Local Individuals, Companies and Organizations are asked to Support this Critical Effort

AUSTIN, TX (May 11, 2016) – More than 125 local children ages 5 through 16 who are experiencing homelessness or poverty will attend summer camps starting in June. Many of these children are living in Salvation Army Austin emergency shelters, and some are living at home but because of financial constraints would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend summer camp like other children. Camp is important for every child, but it is especially important for children who are facing great hardships. The Salvation Army is inviting individuals, companies, churches and organizations to help raise the funds needed to make summer camp a reality for all of these children.

Summer camp provides stability and structure in the midst of chaotic times for children. Activities include team building, swimming lessons, exploring the great outdoors, playing sports and games, studying nature and wildlife, talent shows, faith-building lessons and much more. Day camps for children living in shelter, and overnight camps for children from The Salvation Army service center run from June 13 through mid-August.

young boy happy at camp

“Sending all of our children to camp is a monumental and critical undertaking,” says Stacy Schwarz, Assistant Social Services Director. “Without camp, they will have nowhere to go during the summer, and their moms won’t be able to go to work. Then if their moms can’t work, the families will not have the income to get housing and end the cycle of homelessness.”

In addition to providing wholesome and nurturing activities, sending these children to camp allows their parents to continue to work to provide for the family. While parents are working, going to school and taking necessary steps toward self-sufficiency and stability, they have the confidence of knowing that their children are being well cared for through meaningful and fun camping experiences.

One local donor, Anita Rodriguez, shares how attending Salvation Army camp many years ago with her brothers had a lasting impression on her. While her father was quite ill and often hospitalized, and her mother worked to support the family, she and her brothers were given the gift of Salvation Army camp. She donates regularly to The Salvation Army today because she wants to give other children the great experiences she had. Read her story and see pictures from her camp days, including a camp letter she sent to her mom and dad here: http://bit.ly/AnitasCampStory.

The community is invited help in the following ways:
· Donate online at http://bit.ly/DonateCamp2016.
· Text the word “LOCAL” to 91999 to make a donation of any amount.
· Donate by mail, and mark your check “Summer Camp”. Mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1000, Austin, TX, 78767.
· Purchase camp supplies and donate them at any of the four Austin area Salvation Army Family Stores. Get details here: http://bit.ly/CampForKids.

In addition to paying for camp registration, staffing and transportation, the funds will go to purchase basic supplies such as swimsuits, shorts, sunscreen, flashlights and all the small items children need to attend camp since these children may not have much more than the clothes on their backs. To learn more about the camp drive, visit http://bit.ly/CampForKids. The deadline for donations is June 15.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 127 years in the Austin area. Locally tens of thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson Counties. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org.