiday season, we would like to share with you stories from real people who have recieved real help from The Salvation Army.

Santa in a . . . Salvation Army Van?

Christmas story 1Sometimes Santa leaves his sleigh and makes his rounds in a Salvation Army van instead.

At least that’s what happened for a single mom and her two young sons last Christmas. After Carolyn’s husband died unexpectedly, she was left alone with 7-year-old Jeffrey and 4-year-old Jackson. They had to move in with friends after Carolyn struggled to find a job and fell behind on rent.

Carolyn was too embarrassed to ask for help. But a concerned neighbor wrote an anonymous letter to The Salvation Army, explaining that without their help, the boys would have no Christmas presents. The Army’s local branch immediately launched into action.

The letter didn’t say how old the boys were, so they just rounded up what was available — a small bike, a football, a couple of board games, a remote control truck, and some clothes. When The Salvation Army delivered the items, Carolyn was suspicious, asking, “Who are you?” and “What’s this about?” The Army rep said they simply wanted to help, and then opened the van doors to reveal the toys inside.

Carolyn began to cry, saying she had told her sons that Santa wouldn’t be coming this year. Jackson, the 4-year-old, saw the toys and said, “I told you Santa would still come!”

Once all the gifts were inside their house, Jackson hugged the Army volunteer and said, “Tell Santa I said thank you . . . because I know that you know him.”

Carolyn and her sons thank you, too, for being Santa — and the love of God — for many hurting families at Christmas . . . and all year round.


5 Bags of Groceries = 2 Changed Lives

It was in the midst of the holiday season when the young man walked through The Salvation Army’s doors. He was in his early 20s, but had the weathered look of one much older.

Christmas story 2He said he lived in a lean-to in the woods, and that he didn’t want shelter, just food. We gave him five bags of groceries, and he expressed his thanks as he left.

He came in the very next day and asked if he could help out. He was such an enthusiastic, reliable volunteer that we hired him to ring bells for our kettle campaign. He ended up being our highest earner!

Soon, he was renting a room in town. One particularly frigid night as he was ringing bells, a homeless man approached, asking for help. Our friend led him to the shelter, where he was soon able to get back on his feet. He now has a job and a place to live.

Both young men had seen dramatic change, simply because of five bags of groceries on a cold winter morning — a gift that was only possible because of friends like you.



When My World Fell Apart . . .

My name is Lisa, and I grew up with the Salvation Army youth programs. But after my teen years, I got away from that, and before long, I was a struggling single story 3

My world came apart when my dad died. I fell into a deep depression and closed everyone out — even my kids. I wasn’t being a very good mother during that time.

After a while, I realized I had to pull myself together — for me, and for my children. I want them to have a good future; I want them to say, “Mom did it. She struggled, but she did it, and as a single parent.”

To get back on my feet, I turned to The Salvation Army. They loved us. They provided childcare and meals and shelter. They kept us off the streets.

I recently got licensed as a Certified Nursing Assistant, I now have a car, and we will be in our own place soon. I can now say that I’ve made it! But I couldn’t have done it without the help of The Salvation Army — or without people like you who support them. Thank you so much!



The Blessings of Volunteering

We sing the popular carol “Good King Wenceslas” every Christmas season, but rarely do we take a moment to consider its meaning. Especially the line about a poor man “gath’ring winter fuel,” prompting the good king to ask his page, “Yonder peasant, who is he?”

The king decides he’s going to take care of this homeless man, and travels through wind and snow and bitter cold to find him, determined to give him food, warmth, and shelter.

christmas story 4This is the message of Christmas! And it is clearly the beat of your heart, made obvious by your compassion and care for the homeless and hungry. Thank you for sharing the joy of the season with struggling neighbors in desperate need of hope.

That popular carol ends with these two lines:

Ye who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing

For many, you are like Good King Wenceslas, reaching out — through the wind, snow, and cold — with love and kindness by supporting The Salvation Army.

We’d like to invite you to continue your support during the holidays by volunteering. It’ll be a blessing to us and to yourself—but especially to those on the streets. It’s an especially busy time, and we could use your help—whether it’s 30 minutes a month or three days a week.

Whatever your background, skills, or availability, you can help those we serve. Please call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or signup here to volunteer today.