Donations in Action: Grey-haired superhero
Many of the people The Salvation Army serves are in the middle of crazy, unpredictable circumstances. Their stories can be heartbreaking, uplifting, and everything in between.
Here are some of their stories, submitted by Salvation Army social workers and caseworkers from across Minnesota and North Dakota. Out of respect for the people involved, we are retelling the stories without using names.
If you have ever wondered how The Salvation Army uses your donations, here are some good examples:
Every so often The Salvation Army assists grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. But this was a first: A great-grandma, in her 80s, raising two great-grandkids.
The woman came to us for assistance because she could not handle every financial demand that comes with raising two young kids. Although she needed help, she certainly was not helpless. She was energetic, purpose-driven, and determined to provide for the children.
Thankfully, we were able to help the woman by paying a portion of her heating bill. This assistance will keep the woman and her great-grandkids safe and warm during the cold winter ahead.
Try this on for size
A woman wearing a thin coat came into one of The Salvation Army’s housing facilities in downtown Minneapolis. The temperature outside was below freezing, and the woman was not wearing gloves or a scarf.
After giving the woman a cup of hot coffee, we began rummaging through our storage room. Sure enough, we found gloves and a scarf.
Just as we were giving the clothing items to the woman, a female resident of our housing facility saw what was happening and told the woman not to leave. The resident rushed to her room and soon returned with a lovely, heavy coat that included a hood and fur collar. The resident put it on the woman.
The woman could not believe the kindness shown to her by The Salvation Army and the resident of our housing facility. It was such a powerful moment.
A second chance
Last month a mother in our housing program relapsed. After three years of sobriety, she made the unfortunate choice to use with her friends. She was embarrassed, disappointed, and down on herself.
We turned her failure into a victory. Due to the trusting relationship this woman built with her Salvation Army caseworker, she felt safe admitting that she’d relapsed. Through this admission, we were able to discuss a plan to ensure the continued safety of her and her children. The plan included NA meetings, therapy, and going back to church as a family.
This mother has been sober for three weeks now. Her story is a testament to creating safe environments and serving people with an approach that is non-judgemental and non-discriminatory.
This month a homeless family come to us in desperate need. The parents and their children had been living in their car for three months.
We found a safe place for the children to stay the night, although the parents were not allowed to join them. Thankfully, we were able to provide the parents with blankets and coats to bundle up, along with hygiene products. We also gave them gas cards so that they could keep their car running and stay warm.
Although we couldn't resolve this family’s crisis that day, we checked the state’s Coordinated Entry System to ensure that the family was registered to receive housing assistance once the assistance became available.
The parents were grateful. They thanked us over and over again, saying that this was the first time anybody had truly listened to them. They felt hopeful that one day soon, they could live together in a home of their own.
Thousands of hardworking families are battling poverty in Minnesota and North Dakota. You can help them win by donating $25 a month or becoming a bell ringer. Join The Salvation Army this Christmas season and #FightForGood.