Little Rock, AR (April 3, 2023) Volunteers have always been referred to as the backbone of The Salvation Army, playing a vital role in its activities, particularly during calamities. Recently, two sisters, Doris Gleason, and Charlotte Cates, who were en route to attend a surprise 80th birthday celebration of a childhood friend, were approached by the Disaster Resource Manager from The Salvation Army's Area Command in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to lend a helping hand in responding to the tornadoes that hit Arkansas the previous Friday. Despite being so close to their destination, they instantly agreed and began to make alternate arrangements.
Although they had planned only an overnight stay, they called Charlotte's daughter in Benton AR to borrow a pair of jeans and tennis shoes. Doris, with a spirit of service, remarked, "I can wear a pair of pants for 10 days if it means serving others!" Their plan was to collect items for a garage sale on their way back home.
Both sisters come from a religious background and are steadfast in their faith. According to Doris, "The greatest gift was to give back instead of going to the party." They consider it an honor to volunteer and work in the mission field.
Upon reaching the base command in Little Rock, they were assigned to serve 300 meals from a canteen that was serving first responders and survivors of the storms. Charlotte and Doris now serve on a roaming rapid response unit to ensure that residents and responders are being provided the food, hydration and emotional care that is critical to those who have been affected by the devastation that these storms left behind.
Charlotte had always dreamt of being a volunteer since she was a young girl, and as she puts it, "it's like a bucket list item - a dream from childhood come true." Doris, on the other hand, began volunteering twenty years ago in Yuma, Arizona, with The Salvation Army. Charlotte has been volunteering for four years, and both sisters assist with the Angel Tree each year, serve at the Veteran's Coffee Bunker, and Doris even dresses up as "Big Red" (a Shield costume) for special occasions, feeling it is her calling to volunteer.
Charlotte remarked that "this work is very, very rewarding. When you help others, it reminds you of how truly blessed you are."
Financial donations can be made at www.helpsalvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY to support response efforts. The Salvation Army is encouraging monetary donations in lieu of in-kind donations currently. For the latest Salvation Army disaster information please go
to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. Future updates can be found on our social media pages www.facebook.com/SalArmyAOK and www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOKEDS.