‘Tis the season to give from your heart and to do unto others. On Thursday, December 7th, guests of the San Bernardino Salvation Army Hospitality House were treated to a Christmas photography shoot, courtesy of the San Bernardino Salvation Army Corps Advisory Board. The clients had been preparing for several days before hand, selecting appropriate attire for themselves and their children.
This tradition started back in 2010 when the first Christmas photo shoot took place. That’s when a young female veteran, who herself was a photographer with the United States Marine Corps, stepped up to have her photograph taken. That young lady’s name was Naomi Kuhlman; who eight years later is now the Program Manager.
Naomi Goforth, the new Program Manager for the Hospitality House had a special surprise for the ladies. Naomi contacted the Five Beautiz Barber & Beauty Shop located in the north end of San Bernardino, who volunteered to provide makeup services. Esther Soto showed up with a crew of six makeup artists; who worked all afternoon to the delight of all the ladies. Naomi said that “the crew from Five Beautiz gave from the heart their gifts and talents. They made the ladies look like royalty.”
Courtnee Cannon, a guest at the shelter, said that she appreciated all the work and effort that was being given for this event. Courtnee and her husband Kenyon and their four children found themselves homeless after losing their jobs and being caught off guard with no savings. Courtnee and Kenyon have been married 25 years and lived in the City of Redlands. Homeless and living out of their truck for over two months, they came to the San Bernardino Salvation Army Corps shelter where they’ve been residents since Thanksgiving Day.
Not all homeless are single men. Single women and families make up a large percentage of the homeless population but have the least resources offered to them. The San Bernardino Salvation Army Corps Shelter is filling this gap in homeless services, but they are always operating at full capacity and must turn several clients away on the daily bases. Finances are always a struggle, and raising funds necessary to fully fund the needs of the shelter are challenging.
Photography may not be a “need” in the lives of those who are homeless, but it does add a touch of normalcy to their lives. Many of the clients stated that they have not had a photograph of themselves or their family for several years. All the services are provided by volunteers and funded by the Advisory Board. Each client will be given a photo package of printed photographs as well as a USB drive loaded with all their digitized photographic images. The next photo shoot is being planned a few weeks before Mother’s Day.
The Salvation Army San Bernardino Citadel Corps has been serving the local community since 1887 (131 years); and is now located at 2626 E. Pacific Street, in the City of San Bernardino.
There are always needs to be filled at the Shelter. If you wish to donate, volunteer, or sponsor an event, meals, or provide services, you may contact the shelter at 909-380-7335 or contact the Corps Office at 909-888-1336.