Donations in Action: Fill ‘er up

Social worker helps person

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:

Fill ’er up

Recently a family came to us after the father became medically unable to work. He was diagnosed with heart failure and put on a waitlist for a transplant.

The father had worked full-time, while his wife worked part-time and cared for their son. But without the father’s income, the family was in deep financial trouble.

Immediately, the father applied for social security benefits, and the mother scrambled to find a full-time job. A month later, their situation improved when the mother landed a full-time job that could support the family.

One problem remained: The family had run out of money, and the mother could not afford to drive back and forth to her new job until she received her first paycheck.

Thankfully, The Salvation Army was able to step in and give the family several gas cards. They were amazed that something as simple as gas money could have such a huge impact on their lives.

Forced relocation

A single, working mother of four came to us for help after mold and other hazardous conditions had been discovered in her apartment. The problem was so bad that her kids were being treated for asthma and severe allergies. Doctors informed her that she had to move out immediately.

The mother did not have enough money to cover the cost of moving, such as first month’s rent, damage deposit, and moving expenses. She was desperate.

I referred her to two partner agencies to get her enough money to make the move – and the referrals were successful. This woman and her kids now live in a home that is safe, clean and affordable. She is greatly relieved and forever thankful.

Three hugs

A disabled man did not know where to turn after he received an eviction letter from his landlord. We came to discover that the man’s personal care attendant had stolen his money and spent it all. The PCA had been incarcerated, and there was no way to get the money back.

We stepped in and paid enough of the man’s rent to stave off the eviction. We also gave him several bags of groceries to take home.

The man cried tears of joy. He requested at least three hugs from us before he left.


A woman came to us with no place left to turn. She’d recently moved to Minnesota from Florida and had planned to live with family, but she and her family had a falling out. She’d been sleeping in her car, and she hadn’t showered in days.

Immediately we offered her the chance to clean up in our on-site shower. She was thrilled.

Afterward, we gave the woman some food to take with her. Then we offered housing resources to check up on. She thanked us and went on her way.

Since then, the woman has stopped by several times to say hello. The last time we saw her she seemed much happier. She said she is looking for a job and she shouldn’t have to sleep in her car much longer.

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.

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