Salvation Army enlist an army of partners to help heal Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- They are some of the disturbing images of what some call a city that is hurting. A Mid-South couple overdosed on a Midtown street as onlookers watched and some laughed.

Others see this as a for action by the Salvation Army and its partners such as Rev. Wade Bryant of Monumental Baptist Church and formerly with Regional One Health in Memphis.

"Each time I see that video, it's a call for action. It touches and tugs at the heart. My experience in treatment tells me there are a lot more people who are affected by the problem than we actually seen in numbers," Rev. Bryant said.

The numbers tell an alarming story about addiction, but also other problems such as poverty that some are working to address on the front lines.

Darrell Cobbins is a Memphis business owner and he's active in the Memphis community. He writes for the Poor Memphis Blog.

"Poverty to me is the issue of our time and we as a community have to prioritize developing solutions to it ," Cobbins said.

But from poverty there's also homelessness on the streets of Memphis.

Jarad Bingham is with the Hospitality Hub. The Hospitality HUB is a hospitality, counseling, and resource center for homeless persons and those imminently homeless located in downtown Memphis at 82 N. Second Street

"This year we've seen 1,200 brand new homeless people already and maybe higher than that," Bingham said.

Violence and rising crime plague Memphis, as well.

Anna Whalley with the Crime Victims Center sees it all the time and impact on others.

"Each crime that you hear about on the news or in the community those ripples keep going out and some crimes seem to touch the whole community,"  Whalley said.

The Salvation Army is committed to healing Memphis through its volunteers, staff and officers and programs such as Renewal Place.

Captain Zach Bell heads the Memphis Salvation Army.

"Today we have the opportunity to look at how to address the tremendous impact of ongoing poverty, homelessness, addiction and violence," Bell said.

But to end generational poverty, spiraling addiction, and reduce crime. Some say an army is needed to help find solutions..

"Yes, we are the Salvation Army and we doing this, but let me tell you something, we can't do it on our own. None of us can, but together we can bring some much-needed healing," Bell said.

It's a community partnership led by this army, a Salvation Army to heal Memphis of homelessness, poverty, addiction and violence impacting adults and our children.

"I am delighted to see the Salvation Army looking for answers instead of just counting problems we got some great statistics, but statistics don't help someone in pain," Whalley said.

Malrie Shelton is with the ACE Awareness Foundation. ACE strives to create a Greater-Memphis community—and catalyze a movement for a state—that understands negative outcomes in the formative years of a child’s life can lead to violence, school failure, many chronic diseases and, ultimately, an unprepared workforce.

"It is going to take a collective plan because the reality is all of these issues we talk about, if we want to break this cycle we will have to prevent all of these experiences that children are having and that means coming up with solutions to address poverty " Shelton said.

"When we talk about healing Memphis, I think the first thing that we have to do is acknowledge collectively there are wounds and when we purposely intentionally and lovingly acknowledge those wounds, it allows us to come together to heal those wounds," Cobbins said.

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