Doing the Most Good Luncheon 2014 Raises More than $165,000 in 125th Anniversary Year

Doing the Most Good Luncheon Banner

Left to Right: Lt. Col. Henry Gonzalez, Cory Morrow, Lee Ann Womack, Lt. Col. Dorris Gonzalez, Bob Cole.

Click Here for Details of the 2015 Doing the Most Good Luncheon

Emcee Bob Cole and Performer Lee Ann Womack Lead Crowd in Supporting Neediest in Area

AUSTIN, TX (April 28, 2014) – From the crisp and genuine opening by Texas Hall of Fame’s Bob Cole to the final number by Grammy award-winning performer, Lee Ann Womack – who left the crowd wanting more – The Salvation Army Doing the Most Good Luncheon, underwritten by the Cain Foundation, exceeded expectations. More than 430 supporters filled the Hyatt Regency ballroom, enjoyed music from The Salvation Army band and raised more than $165,000 to support programs that provide basic needs services in Travis and Williamson Counties.

As celebrity emcee Bob Cole, who has served on The Salvation Army Advisory Board, talked about the great needs in the community, he also announced that he and KOKE FM have signed on for a multi-year partnership with The Salvation Army. Highlighting the high demand for services and the reality that donations raised locally support local needs, Cole noted that there were 322 women and children on the call-back list for shelter at the time of the luncheon, underscoring the growing need for funding and support from the Austin area community.

“We are honored to have the generous support of many leaders in the Austin metropolitan area,” reflected Lt. Colonel Henry Gonzalez, The Salvation Army Austin Area Commander. “For 125 years we have been meeting human needs in the Austin area through the generosity of our local supporters. This support is helping us build a foundation for the future as we work hard to keep up with the growing needs of the most vulnerable people in Travis and Williamson Counties.”

Lee Ann Womack’s performance delighted the guests, as many people had come specifically to hear her perform songs such as her signature, “I Hope You Dance”. Those at the Meet and Greet prior to the luncheon were also able to snap a keepsake photo with her.
(See all photos here: )

The lunch crowd enjoyed two videos which illustrated the scope and the impact of The Salvation Army in Travis and Williamson Counties, one showing twelve locations across two counties where The Salvation Army serves, including the free Adult Rehabilitation Center and the four Family Stores that support it. The other video showed compelling stories of three clients at the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, including two mothers and one retired school teacher.

Featured in the second video, and also in attendance and introduced to applause at the luncheon, was Zulema Rendon, a mother whose experience in an abusive relationship led her and her nine year old daughter to be homeless. In the video, Zulema explained how she didn’t know where to turn. When her frightened daughter asked her what they were going to do, Zulema told her, “We’re going to be all right. We’ll sleep in our truck in the Walmart parking lot if we have to.”

Zulema and her daughter were residents of the Austin Shelter for Women and Children for four months last year. There, she received counseling, food, shelter, and supportive services until she was able to happily move into her own apartment. The Salvation Army case workers continued to work with her until she could be completely self-sufficient. Zulema says, “It made a new me, because before I was very timid; I was very scared. I wasn’t even planning for the future. But the help of The Salvation Army has turned me back into the parent that I need to be.”

Today, Zulema is supporting herself and her daughter, working, going to college and has set her goals on becoming a social worker to give back to others in need.

You can support the work of The Salvation Army in Travis and Williamson Counties by making a donation or by volunteering. Please visit, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or mail your donation to PO Box 1000, Austin, Texas 78767.



Help Arkansas Tornado Victims 2014 Square

The Salvation Army of Arkansas-Oklahoma Ready for Tornado Response

The Salvation Army of Arkansas-Oklahoma Ready for Tornado Response 2014

Click Here to Donate

April 27, 2014 – Oklahoma City, OK – Even as storms continue to hammer the region, The Salvation Army is in contact with Emergency Managers across Arkansas and is in contact with the State Emergency Operations Center. The Arkansas-Oklahoma (AOK) Division has placed disaster response teams and mobile feeding units (canteens) across the division on stand-by for the next 48 hours.

Multiple locations in Arkansas have sustained damage due to high winds, tornadoes, and hail which began a little after 4 PM Central Time this afternoon. It is the beginning of a very active 24 – 48 hours for much of Arkansas. Major Roger Glick, Central Arkansas Area Commander and Captain David Robinson, Conway Commanding Officer, are in touch with officials and preparing response plans.

Additionally, Quapaw, Oklahoma sustained storm damage earlier today. Salvation Army staff is evaluating the situation at this time.

Tornado warnings are currently underway in several counties in Arkansas. The Salvation Army will be prepared to provide care and compassion to those affected by storms as well as provide food and hydration. Please pray for all of those affected by storms today across multiple states in the Central United States.
Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized.

  • Donors are encouraged to give online at or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
  • You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”*
  • Donations in the form of checks designated to Oklahoma Tornado Relief may also be mailed to:
  • The Salvation Army
    PO Box 738
    North Little Rock, AR 72115-0738

*Text STOP to 80888 to stop; Text HELP to 80888 for help.

Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Please follow us at,,, for additional information.

Contact: Cindy Fuller,

Mobile: 405.830.6549


Office: 405.254.1156


*A one time donation of ($10) will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Message & Data Rates May Apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and TMobile. By participating you certify that you agree to the terms and conditions, that you are 18 yrs or older, or have parental permission, and have authorization from the account holder. Donations are collected for the benefit of The Salvation Army by the Innovative Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at Privacy policy: Text STOP to (80888) to stop; Text HELP to (80888) for help.

Reposted from

2014 Doing the Most Good Luncheon Seeks to Raise $100,000 for Local Programs


Click Here for Details on the 2015 Doing the Most Good Luncheon




Contact:  Jan Gunter, Communications Director, m: 512-944-0572;

Features Grammy Award-Winning Artist, LeeAnn Womack; With Celebrity Emcee, Bob Cole

Click HERE to see event page and to purchase tickets.

Who:    The Salvation Army, Austin Area Command, serving Travis and Williamson Counties
Bob Cole, local radio legend, as celebrity emcee
LeeAnn Womack performs – Grammy award-winning vocalist; 6-time County Music Association Award winner; known for the 6-week #1 hit, “I Hope You Dance”.


  • Celebrating 125 years of The Salvation Army in Austin
  • VIP Meet and Greet with LeeAnn Womack and Bob Cole
  • Program includes two short (2-4 minute) videos showing the local work of The Salvation Army
  • The luncheon is fully underwritten, so all proceeds stay local to benefit:
  • Those experiencing homelessness – 66% of all those we served last year were women and children
  • Local disaster relief
  • Youth programs – character-building and music education
  • Newly opened Williamson County Service Center – rent, utilities and housing assistance plus a food pantry and clothing closet


Where: Hyatt Regency, Austin

When: Friday, April 25, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
VIP Meet and Greet – 10:45 am

Why: The demand for our services is high; we are working to fill the funding gap: the call back list for families to get into our shelters is 322 this week – all of these are women and children desperately seeking shelter and support to improve their employment and housing situations


  • LeeAnn Womack Performing
  • Bob Cole serving as emcee
  • The Salvation Army Band in performing in uniform
  • Area Commanders, Lt. Col. Henry and Dorris Gonzalez – 46 year of service in The Salvation Army



Bethany Camp, Lt. Col. Dorris Gonzalez and Kathy Ridings from Austin accept National Social Services Award

The Austin Shelter for Women and Children Wins National Award

Bethany Camp, Lt. Col. Dorris Gonzalez and Kathy Ridings from Austin accept National Social Services Award

Pictured left to right, Major Darryl Leedum, Kathy Ridings, Kim Ogilvie, Lt. Col. Dorris Gonzalez, Bethany Camp, Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey, and Major Bruce Smith.


The Austin Shelter for Women and Children, a city-funded facility owned by Travis County and operated by The Salvation Army, was honored to receive The Salvation Army Social Services Award for Program Excellence and Achievement at the recent 2014 National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference of The Salvation Army in Orlando, FL, March 26.

This award recognizes from each territory of The Salvation Army a social service program that has performed exceptionally, proved effective, achieved excellence, and models The Salvation Army’s Social Service Ministry. In addition, the award came with a $5,000 gift to the program!

“These awards are presented every three years at the National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference,” explained Major Darryl Leedom, National Social Services Secretary of The Salvation Army. “To be nominated is an honor; to receive the award, inspirational.”

We are incredibly proud of this amazing program that is a place of safety and hope for our clients. At the shelter we not only provide for the basic needs of the women and children who come to us, but we also provide case management, individual and group therapy, child care and other supportive wraparound services. We work to ensure that these women – whether they are 21 or 65 – can take the steps they need to move on from shelter into their own housing and improved employment.

Accepting the award from the National Commander at the conference was Bethany Camp (center), Child and Family Therapist for the ASWC; Lt. Colonel Dorris Gonzalez (fourth from left), Austin Associate Area Commander; and Kathy Ridings (second from left), Director of Social Services for the Austin Area Command. (Watch for a follow-up blog post about the award given to Kathy Ridings at this same conference).

Click here to see a short video about our services to women and children in Travis and Williamson Counties.

Consider these statistics:

  • In 2013, The Salvation Army in Austin sheltered 4,688 persons.
  • 66% of these sheltered persons were women and children. 
  • The Salvation Army is the primary provider of shelter and basic needs services for women and children who are experiencing homelessness in the Austin area.
  • Of the 1,022 case managed persons who exited our shelters, 826 of them – 81% – exited to safe housing.
  • Of the 524 participants in our employments services program, 442 of these improved their employments status – that’s 84%.


Volunteer of the Month

Emergency Exercise Disaster Drill Mock Plane Crash with Randy O'Dell

Emergency Exercise Disaster Drill Mock Plane Crash with Randy O’Dell

We are proud to announce our Volunteer of the Month, Randy O’Dell. Several years ago, Randy was interested in becoming a part of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Relief Services in Williamson County. He was ready for action from the very beginning by recruiting and training 45 volunteers and started using a canteen for local emergency calls.

We met the quota and became the first ever volunteer group to run a Salvation Army canteen in Texas history. This took about three weeks to get off the ground and Emergency Disaster Services came in and trained 36 of us with in the first month of service. – Randy O’Dell

Randy has gone above and beyond the call of duty since he began his services with The Salvation Army three years ago. He has responded to many disasters to include Onion Creek flooding, the explosion in West, the Eagle Pass Flood, four local Williamson County calls, and four disaster drills. Randy says “Its a blessing each time I respond.”

Randy has a passion for being a part of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services in Williamson County.  Randy says “I love it and I have a great team!”

He is licensed and trained in FEMA NIMS National classes: 100,200,300,400,700,800, CISM, CERT trained plus Salvation Army courses. Randy’s newest project is to work with the Austin Area Command to help create an active disaster services volunteer base in Travis County as well. We are recruiting volunteers and looking for the next leader like Randy to emerge in Travis County.

Thank you Randy for all the hard work you do for The Salvation Army and helping victims of a natural disaster. Thank you for being a model of servanthood as you lead this great team of volunteers ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

Volunteers line up to get fajitas from The Salvation Army canteen

The Salvation Army Participates in Disaster Drill

Volunteers line up to get fajitas from The Salvation Army canteen

The Salvation Army disaster services canteen served a fajita lunch to 200 volunteers and first responders at the mock plane crash emergency disaster drill at Austin Bergstrom International Airport today. Many local agencies were represented, including City, County and regional response teams and volunteers. Exercises like this are so important because they allow The Salvation Army to work together with local agencies to respond well when the unthinkable happens.

This canteen (mobile kitchen) is the only fully volunteer led and run Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services canteen in the State of Texas. This crew of volunteers is ready to respond on a moment’s notice and has been active on the scene of a number of disasters in Texas in the last few years.

Thanks to the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC) for inviting us to participate.

The mock plane crash

The Salvation Army Volunteers cooked in our mobile canteen







You can view all of our photos in our Facebook photo album here: Also, you can click here to watch this black hawk helicopter land as part of the disaster exercise.



Participating in ABIA Emergency Exercise


Tomorrow, April 2, the Williamson County Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) canteen (mobile food kitchen) will be participating in the full-scale emergency exercise at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The ABIA emergency exercise will be a mock plane crash.

Our volunteers will be providing hydration and lunch to about 200 volunteers and first responders.

We are honored to be a part of this exercise which helps our region be prepared for real disasters. Not only that, but by participating in an exercise like this, our Salvation Army EDS volunteers stay sharp and engaged so they are ready to respond when the real call comes in.

We will be recruiting new EDS volunteers soon in both Williamson and Travis Counties – and we will keep you updated as this recruitment takes shape.