Serving Our Community

Serenity Home

The Polk County Salvation Army Service Extension Unit provides emergency assistance to individuals and families facing acute and unforeseen financial crisis. The work is carried out by Salvation Army employees and volunteers in Polk County.

The primary task of the Extension Unit is to provide short-term support for individuals and families who have nowhere else to turn for help. We are the helpers of last resort in times of deep and immediate need.

Highlights of what we are doing locally:

  • Serenity Home Shelter
  • Rent Assistance
  • Utility Assistance
  • Emergency Hotel Assistance
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Backpack Program
  • Transitional Housing

Along with providing emergency assistance to individuals and families, The Salvation Army has several state-wide programs available in Polk County:Disaster Services

  • Emergency Disaster Services
  • Adult Rehabilitation Center
  • Summer Camp
  • State Patrol Assistance
  • Prison Toy-Lift Program

Serenity Home

Salvation Army Faith House

Serenity Home offers shelter to families and single individuals in the Balsam Lake area, including Polk County. We are staffed 24 hours to ensure all folks receive the services they need. You are welcome to call us at (715) 485-1221 to talk to a staff member to learn more about our program. If you are interested in staying at Serenity Home, please download and return the application below. We will call you once the application is received.

Application to Stay at Serenity Home

Please either fax to 715-485-1226 OR send to:

Serenity Home
200 Polk County Plaza
Balsam Lake, WI 54810

Services offered for our residents:

  • Budgeting Classes are offered as needed in both group and individual settings. Residents and community members are assisted with simple monthly bill paying and financial organizing.
  • Resume Writing & Interview Skills are taught by volunteers in our Enrichment Program, enabling our clients to obtain employment suitable to their skill set.
  • Wellness Classes are offered quarterly and feature stress management, as well as the importance of exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Nutrition Classes feature balanced meal preparation and food safety information. Each participant learns how to cook on a budget and provide for their family's nutritional needs.
  • Rent Smart classes are offered twice a year, informing our clients about their responsbilities and rights as tenants in Polk County. Professional guest speakers include attorneys, area property owners, and representatives from local lending institutions.
  • Children & Adult Tutoring is provided primarily by retired teachers. Tutors assist all school age children with homework and special projects. In addition, they coach parents, helping them to work with their children more effectively.
  • Family Meals and Fellowship: Evening meals are a time for fellowship and giving thanks for all of our blessings. Volunteer organizations and church groups provide our residents with nourishing dinners each week Monday through Thursday. Residents are required to attend and upon leaving the shelter, many have shared with staff that the nightly meal is one of their favorite experiences at Serenity Home. It's the first time many of them have enjoyed family dinners on a regular basis.
  • AODA Services: Faith House provides transporation to the 12-step program of the residents' choice nightly. For those that are in out-patient therapy, we work closely with the appropriate agencies to help each individual work toward meeting case goals.

Emergency Assistance

Salvation Army Emergency Assistance

The Salvation Army provides rent, utility, transportation, medication, medical and dental assistance to residents in Polk County. To qualify, complete the two forms below and submit them for our review.

Servicepoint Form 

Emergency Assistance Form  

Documents may be faxed to 715-349-8833. You will be contacted by phone with our determination.

Wisconsin Service Point Consumer Notice

Food Pantry

The Salvation Army stocks and maintains a food pantry for families in need for Polk County residents on an emergency basis.

How our food pantry works:

  • Families are given an opportunity to choose the foods they like.
  • Individuals receive assistance in applying for "Food Share" or other needed service.
  • Nutrition and budget education is offered to all recipients. 

Availability: Services are available on Tuesdays from 9:00 - 11:00am and 5:00 - 7:00pm and Thursdays from 5:00 - 7:00pm.

Call (715) 247-2944 for an appointment.

Moola for Milk Campaign

Salvation Army Moola for Milk

The Salvation Army offers a milk program for children living in St. Croix, Polk, Burnett and Pierce Counties.

The Salvation Army provides milk coupons to all food pantry participants in St. Croix and Pierce counties. We also provide milk coupons to families participating in the "Happy Kids" backpack program. This program is extremely important as it provides fresh dairy to clients in need.

With the current economic crisis facing our nation, food insecurity remains a primary concern within many households. In an effort to offset someof this need, our service team is continuing our fundraisers.

We provided 20,000 gallons of milk to families last year.

Contact Lori Scheder at (715) 247-2944 with questions or to participate.

BackPack™ Program

There are children in America that rely on resources such as free and reduced-priced school lunch, during the school year. The BackPack™ Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

About the BackPack Program:

  • Backpacks are filled with food that children take home on weekends
  • Food is child-friendly, nonperishable, easily consumed and vitamin fortified
  • Backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation

The BackPack Concept

The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomach aches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.

More About this Program

Polk County's BackPack Program currently serves: Amery (70), Unity (98), Frederic (40), Clayton (55), Turtle Lake (50), Polk County Head Start (50), Luck (56), Clear Lake (19)  and school districts in Burnett County.  Note: the number behind each town indicates the number families participating in this program. With community support and the help of volunteers, the BackPack Program has been a huge success.

Our goal is to provide nutritious food to families in need, as well as sending a message to the children that someone cares. This program has also impacted the schools since children have been less agitated during school reducing discipline problems and nurses have seen less children with stomach aches or other symptoms related to hunger. But most importantly, academic performance will improve due to nutritional needs being met.

We are always in need of items to fill the backpack. Below are the items we frequently need to purchase:

  • Mac and Cheese
  • Cereal
  • Canned meats
  • Helper (hamburger, tuna or chicken)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned Fruit
  • Granola Bars

To Volunteer for this Program: Please call (715) 485-1221 and speak with Angela.

To Donate to the Program: Please drop off food items from the wish list or those listed above to Serenity Home at 200 Polk County Plaza in Balsam Lake, WI OR click here to make a monetary donation and request local community, city and state, or a specific zip code.

Housing Programs

Transitional Housing is a rental subsidy program that helps individual households to afford housing costs such as rent while waiting to acquire low-income housing options. The goal of the program is to provide assistance with safe, decent and affordable housing in St. Croix, Pierce, Polk and Burnett Counties. Persons in the rental assistance program usually pay 30 percent of their income for rent.  

How Do I Qualify?

  • Assistance will be given upon completion of all program forms and when all eligibility requirements are met.
  • The landlord will be contacted and must agree to participate in this program.
  • The rental unit you have chosen must pass HUD guidelines and meet the Median housing cost requirements for your county.
  • Due to funding availability it may be necessary to place you on a waiting list; you will be notified by letter or phone.
  • It is your responsibility to call us if your address or phone number changes after being placed on the waiting list.

Download application

Wisconsin Service Point Consumer Notice