As more and more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, it seems like the end is finally in sight. That makes it even easier to forget that for millions of Americans, the crisis is far from over.
But hope marches on.
Many of your neighbors are struggling every day to make ends meet. People in your community don’t know how they are going to keep the car running and the heat and electricity on. In fact, 7.1 million Americans are behind on the rent, and 63% of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
But hope marches on.
Food insecurity continues to be a source of pain for a large portion of the population. Families without access to nutritious meals are going hungry every day. Today, 20 million Americans don’t have enough food to eat.
But hope marches on.
Today we need hope more than ever, if only to keep others from losing it. A life without hope is the breeding ground for all kinds of physical and spiritual diseases, including alcoholism and drug addiction. And if we’ve learned from the record number of people who overdosed in 2020, it’s that hope is in short supply for a lot of people in our communities.
But hope marches on.
What started in 1891 as one pot to collect funds to feed a free Christmas dinner to San Francisco’s destitute and poverty-stricken community has grown into The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign, one of the most impactful and iconic outreach initiatives in the world, year after year after year. To the homeless, the red kettles represent safe shelter from the streets. To the hungry, they promise a warm meal. To those struggling with addiction and alcoholism, they mean the possibility of a new life free of the bondage of chemicals.
And for everyone, the red kettles represent hope.
Our work this holiday season is going to be even more crucial to serve the most vulnerable — regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender orientation — in your community.
Please join our effort to keep hope marching on.
We’re serving people who have been impacted by COVID-19 all around the country.
If you or a loved one needs help, please contact your local Salvation Army to see what services are available in your area.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are like those we experienced after disasters like hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Harvey. Only this time, the losses are across the entire country and, as we’ve already seen, will be longer-lasting. And as with any disaster, we are there, on the ground, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual support. The Salvation Army serves those in need 365 days a year through homeless shelters, traditional housing, permanent supportive housing, and reentry resources.
Pandemic poverty has caused a domino effect in many lives. Between increasing food insecurity, bigger utility burdens, and heightened housing instability, people are making some difficult and often impossible choices just to survive. In fact, more than 7 million Americans are behind on rent due to the COVID pandemic, according to the recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. To help folks from going homeless, The Salvation Army has provided more than $112 million in funds for rent and mortgage over an 18-month period.
Economic pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic will force millions of parents to choose between paying rent/utilities and buying Christmas presents. In a typical year, we put new clothes and toys under the tree for 1 million children who usually must go without Christmas gifts. Anonymous donors adopt these little “angels” in an expanding Christmas tradition that makes the season more rewarding for the gift giver and happier for the receiver. This year, please consider taking a few more angels off the tree or donating gifts in bulk.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on families who were already struggling to pay the bills. The devastation is along the lines of the 2008 recession, with several million families in danger of missing their mortgage payments or rent.
The Salvation Army helps struggling households pay their utility bills, offsetting the added financial burdens that come with Christmas-season expenses. This allows low-income families to maintain self-dignity and stability while keeping up with their bills and keeping the heat on during those cold winter months.
To date, we have provided more than $100 million in utility and rent assistance since October 2020, and we estimate we’ll need $175 million (almost 50% more than was raised through the Red Kettles in 2020) to provide adequate support to help Americans stay in their homes this holiday season.
In providing its programs and services to the needy and underserved during the holidays, The Salvation Army is committed to accommodating all those in need without unlawful discrimination or harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other characteristic in accordance with our capacity to help.
Help us give hope to those in need who feel forgotten.
After a challenging time in her life, the kind many are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal checked into The Salvation Army’s family shelter at the Community of Hope in Lakeland, Florida. Her primary goal was to build a stable home for herself and her three children, especially after her recent eviction.
Crystal enrolled in the Pathway of Hope program and quickly secured a job at a local restaurant. She was able to open a bank account to save money in order to transition out of the shelter and into stable, secure housing.
“I think Crystal’s story is really a perfect reminder that, through Pathway of Hope, we can really break the cycle of poverty for people who have faced hardships for large portions of their life,” said a Salvation Army social services program coordinator. “I think she’s a shining example of someone who really wanted to put in the work, and we were able to come alongside her in the journey.”
Crystal remains active in the Pathway of Hope initiative and plans to pursue her GED as well as secure a driver’s license. Her journey continues with an eye toward a better future, and her story stands as an illustration of what hard work and persistence can bring.
Chelsey, a single mother of two children (one disabled) and U.S. Navy Veteran from Minnesota, has never needed help from The Salvation Army until the COVID-19 pandemic began. Chelsey has received groceries from The Salvation Army a half dozen times. She’s among the growing number of people who are first-time visitors to Salvation Army food pantries.
Recently, she was able to return to work part-time. Although Chelsey will not need to rely on food assistance for much longer, she is happy to know that The Salvation Army and our supporters will always be here to help.
Alicia, a full-time candy store employee and mother of four from York, Pennsylvania, had her hours cut drastically when COVID-19 struck the U.S., and she fell $2,000 behind on her rent. With no other options left, Alicia turned to The Salvation Army. Alicia received $1,000 to help with rent, and she was able to pay the other $1,000. The Salvation Army also helped her with food assistance to help further ease the financial burden.
“This helped me out a lot,” Alicia said. “Without The Salvation Army, I don’t think we would be able to continue to stay in this house that we’re in now. Anyone looking for help – The Salvation Army is your best bet. They work with you, and when they say they’re willing to help you, they follow up, step by step.”
Alicia is now back to work full-time and is continuing to work with The Salvation Army to earn her GED and high school diploma.
Mindy Reyes, a single mom of four kids, is still alive today thanks to a phone call from The Salvation Army.
“The first three days I didn’t tell anybody,” Mindy said. “I didn’t have any family in the area and was scared. As I got sicker, I called The Salvation Army. I couldn’t handle it. Everybody was sick and we were running out of food.”
The Salvation Army was able to bring the family food, but as time went on, Mindy’s health continued to worsen. A Salvation Army officer called her home a while later and after hearing the condition Mindy was in, called an ambulance which took her to the hospital just in time, saving her life.
The Salvation Army is proud to partner with the following organizations who support our mission to meet human need during this holiday season.
National media relations are handled by The Salvation Army National Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, and its public relations consultant, Richards Partners.
Life Skills to Escape Poverty
Solutions to Human Trafficking
Services for the Aging
Help for Domestic Abuse