Six Things You Probably Don't Know About The Salvation Army

May 1, 2019

Quick quiz: When you think of The Salvation Army, what comes to mind?

Red kettles? Thrift stores? We thought so. While those two ministries are an important part of The Salvation Army’s work, they are just a small portion of our overall outreach.

Since National Salvation Army Week is later this month (May 13-17), it’s a great time to fill you in on some facts you probably don’t know about our efforts to Do the Most Good.

1. We provide emergency shelter for Chicago’s homeless. Our Shield of Hope shelter, opened in West Humboldt Park in 2018, is the nation’s first rapid-response emergency homeless assessment and response center. This facility provides entire families facing homelessness with personalized service and support, and in its first year alone Shield of Hope helped more than 4,000 people in need.

2. We serve more than 1 million meals annually throughout Chicago and the suburbs. The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division makes more than 25 stops in Chicago every day to provide hot meals, case management, and mental health and substance abuse services to the homeless with our Mobile Outreach program. We also have food pantries in more than 25 locations throughout the Chicagoland area.

3. When disaster strikes, we’re there. In fact, we’re already there. With Salvation Army services in every zip code in the U.S., we already have a presence in neighborhoods hit by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and the like. We provide hot meals, shelter, financial assistance and help with rebuilding  communities. And ALL donations raised for disaster support are used solely for disaster relief.

4. We are on the forefront of the battle against sex and labor trafficking. The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division is a co-founding member of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force, helping survivors leave their situation and start a new life. Through these efforts, the Army serves nearly 100 survivors every year and provides anti-trafficking training to thousands of individuals.

5. We help Chicagoans get clean and stay clean. The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center and Adult Rehabilitation Centers provide spiritual, social and emotional assistance to more than 4,000 men and women seeking long-term recovery from substance abuse.

6. We meet needs immediately thanks to our Bed & Bread Club members. With their monthly donations, our Bed & Bread Club members allow us to provide immediate assistance to those in need. Thanks to their generosity, in the past three months alone, 181 men, women and children were helped at Evangeline Booth Lodge; 451 nights of shelter were offered at our Shield of Hope facility; and 66,821 meals were served to seniors, children and families.

Oh, and National Salvation Army Week? It was started in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In his speech declaring this new honor, he said:

“Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood. . . . their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”

Today, the Army still strives to live up to those lofty ideas, the same principles we were founded upon by William Booth in 1865 when he and his wife, Catherine, started working with prostitutes, alcoholics, and thieves in London’s slums – meeting their needs and offering the hope of Christ without discrimination. Today we call that Doing the Most Good. And with all the needs we see across Chicagoland every day, we realize the Fight is Now.  

Join the Fight for Good:

Related Content: Hunger / Food / Feeding, History, Addiction / Recovery / Rehabilitation, Disasters / Emergencies, Programs / Services, Housing / Shelter, Emergency Assistance

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