Economic Recession Lingers at Salvation Army Food Programs
94 Percent Report Increased Demand for Assistance as Charitable Donations Stagnate
Alexandria, VA (January 18, 2011) – Despite officially ending in June 2009, the economic recession is having a lasting impact on people across the country, according to a new report released by The Salvation Army today. According to a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2010, a majority of Salvation Army food service programs in both rural and metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Denver, reported increases in requests for food assistance as more people are turning to social service agencies. Programs including food banks, food pantries, street ministries and homeless shelters run by the Army also reported that donations mostly remained flat or even decreased in areas during the past 12 months.
“Individuals and young families throughout America have been forced to make a hard choice month after month– should they pay their utility bills or pay for groceries? Unfortunately, there is no right answer,” said Commissioner William Roberts, National Commander for The Salvation Army. “What’s left when these choices are made, are continued hardships that no family should go through when so much is on the line.”
Salvation Army food programs nationwide have seen an increase in new clients, ranging from middle class families to the working poor, as well as younger generations looking for work according to the report, “Feeding the Need 2011.” As a result, Salvation Army programs have been forced to stretch donations even further as overall funding to the Army fell 8.4 percent in 2009. Key findings from the report include:
• 94 percent of Salvation Army food service programs reported an increase in requests for food assistance in 2010.
• Nearly two-thirds of programs saw an increase in demand of 15 percent or more.
• Nearly 60 percent of Salvation Army programs saw donations remain flat or decline from all funding sources, including government, public and private sources.
• Of food programs surveyed, 55 percent reported that their shelves were half-full or less.
• 36 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in donations, a positive sign that giving will continue despite the recession.
• 23 percent of programs reported that volunteering rates increased in 2010, a sign that many Americans are beginning to donate time and talent instead of money.
“The effects of the downturn are something that we have been responding to for the past several years, and are something we will continue to respond to as long as there is need – even if this means going beyond our limits,” said Commissioner Roberts.
The Salvation Army surveyed a representative sample of more than 30 Salvation Army food service programs in cities across the United States to develop the “Feeding the Need 2011” report. The report represents the experiences of Salvation Army officers and employees who work directly with clients in need. The survey was conducted between October 2010 and December 2010, and highlights notable trends that have been felt by most charities within the United States since the recession began.
“While many Salvation Army programs will continue to be challenged, we remain hopeful looking towards the critical winter months in 2011 when demand is at its highest,” said Commissioner Roberts. “We were blessed last year to be able to provide more than 64 million meals to people in need thanks to the support of our donors and volunteers.”
During this, The Salvation Army is calling upon all Americans to consider donating money or volunteering time to the charities and organizations meeting basic human needs in the local community. Donors and volunteers can learn more about giving to The Salvation Army by visiting www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Be a fan
Read our blog