The Green Hope Key Club volunteering at a color run event. (Green Hope Key Club)
The Green Hope Key Club volunteering at a color run event.

Green Hope Key Club

Key Club Withdraws from Volunteering for the Salvation Army

December 3, 2018

Green Hope Key Club has decided to pull out of volunteering for Christian charity organization “The Salvation Army” after a long tenure of donating service. The club’s withdrawal from Salvation Army volunteers comes after hearing allegations regarding discriminatory behaviors, especially regarding unfair treatment of those within the LGBT community. Recent allegations include the firing of case worker Danielle Morantez soon after finding out she was bisexual, an attempt at a deal with the Bush administration confirming religious charities would be exempt from local groups banning anti-gay discrimination, and comments from Salvation leaders such as this one by Major George Hood: “A relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make. But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God.”


The bell doesn’t ring for some

“Green Hope Key Club decided to not participate with the Salvation Army’s bell ringing because their discriminatory behavior had been displayed in the media,” Green Hope Key Club President Yewon Park (‘20) stated. “When I became aware of these actions by my sister, a member of Key Club during her time at Green Hope, expressing her concerns with Salvation Army after seeing it [discriminatory behavior] on the news, I decided to bring it up to the executive board when I became President. We [Key Club] discussed it as a board, and decided that we would not be involved with the Salvation Army in the upcoming year.”

Green Hope Key, a chapter of the national volunteer group ‘Key Club’, is the largest volunteer group in Green Hope High, known for its members’ commitment to service, equality, and fairness. As a result of the Salvation Army’s actions not matching the values Key Club, Yewon, along with the rest of the board, decided to pull out of working with the charity.

“We decided that GH Key Club would not support the Salvation Army because they have a history of homophobia in which they have supported homophobic organizations and refused temporary housing to those in the LGBTQ community. There are cases of [where] people have been turned away and transgender women [were] being placed into shelters meant for men, and vice versa.” Park elucidated. She went on to add that people who refused to adhere to the ideals of the Salvation Army were “denied food, shelter, and clothing”.

“After identifying this, they just were not an organization that we wanted to support.” She concluded.


Key Club Commits to Diversity

Members of both Key Club and the LGBT+ community at Green Hope have expressed support for the Key Club executive team’s decision. Dani R., a LGBT+ community member, said, “It’s good to see more people pulling away from the Salvation Army after they refused to help people in the LGBT+ community. I don’t think anyone should support organizations that turn away those in need because of something they can’t change.”

It’s up to other volunteering groups to follow suit or not”

“It’s a reflection of Key Club’s commitment to inclusivity and commitment to service for all. It’s truly a commitment to their values.” Gelila P., a member of Key Club, added. “I totally support this decision.”

The Salvation has repeatedly attempt to debunk any accusations of discrimination; the organization even dedicated a section of its website to  “debunking the myth” of discriminatory behavior. Still, there is some skepticism regarding Salvation’s true intentions. Their actions (listed above), have clearly not matched the statements they’ve made.


Tolerance Trumps for Green Hope Key Club

At Green Hope, Yewon affirms her faith in the school’s tolerant environment.

“It’s up to other volunteering groups to follow suit or not, and we are not demanding that they do. This was a decision that we made because we thought it was the best choice for our community to support organizations that will provide service to everyone. The impact we hope to make by not participating with Salvation Army is to be make[ing] Green Hope and the Cary community a more progressive, inclusive space for everyone, student and adult. We want to encourage people to do their research before donating to ensure their money is going to organizations that are inclusive and non/discriminatory this holiday season — and always.”

Whether other service clubs follow the lead of the Key club remains to be seen.