MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian Rotary Club received a presentation from the Salvation Army of Ellis County’s volunteer public relations coordinator, Ann Zambala.

Zambala opened her presentation by introducing herself to the club and explaining what she does for the county’s Salvation Army corp.

“The Salvation Army is a very humble organization and does not have a paid public relations firm like other organizations do, so it’s up to a lay person like me to spread the word to help raise funds and awareness,” Zambala said.

She previously worked at a Jesuit boys school in Michigan before moving to Texas and Ellis County. Her desire to work for a nonprofit led her to apply for possible positions with organizations in Ellis and Dallas Counties.

“I really wanted to work for a nonprofit, but I’ve always worked where I live so I was hoping to find something in Ellis County,” she said. “Luckily, they had just created a new position at the corp and Lieutenants Jeremiah and Missy Romack were happy to recruit me.”

Zambala went on to detail some of the Salvation Army’s history and founding, noting that the organization is one of the older of its kind.

Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine founded the organization in 1865 after beginning a mission to aid the poor in London’s East End.

“Booth wanted to serve the downtrodden people,” Zambala said. “The traditional way to do that was to go out bring those people to the church, but he found that did not work in most cases. Instead he set up missions in the slums and used brass bands who performed on street corners to attract interest. They would then tell people that the mission offered a meal and warm beds.”

The Salvation Army grew rapidly and began serving entire cities, then all of Europe and within 20 years of its founding, established a branch in America. In 1888, Adam Janelli an Italian Naval Captain and Salvation Army officer immigrated to Dallas and solicited Booth until the Salvation Army of Texas opened the next year.

Zambala also explained that the Salvation Army is set up in a quasi-military structure with territories and ranks of general, officer and soldier.

“The Salvation Army is also consistently ranked as one of the best nonprofits for value, trust and integrity, because 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to programs and to assist people,” she said.

She noted that every corp, including the Salvation Army of Ellis County stationed in Waxahachie, is tied to a local church, so it has a congregation and hosts worship services. Our local Army operates programs such as a food pantry, emergency financial assistance, disaster relief, school of performing arts, christmas assistance, summer heat relief, Boys & Girls Club, worship programs and community feeding programs. In addition to those services, the Salvation Army also partners with other nonprofits in Waxahachie, Ennis and Midlothian to better assist all county residents.

Before concluding her presentation, Zambala touched on some of the instances when the Salvation Army has stepped up to provide disaster relief, the most recent of which was to West, Texas.

“The Salvation Army has a reputation of being one of the first to respond and last to leave. They serve victims and first responders in times of disaster and also stay to help the community rebuild and cope,” she said.

The Salvation Army of Ellis County responded to the West Fertilizer Plant explosion with its mobile canteen, which is able to provide clean water and meals for victims and first responders.

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