Averaging 70 years old, the ladies of the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary are active members of the service club who aren’t there just to socialize.
This year, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) is celebrating 50 years. It started April 29, 1968, with then-Captains Howard and Pearl Palomaki, Ada Eagler, Georgia Kaufman and E. Mazie Alexander.
They had their charter meeting June 3, 1968, at Westminster Hotel in Winona Lake. Charter members included Kaufman, Cora Kile, Lois Dalton, Maureen Hall, Adaline Hall, Pat McKelvey, Mary Edith Funk and Alexander. Alexander died March 28, 2017, and was the last of the founding members.
This year about 70 women are involved.
“The Women’s Auxiliary, here and throughout the U.S., and many other places, helps the local Salvation Army with different areas financially,” said Salvation Army Corps Major Trish Welch. “They do some fundraising so we can do some more programs or do programs better.”
Two programs SAWA supports are school shoes and work clothes and shoes.
“If a person gets hired on a new job and needs clothing, they come in here and ask, and we are able to do that. We would not be able to do without those kinds of funds,” Welch said, adding the Salvation Army provides any clothing needed for a job, from a tie to steel-toed shoes.
“Each year, the ladies decide how much money they’re going to be able to supply for these different programs. Some of them are working with the children on Tuesday nights with character-building programs, and some of them involve hygiene items to go into the pantry. They have helped with the toy shop or the Christmas giveaway each year. Right now we are doing the Angel Tree program and they help to set that up every year,” Welch said.
With the Angel Tree program, she said the SAWA doesn’t “help with the buying of the items, they help with the handing out of those items. So they’re not only about helping with funds, they’re about volunteering their time.”
According to the SAWA budget, youth programs receive $6,500; school shoes, $6,000; work clothes and shoes, $8,000; teen gift cards, $3,000;
Pathway of Hope, $4,000; hygiene, $4,000; and Baskets of Hope, $200, for a total of $31,700.
“For a small band of women, we give this every year, so it does make a little impact. That little wedge of the community is answered by these women coming in. I would say the average age of these women is probably about (70). So it’s an older group of incredibly giving women,” Auxiliary President Teri Jarrette said.“Yes,” agreed Welch. “Not only of their funds, but also their time. Their time is the biggest thing.”
Soup & Pie Luncheon & Nuts
Jarrette said the women help in the pantry, have their own food drives for the pantry, help with kids’ clubs, have their annual nut sale during the holidays, and the Soup & Pie Luncheon and Bake Sale in the spring.
The luncheon this year is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 18 at Center Lake Pavilion. Tickets are $6, including a selection of soup and pie. Sandwiches are extra. Soups include broccoli cheese, chicken noodle, chili, potato and vegetable beef.
Welch said the SAWA will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the community during the luncheon.
“With the fruit and nut sale, they spend many hours selling their nuts, and then they make sure that all those funds are able to reach those in the community with their help. They want to give their touch to what they’ve already earned,” Welch said.
Membership & The Future
Any woman can join the Auxiliary. It meets at 9:30 a.m. the fourth Monday of August through May. It also meets four Mondays out of the year in the evening. Member dues are $10 a year. Officer installation happens in May.
Welch said the group’s goals are to “continue helping out those in the community, and looking at different ways we can have an impact on those that are in need.”
Jarrette said the Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program could become a bigger part of the Auxiliary’s efforts.
Pathway of Hope is a nationwide program that allows a family to be identified as wanting to change some aspect of their future, Welch said. “We come along beside them, and we’re there to encourage them, possibly refer them to other agencies, possibly help them out with a specific need and help them to get to the next step so their future is more safe,” she explained.
A person or a family can be in the program for three months or three years. Welch said those in Pathway of Hope for three years aren’t coming in on a monthly basis anymore, but for encouragement or a new need to find out what they can do next to be “a little better off than I was last month.”
Jarrette has high hopes for the next five decades.
“I’m kind of excited to see where we’re going to go because with our new group in the evening, we have garnered younger members … who are starting to see what we do. … They have a nice energy that we’re very excited about,” she said.
For more information about the Salvation Army, visit www.sawarsaw.org; on Facebook @salvationarmywarsaw or Twitter @sawarsaw.