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How a Lion Named Judah is Bringing Smiles to Survivors in Beaumont

September 13, 2017
Christopher McGown | Christopher.McGown@uss.salvationarmy.org | (502) 777-6640

How a Lion Named Judah is Bringing Smiles to Survivors in Beaumont

Beaumont, Texas (September 13, 2017) - “He’s a scruffy fella.” That’s how Mona McKenzie described their mobile kitchen mascot. Mona, is a volunteer responding as part of The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas’ Golden Triangle. She came to Beaumont, Texas to serve from her home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she regularly volunteers with The Salvation Army.

“We needed a mascot, so I looked and looked and found this lion. It was perfect.” Mona said. “I named him, Judah.  Jesus is the Lion of Judah. And who is the King of The Jungle?  Jesus!” Judah watches over the canteen staff and serves as a conversation starter for those who come up to the window for a hot meal.

“I tell people, lions are the King of the Jungle, strong, and you are Texas strong.” Mona was excited as she talked with Judah perched on her shoulder. “I hope that just little words of encouragement like that remind them they can do it and they are special,” Mona continued. “I want each person who comes to our canteen to understand they are important."

Talking about Judah, Mona shares, “He rides right up front until we get to our site, and then he moves to the back with us.” Everyone can see him while the committed Salvation Army volunteers serve hot, nutritious meals to those impacted by the widespread flooding from Harvey. “The kids love seeing him. And just light-up all smiles when I tell them Judah knows how strong they are.”

He’s a little lion, but he represents something much bigger. Scruffy Judah stands for the message of strength and hope. This little lion is there to help people open up, to share their story. Judah, through his unassuming presence, relays calm and peace to all who see him.

As of September 12, The Salvation Army has served 485,023 meals, 441,821 snacks, and 549,959 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have spoken with 27,167 first responders and survivors.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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