The Walters Family

“The first step is to know that there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Second, if the organization you decide to contact has a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and compassionate staff that is letting you know it’s going to be okay, believe them. At that point it’s pretty clear you are in good hands and will be able to move past any roadblocks that are in your way.”

As Belinda Walters strode up to the stage, check for $10,000 in hand, she couldn’t help but marvel at how her life had changed. Today, Belinda is in a position to help an organization that provided her a lifeline 25 years ago. She nominated The Salvation Army (TSA) of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a community grant from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, and now she is the one who gets to present the check.

Belinda is a quality assurance specialist for Delta Dental in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. She has been with the company for seven years as of this month. She makes a good living from her job and has full benefits, including medical, dental (obviously) and a 401k with matching. But it wasn’t so long ago that Belinda needed help. She was a single mother with three young kids, working multiple jobs to keep everyone fed, clothed and housed. Sometimes, even with three jobs, she didn’t have enough.

“The journey from then to now seems like a lifetime ago,” Belinda reflected. “My youngest of my three kids just turned 28, and, at the time I reached out to The Salvation Army, she was only around three or four years old. Being a single mom is not an easy road to take, and I was working two – sometimes three – jobs to make ends meet.”

Belinda didn’t want to ask for help. She felt embarrassed, but she overcame her discomfort and reached out to The Salvation Army.

“I received direct and indirect services from TSA. Services I received directly included rent and utility assistance, which provided some financial assistance when I was short to pay my bills. Indirectly, I shopped for clothing at the store locations, which helped a great deal for my little ones at the time.”

Receiving the help gave her room to breathe and took off some pressure. And it also gave her the space to chart a path to being more self-sufficient. She says, “I learned that sometimes you have to allow people to help you, so that you can learn and know how to help yourself.”

Despite Belinda’s current circumstances, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. She understands the vital support The Salvation Army offers to those who are struggling, and she wanted to help them continue to deliver on the mission to do the most good.

In addition to the funding provided by the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for clinics and dental schools, we have a community giving program where employees can nominate causes to receive small grants. Belinda nominated The Salvation Army of Harrisburg but didn’t expect it to be approved among the other applications.

“I was quite surprised to learn that my nomination for TSA was chosen. It felt so rewarding to let Kathy [Kathy Anderson-Martin, Director of Resource Development] know that a grant in the amount of $10,000 had been awarded to them.”

TSA leadership extended an invitation to allow us to present a check at its Hometown Heroes event. Of course, there was no better person to present the check than Belinda.

“I was so elated and honored to be able to present a check to support an organization that had done so much for me personally when I needed a helping hand.”

The Salvation Army didn’t just help her make ends meet; they helped her realize she was going to be okay. When asked what advice she would give someone who is struggling, she offers this wisdom:

“The first step is to know that there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Second, if the organization you decide to contact has a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and compassionate staff that is letting you know it’s going to be okay, believe them. At that point it’s pretty clear you are in good hands and will be able to move past any roadblocks that are in your way.”