The Salvation Army In Greece
The Salvation Army is an international Christian movement that operates in 127 countries worldwide. In Greece, the Salvation Army has been operating as a nonprofit company since January, 2011, standing by vulnerable groups, most especially: young families and single mothers, the elderly and the so-called ‘new poor’ – those formerly of the middleclass who now need help in positively adapting to a new lifestyle which incorporates a lower standard of living.
WHO WE ARE
After successfully founding and running the Salvation Army in Thessaloniki, Greece, Captains Polis Pantelidis and Maria Konti Galinou relocated to Athens to establish similar programs and activities. These Athens initiatives fall under two main areas: the ‘By Your Side’ community program and the Christian Church, or ‘corps’, division.
HOW WE DO IT
‘BY YOUR SIDE’ COMMUNITY PROGRAM:
ADOPT A FAMILY PROGRAM
This program provides a concrete way for groups of friends to help their fellow humankind by providing concrete assistance in a pro-active, transparent manner. Particular emphasis is placed on maintaining the privacy and dignity of those on the receiving end.
With the individual’s dignity in mind, we aim to support those benefiting by the program to reach their full potential – with a view to their achieving independent living. It is open to all, regardless of age, culture, nationality, political and/or religious beliefs.
PARENTS AND TODDLERS GROUP
We consider family to be the heart of any community; any link by marriage, adoption or blood is considered family. Accordingly, we provide families with a safe, controlled, fully equipped environment where young children can play together or with their carers. Perhaps equally important, the carers also have an opportunity to socialise with each other.The programme is open to children aged 6-months to 4-years-old, regardless of race or political, cultural and/or religious beliefs. In order to participate, an application form must be filled out and accepted. Participants are also encouraged to support the program with any donation possible - even as small as 30 cents per session.
Following international Salvation Army tradition, this shop makes donated new and second-hand articles available to the general public. Small donations are requested to be used to support other Salvation Army activities in the community.
All donors, customers and volunteers involved in the charity shop are viewed as human beings with equal rights. Staff, whether paid or volunteer, must be attentive to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all participants.
As for customer care, all donated articles are selected to meet quality standards. Each piece is washed and pressed on the Salvation Army premises.
GREEN LIGHT PROJECT
The Salvation Army in Athens actively participates in the fight against human trafficking. Equally important is the issue of prostitution, where many girls are trapped, often at a very young age. This program provides a nonthreatening place where victims of trafficking and women working in the sex industry can regularly drop in for a ‘normal’ chat and cup of coffee - hence facilitating their societal integration. The program also hosts workshops.
The trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation is against the basic human right of freedom, and thwarts people’s right to set their own boundaries. We believe that human trafficking does not have a place in human society and must be eradicated.
CHURCH OR ‘CORPS’:
Like most Salvation Army centres, we hold weekly worship services on our premises on Sunday mornings, from 11.00-13.30. These meetings have a relaxed atmosphere and include hymn singing, Bible readings, members of the congregation talking about their Christian experiences, and presentations by worship or drama groups. We also host supplementary activities, like Sunday School, Bible studies and prayer meetings.
Our belief follows the mainstream tenets of Christian faith, with particular emphasis on the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We aim to share the message of Christian love to everyone, while at the same time working with and respecting all other faiths and beliefs.
We view the fight against poverty, abuse and social injustice as an expression of true Christianity. We desire to lend a listening ear and helping hand to those in need, in order to encourage them to reach their full potential and achieve independent living. We intend to care for the community by encouraging change through hope, and example.
How can you participate?
The Salvation Army aims to spread the Christian message of God's love to all, as well as extend humanitarian aid, regardless of politics, religious beliefs or race. We invite you to contact us and join this effort, as volunteers, donors or sponsors.
Offering Aid To Refugees
The Salvation Army in Athens has been working with the refugees arriving in Athens from the Greek islands. We distribute around 700 to 1000 sandwiches and around 150 to 200 litres of milk. Also, we visit the people living in Athens' squares during the day assessing their needs and help them accordingly. We support with nappies, baby milk, clothing, shoes, socks and soon we will be able to provide sleeping bags and water proof coats. So many stories and so many lives and each one of them very special. The problem is here to stay and with the winter months approaching we would like to be ready to be a positive step on their journey.