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Beyond the Bells: Luncheon Raises Funds so Salvation Army Can Continue Providing Shelter, Meals

An army of community contributors joined forces to make the Salvation Army Murfreesboro’s Beyond the Bells luncheon possible on May 17. The event raised the much needed revenue that allows the local Salvation Army “to expand its life-changing programs to meet the critical needs of our growing community,” according to promotion released for the event.

The Salvation Army Murfreesboro includes a shelter with four private family rooms and 18 dorm-style men’s beds, and also offers warm meals for those in need as well as a Sunday morning worship service and other Bible, music, recovery and character-building programming throughout the week.

Last year, the local Salvation Army provided 32,000 meals and 8,647 nights of lodging to those in the community and 1,000 volunteers contributed 9,000 volunteer hours to the ministry.

Beyond the Bells Chairperson Bart Walker said the Salvation Army is perhaps the most visible during the winter holidays.

“We see it at Christmastime with the Angel Trees and the bell ringers,” Walker said. “But whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or summer, needs are there all the time.”

Walker said the Salvation Army “gives people new life,” and he challenged all in attendance to give not only during Christmastime, when they see the red kettles and hear the bells outside of area stores, but also during the spring, summer and fall (hence the “Beyond the Bells” theme). Walker asked the crowd at the luncheon to consider supporting the Salvation Army, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it could very well be their families who may need the service one day.

“People fall on hard times,” Walker said. “It could happen to anyone.”

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Kim and Chris were two of those people who fell on hard times. Soon after relocating to the Murfreesboro area, the couple found themselves in a difficult situation, sleeping in their van along with their young children.

“We stayed with family; it didn’t work out,” Chris said. He said he tried to locate work but found himself underemployed.

“I realized I needed help to get my family back in order,” he said.

The family visited the Salvation Army during mealtime one day, and “we just happened to show up on the right day,” Kim said—a room in the shelter was available for them.

“The generosity from the people at the Salvation Army is overwhelming,” the mother said. “Salvation Army changed our lives.”

“The generosity is genuine,” Chris added.

Teresa Bergh said she battled depression, but volunteering with the Salvation Army has helped provide a purpose in her life.

“I’m joyful every day now!” she said at this year’s Beyond the Bells luncheon. “There are wonderful people at the Salvation Army who are there to help.”

Salvation Army Murfreesboro Capt. Joseph Irvin called the organization, simply, “A place for healing.”

The hundreds of attendees at the second annual Beyond the Bells luncheon pledged over $50,000 to the Salvation Army the day of the event.

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If you would like to contribute to the Salvation Army Murfreesboro, simply send a text to the number 41444 that includes the word “beyond,” the amount of your donation and your name (example: Beyond 50 Jerry). Community members can also bring monetary or food donations directly to the Salvation Army Murfreesboro facility at 1137 W. Main St. any time of the year. For more information, visit salvationarmytennessee.org/murfreesboro or call (615) 895-7071.

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About the Author

Bracken, a 2003 graduate of MTSU’s journalism program, is the founder and publisher of The Murfreesboro Pulse. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, graphic artist and business partner, Sarah, and son, Bracken Jr. Bracken enjoys playing the piano, sushi, Tool, football, chess, jogging, spending time in his backyard with his chickens, hippie music, climbing at The Ascent, bowling, swimming, soup, tennis, sunshine, revolution, defiance and anarchy. He can cook a mean grilled cheese, and can fry just about anything.

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