Hometown Heroes

Erin and Ben Napier are nationally beloved for their hit HGTV show, Home Town, where they renovate and restore homes and businesses in small-town communities across America. After learning more about their local shelter in Laurel, Mississippi in 2021, serving a meal to clients and bell ringing with staff downtown, the Napier’s heart for serving inspired them to partner with The Salvation Army again this year to highlight how the organization loves beyond life’s most difficult situations.

Throughout this holiday season, Ben and Erin Napier will help raise awareness of The Salvation Army programs that serve our neighbors in need in almost every zip code in the United States. The Salvation Army’s message for Americans to “Love Beyond” hunger, shelter, and disasters symbolizes the resources and programs that 30 million Americans rely on year-round when they turn to the nation’s largest private provider of social services for assistance. It’s also a rallying cry for communities to unite to provide hope and help for millions who need it.

As for Ben and Erin, the couple feels strongly about supporting and serving small towns across America, especially their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, creating opportunities for their community by revitalizing downtown stores and local homes and opening popular shops featuring locally made fare.

Last year as part of their national influencer campaign, Erin and Ben spent a day of service with The Salvation Army Laurel staff and clients, building relationships, serving meals at the shelter, and ringing bells on Main Street. It was such an impactful experience that the Napiers decided to do even more for The Salvation Army this year.

Captains Jason and Keisha McMullin, Laurel Salvation Army Officers, were overjoyed to learn that Erin and Ben would be helping to spruce up the Laurel shelter. Captain Jason McMullin shared with the Napiers tales from his childhood, including struggling with housing insecurity, and how it ignited his dream and determination to create a place of dignity, safety, and comfort for anyone needing shelter.

“Many of our clients have gotten used to being turned away and rejected by society. At The Salvation Army, we always seek to break that narrative, and by revitalizing our shelter, the Napiers have helped us change that narrative and restore peace and hope to our neighbors walking through our doors for generations to come,” said Captain Jason McMullin. “I’m so grateful to the Napiers for leading by example, for showing others what it truly means to be a Hometown Hero, and for always going above and beyond to help restore not only homes but also hope.”

The Napiers made much of Captain McMullin’s dream a reality within a single day’s work. “We want to make this shelter feel more like home and serve as an inviting place for those families,” Erin stated. “The best way for us to do that is to become part of The Salvation Army volunteer force,” Ben adds.

They scrubbed and painted walls, provided new furniture and storage, and selected toys all to refresh the shelter’s dining hall and the women’s and children’s common area. The Napiers found many items for the shelter at The Salvation Army Family Store, a thrift shop retailing household goods. “It’s wonderful to celebrate second chances, and that’s what The Salvation Army does, gives people a second chance,” says Erin.

For more information about The Salvation Army across the country, please visit here.

To learn more about The Salvation Army in your area, please visit salvationarmyalm.org/locations.

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