Men's Breakfast Report, October 2008

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, November 8th with Meagan Heronemus, Salvation Army Lieutenant in charge of the local Salvation Army.  Meagan is a daughter of Salvation Army officers and moved around a great deal when growing up.  As a teenager she decided that she would not become a Salvation Army officer and joined the Navy after high school.  The Navy turned out to be a poor choice and she returned home.  She then decided to become a Salvation Army officer.  She married a fellow classmate from the Army school and she has two small daughters.  She and her husband were assigned to the Freeport mission this year. Her husband has had some mental health problems and has left, so Meagan is now in charge of the mission.  The regional office has assigned an experienced captain to help her through this difficulty. 

Meagan has been working especially with the Angel Tree program.  This program provides Christmas gifts to children whose parents can not afford to provide them with gifts.  Paper angels are placed on Christmas trees for donors to take and buy gifts.  Each angel has the name and sex of a child and a need and a desired gift on it for the donor to buy.  The gifts should be unwrapped so they can be checked for appropriateness.  .The Army uses its funds to provide gifts for angels that were not returned or not taken. 

Bell ringing at the kettles is a major fund raiser for the Army.  Brazosport is almost unique in that the bell ringers are all volunteers.  In most cities, the bell ringers are minimum wage temporary employees.  This means that the quality of the employees is generally poor and that precautions have to be taken to prevent theft by the employees.  This is the reason that the kettles have the small openings that local people dislike.  The origin of the local volunteer bell ringers was described by Glen Heath.  Years ago, the local Salvation Army board found that they were doing very little.  They decided, as an act of humility, to man the kettles.  It turned out that the bell ringers, instead of being looked down upon, were supported by their friends and neighbors.  Now bell ringing is considered to be a civic and religious responsibility and many churches and organizations participate. 

Many churches send applicants for aid to the Salvation Army.  The Army has the personnel and experience to separate the truly needy from the con artists.  The local mission has a social worker to do this screening.  Since the churches are passing their responsibility to the Army, the churches need to make contributions to the Army.  Some churches such as ours do, but may do not.  There was discussion about how to increase contributions from the churches.  Men present from other churches agreed to present the need to their churches.  It was suggested that letters should be sent to the other churches.  There was also discussion about getting help from the Catholic Church.  The DeMolay society is their charitable arm and might be able to help more. 

The Army has just closed its services for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  The few remaining cases from these hurricanes have more long-term problems than disaster problems.  This is just in time for taking care of Hurricane Ike victims.  The Army is working on disaster assistance for Ike.  The worst problems are in Galveston with local damages much smaller. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  All men are invited to the next breakfast on December 13.