This undated photograph shows children taking part in a Salvation Army York event.
This undated photograph shows children taking part in a Salvation Army York event. (Submitted photo)

The Salvation Army runs by faith, giving pieces to the big picture it might never see.

"By faith, we sow the seeds that someone else will reap," said George Lenkner, the agency's spokesman. "When we provide a person that one meal, we're doing it as part of the big picture for that person's life, though we may never see the end result, never know how they or their lives turned out."

The Salvation Army is in its 125th year of serving people in need in York County.

Work in York: The local organization — officially the York Citadel Corps —provides emergency assistance to individuals and families, including food, clothing, utility assistance and other aid. The organization offers recreational and educational programs for youth and self-development programs for adults, as well as worship services at its chapel and Hispanic ministries sites.

Approximately 100 volunteers pack boxes of food York County families served by the Salvation Army during their Christmas Cheer distribution in 2013. Watch
Approximately 100 volunteers pack boxes of food York County families served by the Salvation Army during their Christmas Cheer distribution in 2013. Watch a York Dispatch video to learn more about the Salvation Army's 125 years in York. York Dispatch file

The Salvation Army, which has a thrift store in Springettsbury Township, distributes thousands of gifts, coats and food baskets during the holiday season, when it also runs its Christmas Red Kettle campaign to raise money to fund its services.

The local agency was started in 1889 by Salvation Army officials Capt. Ella Callender and Lt. Annie Holmes who came to York from Brooklyn, four years earlier, to run services to help people.

The initial Salvation Army, which now has agencies around the work, was founded in 1865 in London by William Booth, a Methodist minister.

To commemorate its 125th anniversary, the York Salvation Army will hold various programs throughout the year, including its annual board dinner in September.

Youth recital: At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Salvation Army will hold its Dance Positively Recital, featuring songs, poetry, dance and other talent presentations by youth — between ages 8 and 17 — who attend the agency's after-school, 10-week dance program.

The recital is free and open to the public, said Jim Harris, director of the Salvation Army's community center.

"We want people to see that these kids are made from love and the kids are expressing what they have to give from themselves," he said. "They're giving through their talent, through their confidence, through what they've learned about working with each other."

Harris said the Salvation Army has been part of his life for 35 years and he has been a Sunday school teacher, an usher and served on the agency's council.

"I love the Salvation Army," he said. "They're a great organization and they look out for the young people. They do great things for children. There are kids who what we've done for them and now they have their own families."

Work of faith: Lenkner said that his 19-year employment at the Salvation Army is more than a job for him. It's a work of faith, he said.

"You have to have the faith, the resilience of the human spirit, to keep serving, to keep helping people when they need it most in life," Lenkner said. "You don't always see the long-term effects of that, but you have faith that you did what was needed to help them improve their lives."

—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.