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: http://bit.ly/DTMGPhotos )
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 SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or mail your donation to PO Box 1000, Austin, Texas 78767.