Salvation Army is London’s Good Samaritan of hope

by The Salvation Army in Canada

By Sean Meyer, London Community News

Rex Murphy, CBC radio personality, commentator and author, has spoken on behalf of the Salvation Army on many occasions, perhaps because his mother gave him the green light to do so.

Murphy served as the keynote speaker at the third annual Salvation Army Hope in the City breakfast, held Nov. 14, at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn. Speaking before about 275 people, Murphy was both poignant and charming — not to mention at times hilarious — in his commentary, much of which focused on the Salvation Army’s place in Canadian society.

Speaking before about 275 people, Murphy was both poignant and charming — not to mention at times hilarious — in his commentary, much of which focused on the Salvation Army’s place in Canadian society.

His support for the Salvation Army most simply explained by Murphy’s sharing of not his own feelings, but rather those of his mother.

“My mother, 50 years ago,  spoke of the Salvation Army; they are good people she said. In Newfoundland, that is as high as you can get,” Murphy said. “Among the many charities I see, this one keeps its innocence, it doesn’t clamor for the wrong kind of publicity, it does things quietly and modesty in keeping with actual ideals of charity.”

Murphy also spoke of Corp. Nathan Cirillo who was standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last month when he was murdered by the Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau last month.

In referring to the tragedy, Murphy applauded the efforts of the small group “four or five Ottawa citizens,” who rushed to Cirillo’s aid after the shooting, despite not knowing the facts of the situation.

In their heroic action that day, Murphy said he saw, “the 21st century re-enlivening” of perhaps one of the most classic parables of the New Testament, the Good Samaritan.

“The Salvation Army is the embodiment, is the reincarnation of the impulse to offer help, to offer it to those in the distress that plays out in human life,” Murphy said. “Charity is the impulse of the heart to help those in need.”

Many during the breakfast reflected that message.

Murray Faulkner, the 2014 Christmas Kettle Champion, said hope is indeed the message of the breakfast.

Although London has been through “some rough Christmases” in recent years, Faulkner said he believes the city has turned the corner.

However, while things are getting better there remain “a huge number of individuals” in the community who need help.

“When bad things happen to people, and bad things can happen to anybody in any social-economic classification, the Salvation Army is there ready and able to help them,” Faulkner said.

One way the Salvation Army is supported in its ongoing efforts is through the annual Christmas kettle campaign.

As champion, Faulkner said he believes the $475,000 goal — the same as last year — is achievable due to the ongoing support of the community.

In an effort to reach the fiscal finish line for the campaign, Faulkner said he is trying to promote an idea he calls $5 Fridays. The idea came to him after looking at the census numbers that showed there are 248,000 people in the London area that are employed.

If that number is cut in half to 137,000 people, and if everyone gave $5, the goal resulting $685,000 would blow away the campaign goal.

“The Salvation Army does not put kettles out on Sundays. It is only four weeks long, which is a very short campaign to raises that amount of money,” Faulkner said. “But I have a lot of confidence in the citizens of London. Whenever they are asked, they come through.”

It is that sentiment that gives Perron Goodyear, public relations and development representative for the Salvation Army, the faith that the message of providing hope is striking a cord with people.

Goodyear said while a human can live a certain amount of time without food, so long without water, they would survive “little time without hope.”

The message of hope, Goodyear said, can be found in statistics.

Goodyear quoted statistics that say 1-in-11 people in Canada are living in poverty. The “flip side,” of that, he added, is that 10-in-11 people can do something about that.

“We have to look at how we can do things differently, what we need to do to put an end to poverty,” Goodyear said. “There is a growing gap between the haves and have-nots. When we can send a man to the moon, why are we still sending children to school hungry?”