The Salvation Army is hard at work using the money our donors gave during the Christmas season.
Below are recent stories of service 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:
Unique family sticks together
A unique family of five had nowhere to go after being evicted from their home. This family included a young mother, her 3-week-old baby, boyfriend (who is a stroke victim), great-aunt, and grandma.
The five of them had been coming in daily for hot meals, emergency food and spiritual care. I was able to help them further by offering damage deposit assistance for a future apartment. They also enrolled in our Pathway of Hope mentoring program, which provides six months to a year of personalized guidance.
I believe that this family will succeed because they stick together, no matter the situation. They are truly amazing.
Fast-track to housing
Most of the people who live in Salvation Army transitional housing programs require two years to get on their feet. But not the young man I just finished working with. He exited our program in record time.
During my time with him, we worked together to find him a new job so that he could move into market-rate housing. He stayed focused on these goals even while he was experiencing many other crises in his life. Soon, he landed a full-time job and connected with other resources.
To my astonishment, this young man was able to move out of Salvation Army housing in just five months. When I asked him how he did it, he replied, “I knew I had to work hard and do whatever I could to find solid housing. (Salvation Army housing) brought me the stability, support, and freedom I needed to get to where I wanted to be.”
Now that this young man has stable housing and a full-time job, he is working to achieve his next big goal: attending college. I am so proud of him.
Recently I met with an older man who is starting over after a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse.
He told me that at 8 years old, his older brothers had him drinking whiskey, smoking pot, and using LSD. From that point forward, heavy substance abuse became a lifelong battle.
Incredibly, the man has been drug-free for the past 60 days. He says he is learning to live and feel again. He thanks God for granting him the new opportunity to live his life. Crying tears of joy, he told me he loves sharing his story to help others in their fight to be sober.
To encourage this man further, I was able to provide him with gas money to get to his Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, along with funds to help fix the breaks on his vehicle. I pray that he continues on his path of sobriety.
A woman came to us for rental assistance after her husband of 25 years unexpectedly passed away just before Christmas. Prior to his death, she had taken time off work to care for him. Between his death and being off work, she had fallen $3,500 behind on her rent. I told her The Salvation Army could help with a portion of her rent and that she should contact other agencies to help with the remaining balance.
I asked the woman if I could pray with her before she left. She then shared with me that for a long time she was very angry with God. Over the last couple of years, however, she stopped being angry with God and started praying again. We prayed together, and I asked her to keep me updated on her situation.
A few days later, a caseworker from a different charity called me and said his organization could pay the remaining balance of the woman’s outstanding rent. Through the help of his agency and The Salvation Army, the woman would be able to stay in her home. She was grateful, and her renewed faith in God was strengthened immeasurably.
The Salvation Army Northern Division pledges to do the most good with your gifts of time and money, with 81 cents of every dollar going directly to services. Join us by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.