Love Beyond

Be God’s love in a world that desperately needs it. Above all, love. by David Reardon

The well-known phrase “out of sight, out of mind,” is an unfortunate reality that has and continues to plague charities. While members and clients of The Salvation Army are well aware of the year-round services and programming offered, much of the general public fall prey to this expression.

The Salvation Army serves more than 30 million people annually in every community across the nation, no matter who they are, where they are, or how they arrived. Unfortunately, the Army’s work typically only enters the general public’s consciousness during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, when red kettles can be seen by their shopping centers. The sense of generosity felt during the holiday season is vital to the work of The Salvation Army.  One of the campaign’s objectives is to see that level of engagement continue from January through September. A common misconception is that The Salvation Army only provides services during the Christmas season, when it is most visible and vocal to the public. This year, The Salvation Army is working to change that by letting America know they can help all year round, with their new campaign: Love Beyond.

On Valentine’s Day, Love Beyond was launched in New York City, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle. Large Valentine’s Day gift boxes, the size of a small room, were installed in prominent locations of each of the four cities to attract people as they passed by. Each box had an accompanying crew interacting with passersby, asking what they thought might be inside the giant gift and what is, in their opinion, the best Valentine’s Day gift someone could possibly give. People guessed everything from chocolate to giant teddy bears and even a compact car. Participants were then encouraged to enter the box, where they would find a promotional video detailing the work that The Salvation Army does in their communities along with encouraging statistics regarding the people the Army has helped. On the way out, they were given the opportunity to donate to assist the work of The Salvation Army in their local community. The experience was designed to showcase how donors, along with The Salvation Army, love their neighbors in every community nationwide.

After coming out of the box, people were moved by the care The Salvation Army provides to their communities. “That sense of giving is really powerful,” one man said. “It’s always nice to think of others on Valentine’s Day.” Another participant said “There’s so much need, especially right now. Thank you for being out here.”

“It was very encouraging to see the impact the box made on those who entered. Many were not aware of how great a reach The Salvation Army has on their community and were moved to give financially to support the local services,” said Greg Tuck, Assistant NCRD Secretary, who was present at the Minneapolis site. 

While the Valentine’s Day gift box event was limited to those four cities, various Salvation Army centers across the country also participated in the roll out of the new campaign. Their activities differed, but they were all centered around the “Love Beyond” theme.

The campaign is designed to encourage awareness that The Salvation Army “loves beyond” the holidays and throughout the year. We love beyond homelessness, hunger, any human condition, and now donors are being encouraged to do the same with year-round donations and support. Love Beyond is an invitation to join The Salvation Army in helping suffering humanity. It’s a reminder to love others beyond all else without discrimination. Valentine’s Day was the perfect day to share about the incredible gift we all receive and can give, love that reflects that which God has shown to us. The day was used to honor our country’s hardest working families with the dignity they deserve and call on our neighbors to love one another beyond the most difficult situations.

Inspiration for Love Beyond comes from 1 Peter 4:8, which says “Above all, love each other deeply” (NIV). The verse and the campaign are a reminder that loving others no matter what is at the heart of everything The Salvation Army does. Encouraging others to constantly love the people around them is vitally important in an increasingly individualistic society. Love Beyond’s versatility and positive message were on display soon after the launch, during the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. At that time, donors were encouraged to “Love Beyond Conflict,” and support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in both Ukraine and neighboring countries. 

Love Beyond represents The Salvation Army’s standing commitment to serve others in Jesus’ name. It’s an opportunity to show people what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. As the year goes on, join the Army in loving everyone beyond all hardships and challenges. Be God’s love in a world that desperately needs it. Above all, love.