In Every Language, Love Speaks Volumes

Sep 6, 2022 | by Southern New England Division

When Majors Gilbert and BethEllen Parkhurst took command of The Salvation Army in Danbury, CT, they recognized the deep void the pandemic created in their volunteer base. The Danbury Salvation Army is a melting pot of diversity and cultures that serves a predominantly Latino Brazilian community. Hoping to rebuild their volunteer program, they began with prayer; one of their most significant prayer requests was for volunteers who could speak both English and Spanish.

Shortly after, Luciana walked in to inquire about volunteering and mentioned she spoke Spanish and Portuguese. Like many of our volunteers, Luciana works during the day and keeps a busy schedule cleaning houses but stops in between jobs to help in any way she can. She began volunteering with our breadline, a program that distributes donations from local grocery stores to struggling families in the community. During the Christmas season, Luciana helped us pack toys for the children of families that have applied for some extra help with food and gifts.

Her most significant impact has been on the seniors in our Senior Angel Tree program. This seasonal program provides simple Christmas presents like a pillow, blanket, and other gifts, including clothes and coats, to seniors on tight incomes and, typically, limited mobility. Though Christmas had come and gone, the pandemic continued to take its toll on seniors still isolated in their homes and shut out from visits from family and friends. We tasked Luciana to reach out to check in on them whenever she stopped in to help. Little did we know what hearing a friendly voice speaking their language meant to them. Not only were our senior friends appreciative to hear from The Salvation Army, but the calls broke down barriers to many of these seniors getting necessary services. Several seniors expressed their need for food. We provided food for two seniors the very next day and several the following week. These grateful seniors said it was nice to hear a caring voice offer assistance just when they needed it.

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