Doing the Most Good: Keeping Women Safe From Predators
Women and children are the fastest growing groups of homeless citizens in the United States. *
Many of these are single-parent families, headed by the mother. These women have been victims of poverty, violence, abuse, divorce, and lack of affordable housing.
In more recent days, they are subjected to sexual harassment within their own homes. Women who are barely scraping by or leaving domestic violence are seen as “easy targets,” especially women who cannot speak English and who are undocumented. (BBC)
Captain Christine Kim of The Salvation Army reports that these families even live in cars for a time. Mothers with children have a very difficult time breaking the cycle of poverty they’ve fallen prey to. They must provide a home, childcare, food, healthcare and work at the same time.
Census Bureau information (2015) shows that “effective anti-poverty programs….lift millions out of poverty.”
Historically, churches led the battle against poverty, helping those in need within their own communities. The Salvation Army, a Protestant denomination, assists homeless women and children on the Treasure Coast. Their shelter, Compassion House, in Stuart, Florida is one of very few shelters in a tri-county area (Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee) keeping them safe from predators.
The Salvation Army on the Treasure Coast falls under the leadership of Pastor/Captain Samuel Kim and his co-Pastor and wife, Captain Christine Kim.
Pastor Samuel served in the South Korean Army where military service is a requirement for all males. He is a graduate of Korea Baptist University/Seminary (M. Div).
Pastor Christine has a B.A. in Social Welfare from Korea Baptist University and worked in her home country as a social worker. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University.
While studying in South Korea, the Kims worked and saved to open their own church in Seoul. But God had other plans--that they go to the United States for more education. They arrived at Lynchburg, Virginia in 2001 on Christmas. Pastor Samuel received a Master’s in Theology from Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary.
The husband-wife team began working with The Salvation Army 15 years ago in Alexandria, Virginia, after finding that the denomination filled their desires to both help people with their physical needs and also share the Gospel. Both types of work are extremely important to the Kims.
Each weekend the Kim family drove to The Salvation Army Church in the Washington DC area (a four-hour commute) where Pastor Samuel served as Youth Pastor. After graduation, the family moved to the capital. Answering God’s call, they entered into the Salvation Army Training School in Atlanta, Georgia for Officership in 2006 and were commissioned in June, 2008.
The Kims have served at two other appointments in the Army before arriving at the Treasure Coast.
Together they fight against the problems plaguing those in need.
Under the umbrella of the Martin/St. Lucie/Okeechobee Salvation Army, there is a wide range of services:
- · Emergency disaster services
- · Food pantry
- · Emergency financial assistance for utilities and rent
- · Assistance with prescriptions, clothing, household items, bus passes
- · Soup kitchen
- · Angel Tree Christmas program—reached 1500 children in 2017
- · Free weekly children’s programs which includes bus transportation: building character and skills
- · Children’s summer camp (Starke, FL) 80 children go camping, hiking, boating, swimming yearly
- · Vacation Bible School
- · Youth brass band, teen programs
- · Church services and Bible studies
- · Drug and alcohol rehabilitation—six to nine month program for men, with a firm commitment; they are sent to Orlando or Fort Lauderdale for rehabilitation
- · Currently in development is Adam’s Place shelter for veterans and men (Fort Pierce)
- · Family Store thrift stores—taking donations of household goods, clothing, etc..
Each year more than 25,000 meals are served; 18,000+ enjoy a free breakfast; 227,000+ lbs of food is given out; $20,000+ is given as grocery gift cards to families in need; 2400+ individuals are assisted with rent, mortgage, utilities, clothing, etc..; 115+ women and children receive safe shelter in Compassion House.
Compassion House provides job training and assistance to women until they are back on their own, using the “Pathway of Hope” program. Counseling continues for one to two years until the poverty cycle is completely broken. The success rate is more than 85 percent. The annual budget for the shelter is $300,000 to $350,000. Pastor Samuel states it is 100 percent spending—everything budgeted goes to aid these families.
For a future goal, The Salvation Army in Stuart has set a plan to build affordable housing on property they own. This plan would keep the women and their children safe from predators; it is a major need for transitioning families. Only recently, in October, 2017, the U.S. Justice Department announced an “initiative” to combat sexual harassment in housing by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards and others. This release alone demonstrates that a major civil rights violation of women as victims has been happening.
The need for safe affordable housing under The Salvation Army’s care is a local necessity on Florida's Treasure Coast.
Adam’s Place shelter, a new project in St. Lucie County, is also in need of major donors. A building has been provided by Fort Pierce’s Housing Authority, but it must be outfitted and funds raised for three years of operation prior to opening. Homeless veterans will be beneficially helped at this location.
The Salvation Army does even more than what most of us know. They work year-round, giving their hearts to God and their hands to man. They are good Samaritans. Their movement’s motto is “Doing the Most Good.”
An army means many, many people working together for one cause in an organized manner to defeat enemies. More than 500 people in the Treasure Coast community are registered volunteers with The Salvation Army and more than 100 of those are regular volunteers. There is an Advisory Board with recognizable names, a Women’s Auxiliary of many members and regular staff. The Salvation Army also joins with local agencies to help those in need. Together, with Captain Samuel Kim and Captain Christine Kim, they are The Salvation Army working together to defeat poverty, sin, and homelessness.
Why have I written about the Kims?
At Christmas time, outside the Ocean Breeze Publix in Jensen Beach, I met a Salvation Army “bellringer” who was playing music on a saw! He was Joseph Kim, the son of Pastors Samuel and Christine Kim. Joseph is a senior at Jensen Beach High School. He plans to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville and become a dental missionary. Joseph sat outside that day, and others, for many hours raising money for The Salvation Army.
Joseph’s character spoke well for his parents. The Kims left South Korea, where all their family lives, endured homesickness, raised children abroad in another culture and language, at God’s call. Though initially outsiders, as many in Florida are, they have become true citizens, doing their most for our good.
The Salvation Army needs to expand their army. If you are interested in helping those in need in your own community (Martin/St. Lucie/Okeechobee) by volunteering with The Salvation Army, contact Volunteer Coordinator Kim Johnson 772-288-1471, ext. 202
Location: Salvation Army, 821 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Stuart, Florida
Contact Kelly Jadon: email@example.com
*Welch-Lazoritz, Melissa L.; Whitbeck, Les B.; Armenta, Brian E. (2015-11-01). "Characteristics of Mothers Caring for Children During Episodes of Homelessness". Community Mental Health Journal. 51 (8): 913–920. doi:10.1007/s10597-014-9794-8. ISSN 0010-3853.
© 2018 "Hometown Heroes" Kelly Jadon