Members of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Salvation Army Echelon service program began recruiting in the area Oct. 24 at the chapter’s first networking event at Bike Rack Brewing Co. in Springdale.
With 24 Echelon chapters spread across 20 states and 19 more in development including the NWA chapter, the chapters work together to give young adults more service opportunities. Echelon members volunteer with their local chapters and raise money to support Salvation Army services within their community.
Katie Howe, an Echelon NWA board member and UA alumna, approached the Salvation Army about starting an NWA chapter after her previous involvement with the Dallas, Texas chapter, which she joined after graduating from the UofA in 2012.
Howe wanted the chapter to serve the entire NWA region rather than just Fayetteville, she said.
“It gives us the ability to impact where you live,” Howe said.
Howe thinks there are plenty of nonprofits in NWA, but not many that specifically engage recent graduates in social and service opportunities, she said.
Chapter members plan to organize four large service events and two major social events each year, Howe said. Potential service events include concerts, galas and shelter cleanout days.
The next recruiting event is set for Nov. 7 at Bike Rack Brewing Co. in Bentonville, and a larger recruiting event will follow in December, said Blair Cook, the NWA Salvation Army public relations and volunteer coordinator.
Echelon NWA members will join other Echelon chapters in a nationwide “Kettle Takeover” Dec. 14 and ring bells for the Salvation Army, competing to raise more money than the other chapters through donations, Howe said.