Salvation Army holiday assistance reminds Pakistani family of home

Dec 22, 2022

When Ireen Nadeem moved from Pakistan to the U.S. in 2014 in search of opportunities for her family, The Salvation Army Philadelphia West Corps welcomed them to its church.

Since then, Nadeem’s three children have received toys and clothing from The Salvation Army Philadelphia West Corps every year at Christmastime. She, her husband and children still attend church there regularly, and her husband volunteers by serving food during parties and special occasions.

“The Salvation Army always makes sure my kids have what they need and want,” said Nadeem.

Donations from the local community allow families like Nadeem’s to experience the joy of Christmas in the midst of hardship. Not only that, donations to The Salvation Army’s in-person or virtual Red Kettles during the holiday season help the organization serve families year-round, a mission underscored by The Salvation Army’s 2022 holiday message – Love Beyond Christmas.

Donations to Red Kettles during the holidays make it possible for The Salvation Army Philadelphia West Corps to provide to families the way it does for Nadeem’s. As of Dec. 22, The Salvation Army reported it was down in donations by about 24% across the Greater Philadelphia region.

“You come to know the family, and you see what hardship they’re going through,” said Major Celestin Nkounkou, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army Philadelphia West Corps. “Providing the assistance goes a long way. It’s not all they need, but it does really go a long way.”

Majors Celestin and Stefanie Nkounkou are well attuned to the daily needs of Nadeem’s family. The Salvation Army Philadelphia West Corps provides school supplies for her children during each back-to-school season, as well as diapers, baby food and other essentials for Nadeem’s one-year-old child. Nadeem’s oldest child, 13, receives music lessons from The Salvation Army each week.

“The Salvation Army teaches my son every Wednesday,” she said. “He is in the choir and the band. If he needs a ride, they come to pick him up and drop him off.”

For Major Nkounkou, it’s imperative to not only keep in mind the greater need, but also the needs of families with low income specifically.

“Typically, we’ll see more need with these families – those with fixed income, those who are working but still fall below the poverty line,” he said.

Nadeem extended her gratitude to Majors Celestin and Stefanie for their dedication and spirit of giving to her family and to the West Philadelphia community.

“They are so humble, she said. “I just don’t have the words. They care so much about the community. We belong to Pakistan, but we feel like we're home when we go to The Salvation Army.”

To help The Salvation Army in Greater Philadelphia Ring in Christmas and Love Beyond Christmas for those in need, donate by visiting its Virtual Red Kettle.

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