A century of caring

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 05:50 AM

“Soup, soap and salvation.”
This was an early motto of the Salvation Army. Years later, it’s doling out these three things and more.
The Salvation Army of High Point, a charitable Christian organization, celebrated its 100th anniversary Monday at Centennial Station.
To commemorate the occasion, volunteers and supporters of the organization gathered for a luncheon with special guests including U.S. Congressman Howard Coble and Commissioner David Jeffrey, Southern Territorial Commander for the Salvation Army.
“The High Point Corps is legendary in the history of the Salvation Army,” said Jeffrey, the keynote speaker. “Others open and close, but High Point has a steady history.”
The branch has not once closed in its century-long history, said Maj. James Rickard, who has led High Point’s organization for a year.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said of hitting the milestone. “It’s so wonderful that the people of High Point have supported this Salvation Army for 100 years.”
Rickard stressed that the goal of the organization is give a hand up, not a handout, for people who need help getting back on their feet.
Those who the organization benefits, young and old, joined in the celebration. Residents of the William Booth Garden Apartments for seniors performed hand bells, while children from the Boys & Girls Club sang “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture.
“I like singing and want to sing about God,” said Naddy Alston, a rising fourth-grader at Allen Jay who had never performed before.
Volunteer Joshua Smith, a rising freshman at Guilford Early College, told the kids they didn’t just do a good job, but a great job.
“We wanted to help be a part of the celebration of 100 years,” he said. “And they did awesome.”
The Boys & Girls Club, one of the Salvation Army’s main programs, strives to be a second home and a safe place for youth to study and play.
“I love getting to have fun with my friends and learning with the staff,” said Jomeik Whitehead, a rising fourth-grader at Allen Jay.
The organization also received outside praise.
“Oftentimes I hear people complaining about charitable institutions,” Coble said. “Many times they’ll say, ‘Well, I’m not giving to that charity because you never know who’s getting the money.’ I’ve never heard that complaint directed at the Salvation Army.”
Rickard said that vote of confidence is important to the organization.
“We try to be people of the Word,” he said, referring to the Christian faith, “but also people of our word.”

Historical highlights: The Salvation Army of High Point
1860s: William Booth, an English minister who preached to the poor, founds a denomination that would become today’s charitable organization. His followers, many of them society’s outcasts, dub him “General Booth.”
1880: The Salvation Army expands into the United States.
1912: Booth dies. It had been predicted that the organization would not survive many years beyond his death.
1913: The City of High Point extends an invitation for the Salvation Army to come to High Point. The first meeting is held in the Pickett Building on N. Main Street.
1937: After moving locations several times and raising $40,000 to build a structure, complete with swimming pool, on S. Main Street, the organization gives the Boys Club its own adjoining building.
1968: A fire destroys much of these buildings.
1976: Thanks to a capital campaign started by well-known High Point residents Fred Alexander, Harold Amos and Bill McGuinn, the organization dedicates its current building at 121 SW Cloverleaf Place off I-85.
1992: The Women’s Auxiliary begins supplying volunteers and raising funds for the Salvation Army of High Point.
2003: The William Booth Garden Apartments for seniors is dedicated.