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Salvos' generosity compels Mark to 'give back'

Salvos' generosity compels Mark to 'give back'

Salvos' generosity compels Mark to 'give back'

22 May 2017

By Barry Gittins

Collecting money from your neighbours or total strangers can be a bit daunting, but for Major Mark Soeters, The Salvation Army’s annual Red Shield Appeal is a chance to get out and about, paying back the generosity that he himself received.

“I was raised in a single-parent family,” he recalls, “as the oldest of four kids. We were loved, but we were often hungry and we had holes in our shoes.

“Some days we would open the front door and there’d be a food parcel from the local Salvation Army officer on the doorstep. Mum started sending us to the Salvos’ Sunday school.”

That was the start of a lifelong engagement with the Salvos, which eventually led to Mark leaving his career as a geologist to become a Salvation Army officer.

“There are a lot of people living in the margins, and life is hard,” Mark reflects. “I’m giving something back by working for The Salvation Army. I pay tribute to the fundraising teams across Australia – each year they deliver results that help to bless others.

“My focus is always on the people who benefit from the appeal. At this time of the year, with the Red Shield Appeal, I especially think of young families who are struggling. I pray for them. It may just seem like simple fundraising, but the money we raise – with the help of generous donors and volunteer collectors – goes to funding services that help people in need.”

Mark can genuinely relate to that.

Mark Soeter is head of The Salvation Army’s Public Relations Department in the Australia Southern Territory.

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