Every time Phyllis Barnaby sees or hears anything related to The Salvation Army, she gets emotional. It is a reminder of the support and care she received from the organization at a young age. As a way to give back, Phyllis now contributes to the Army whenever she gets the chance.
As a child, Phyllis’ life was challenging. While living in the small and remote community of Buckfield, N.S., her mother had to raise 10 children with very little means, living off the land and with no running water.
Due to her family’s situation, someone within their community decided to make The Salvation Army aware of it. Since that moment, Phyllis’ life was moved in a way she will never forget.
“Each year for several years, the Army delivered Christmas dinners and presents to each one of us. You should’ve seen my mother’s face; a relief always came over her knowing she was going to be able to cook a turkey for us on Christmas Day,” she says.
Phyllis recalls one specific year in which she was especially moved by The Salvation Army’s work. On the day her family was supposed to receive their Christmas hamper, a blizzard hit their community. But despite the treacherous conditions, a Salvation Army member drove to their town and even walked up the hill to where their house was located in order to deliver their Christmas dinner and gifts. It was a gesture Phyllis remembers fondly to this day.
“For somebody to drive through dangerous roads, in those conditions, and do all that for us? It was mind-boggling,” she says. “Had it not been for this individual’s commitment, we would not have had Christmas that year.”
The Importance of Kindness
As time passed, things got better for Phyllis and, alongside her, The Salvation Army was always there. She moved to Halifax and got a job as a ward clerk at the former Grace Maternity Hospital, founded and run by the Army. She describes her experience working there as a “fullcircle” moment. It meant so much to her that she decided she wanted the hospital chaplain to conduct her wedding.
“The hospital’s chaplain got special permission to marry my husband and me after I asked her to. That’s how much The Salvation Army means to me,” she says.
“The Salvation Army helps everyone, no matter who they are.” PHYLLIS BARNABY
Thanks to the help she received, Phyllis has made it a priority to contribute to the Army. She now works as a residence manager and, together with her co-workers, she hosts an annual toy drive. Additionally, Phyllis donates to every Salvation Army kettle she passes by. She says the Army is the charity she likes to contribute to the most, and that the help she received throughout her childhood taught her and her siblings that it is important to be kind.
“The Salvation Army showed me the meaning of giving,” Phyllis sums up. “They help everyone, no matter who they are. They taught me that it is important to be nice to people, and love everybody.”
Juan Romero is the staff writer/news media relations specialist at The Salvation Army’s territorial headquarters in Toronto.
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