The Salvation Army Social Services
In this new century, The Salvation Army is serving more people in the USA than ever before. We are already seeing large increases in the number of Americans seeking the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, and warmth. Nearly 30 million people received help from The Salvation Army in 2009. The brief review listed below will quickly show the magnitude of the mission facing The Salvation Army in communities throughout the United States.
Salvation Army social service programs help meet the basic needs of daily life for those without the resources to do so themselves. Often, the programs provide food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance to pay utilities, and other necessities based on the need.
Casework and Counseling
Casework and Counseling are components of many Salvation Army programs throughout the United States. Whether it is financial planning and job placement for a young, single mother living in a Salvation Army transitional facility, health care and residential assistance for a family dealing with disease, or counseling and advocacy for a victim of spousal abuse, The Salvation Army is with those it serves every step of the way.
The Salvation Army has been serving America’s youth for 126 years. Each corps community center has religious and character building programming for young people such as Sunday school, troop programs, music classes, athletics, arts and crafts, camping, and familial services intended to help the parents break the cycle of homelessness and crime so that their children will have a brighter future.
Besides the Red Kettle and bell, thrift and family stores stand as an icon of The Salvation Army. The proceeds from the sale of America’s clothes, furniture and donated cars at over fifty percent of the Army’s stores support Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers specifically, a place where men and women receive the care they need to overcome the struggles of addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Each year, thousands of older adults are served by The Salvation Army through a myriad of programs. At Salvation Army community centers, seniors may find educational classes, adult day care, hot-lunch programs, and the “league of mercy,” a community care ministry that sends Salvation Army volunteers to hospitals, nursing homes, and directly to the homebound to provide a listening ear, a caring heart and a helping hand. Seniors are also offered camping trips to Salvation Army camps adapted to meet the needs of older adults and senior residences for those on a fixed income.
The Red Kettles and bell ringers are perhaps the most visible community-wide Salvation Army program. However, during the holidays the results from the nickels, dimes and dollars put into the kettles provides needy families with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, gifts for children, coats and shoes for kids with none to wear, and visitation to the elderly and imprisoned who have no one to care for them.
Human and Sexual Trafficking
The Salvation Army is actively involved in fighting the international crime of human and sexual trafficking. The battle is fought on two fronts: shaping public policy in Washington, DC, as well as providing basic services and advocacy for victims. It is estimated that nearly one million people are sold across international borders each year, having been bought and transported in slave-like conditions for sex and labor exploitation. The United States is one of the largest destination countries for trafficking victims from over 50 different countries.
Ray and Joan Kroc Community Centers
In 1998, Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, donated $90 million to The Salvation Army to build a comprehensive community center in San Diego, California. Her wish was to create a center, supported in part by the community, where children and families would be exposed to different people, activities and arts that would otherwise be beyond their reach. Completed in 2001, the center sits on 12 acres and offers an ice arena, gymnasium, three pools, rock climbing walls, a performing arts theatre, an internet-based library, computer lab, and a school of visual and performing arts.
When Mrs. Kroc passed away in October 2003, she left $1.5 billion – much of her estate – to The Salvation Army, by far the largest charitable gift ever given to the Army, and the largest single gift given to any charity at one time. Mrs. Kroc was very specific that the money not be used for current Salvation Army programs but rather 50% go to the building of community centers across the nation, patterned after the San Diego center, and 50% into an endowment to maintain the centers. While the endowment will not cover the full cost of operating these centers, The Salvation Army is confident that Mrs. Kroc’s example will inspire the support of those in the local areas to partner with us in support of Mrs. Kroc’s vision.
Currently, The Army estimates that 20 to 30 centers will be built during the next five years ranging in size, services, location, and cost. The first center from this historic gift opened in San Francisco, CA in June 2008. Since that time, centers have opened in Ashland, Ohio, Atlanta, Ga., and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well.