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The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome Captain Jason Schaal from the Salvation Army to the community! Learn more about Captain Schaal and The Salvation Army below.

And don’t forget… Red Kettle season is coming up!


1. Tell us a little about the Salvation Army and the work you do.  

The Salvation Army has been serving Terre Haute and the greater Wabash Valley since 1888. Overall, the Salvation Army is a Christian Organization and an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church (Next year will be our 130th year of service!).  Since then, our goals have been aimed at meeting human need where ever we find in the name of Christ.  

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As a church, we have services on Sundays (Sunday School at 10:00 AM and Sunday Worship Service at 11:15 AM) and Thursdays (4:30 Youth Band/Adult Small Groups, 5:30 Dinner, 6:00 Children’s Small Group/Adult Bible Study.) Everything we do is rooted in that commitment to serve Christ in any community where we are blessed to be, including Terre Haute.  We also have low cost youth camps that the community is welcome to send their children too each summer just outside of Bedford, IN.

In our social services outreach, we fight the war on homelessness and hunger together with many community partners.  Services provided are food assistance, rent and utility assistance, etc…We have a new program called the “Pathway of Hope” that aims at breaking generational poverty in our town, one family at at time. 

2. Captain Schaal; you’re new to the Wabash Valley – what should people know about you personally and professionally? 

I, together with my wife Captain ILONA Schaal, have worked with The Salvation Army in 4 MidWest States and internationally in Finland and the country of Georgia (not the state!).  Most recently, we worked in Gary, IN at a drug and alcohol recovery center for The Salvation Army.  My wife is originally from the country of Georgia and I am from (some would argue the country) of Iowa.  We have three children (12, 9, and 6 as of joining the Chamber) and a pet bird named Harley.  

Captain Jason grew up in The Salvation Army in Iowa and is a 4th generation member of The Salvation Army Church in Dubuque, IA.  Captain Ilona grew up in what was the Soviet Republic of Georgia.  When The Salvation Army came to town, they provided camping opportunities.  She eventually joined the church, provided translation services for English speaking missionaries, and went to our seminary in Finland, which is where we met. 

3. The Salvation Army does amazing work in our community and all over the world. What makes you excited or passionate about your work? 

If one loves what they do, its said they never work a day in their lives.  What motivates us is seeing the difference that a small donation can make in the life of person.  I’m a story teller, so please indulge me.  I’d like to tell a few stories from our Pathway of Hope Program.

Recently, one person going through the Pathway of Hope program was approved for a Habitat for Humanity house.  The person came to our pantry a few times a year when they would have difficulty making ends meet.  One day the person met with our caseworker to discuss the financial situation of the family.  As it turned out, the family was paying way too much for renting a house and for the utilities on the house (it was poorly insulated as well).  We helped her apply for a Habitat house.  The first application was turned down.  See, Habitat for Humanity runs a credit check on all potential recipients to check mainly for prior debt.  They do this so a bank cannot repossess a Habitat house for debt of any kind.  After helping the family secure credit reports, there were two reasons for the rejection. First, there was a mistake on the credit report from and old judgement that had never been corrected.  Second, there was an old, old debt of $300.  We helped her through the process of getting the reported corrected and paid the $300.  Now, she can choose whatever color she wants for her walls –this was a dream she had for years.  The Pathway of Hope made it come true. For $300.

Another story involves a young couple who found themselves homeless and living in a tent at a local park during the heat of a recent summer time.  The wife was 8 months pregnant at the time.  The husband, who was the one working, couldn’t hold down a job because he didn’t have reliable transportation.  We spent some of our barrier buster funds and bought him a bicycle so he could ride back and forth to work. With this bicycle to transport himself, he landed a job at a local manufacturing facility.  They were also connected into our church, where they found a couple looking for roommates.  They lived with this couple for a few months until they found a place of their own.

It’s hard to explain why I do what I do.  It’s because of people.  It’s because of God.  Recently, I have become a student of a leadership writer named Simon Sinek, author of the book “Start with Why”.  My personal why I do what I do is to “Remove temporal barriers to spiritual breakthough”.  Spiritual breakthrough means different things to different people.  For us, its a relationship with Christ.  

4. We know you’re always looking for volunteers, especially since Red Kettle season is coming up. How can people get more involved?

The easiest way to get in touch with us is at our office.  Our phone number is 812-232-4081 or Email, which isINDTerreHaute@usc.salvationarmy.org

Our largest event we have coming up is our Annual Red Kettle Appeal.  We will raise about 65% of our annual budget during this time.  We are always looking for volunteers to cut costs.  The stats for volunteers are amazing.  For our hired bellringers, we average about 30 cents per dollar in wages.  That’s almost 1/3 of what we bring in.  However, for a volunteer, we not only save that amount, we generally see increased giving by up to double.  That’s impact.  

As a part of that campaign, we are also looking for restraunts to particapate in our Feed the Need program, in which a portion of the proceeds from a certain evening are donated back to The Salvation Army.  We are also looking for those who would sponsor a kettle for a day or the season, one kettle or multiple.