Surprised by The Salvation Army’s Help

Sep 11, 2020

Many things have shocked Ebony* in 2020. Beyond the surprise the pandemic has been to everyone, she also didn’t foresee the way COVID-19 would impact her personally. A full-time law student in Chicago, Ebony was suddenly unable to get a summer job to tide her over until her financial aid package picked up again in the fall. “It’s a shock to the system to suddenly have no income,” she said.

But what surprised Ebony more was the assistance she received from The Salvation Army. She said she thought they only helped with big-scale projects like natural disasters and was unaware they help individuals with things like rent. “I’m still kind of shocked,” she said of the $2,000 she received to cover two months of her rent. “It was one of the biggest blessings of my life.”

When Ebony saw the shortfall coming, she did what she could to keep paying her bills. She asked friends and family to lend her some money, but none of them were able to help. “Everybody was struggling,” she said. She even applied for food stamps but was denied.

Savings got her through June, but by July she said she was tapped out. This was problematic for several reasons. She’s still making payments on past credit card debt and didn’t want to get into deeper financial trouble. More importantly, she supports several nieces and nephews, buying them school supplies and other essentials. “If I’m struggling, then the whole family struggles,” she said.

So, Ebony went to her leasing office and let them know she wouldn’t be able to pay her July and August rent for a few months. Thankfully, one of the staff suggested she contact The Salvation Army for help.

Without the rent assistance she received from The Salvation Army Mayfair Corps Community Center, Ebony said she would have gone into a bad spiral. Her housing would have been in jeopardy, she wouldn’t have been able to keep supporting her family and making some payments to the credit card companies, and she speculated she would have had to get another job in the fall, which would have made her grades suffer.

“I know $2,000 doesn’t seem like a lot to some people, but it was a huge amount to me,” Ebony said. “This help was amazing.” She added that this kind of personal assistance makes her want to pay it forward when she gets on better financial footing. “The Salvation Army is truly a lifeline to people in need. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

*Name changed to respect client’s privacy.

Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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