Donations in Action: Policeman has big heart
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:
Police officer has big heart
Last week, as our food shelf was wrapping up, a police officer came through our doors. I asked if I could assist him with something. He stated that he had someone he would like for us to speak to about getting some help.
He beckoned for a young woman who was standing by her car in our parking lot. The young woman was in distress and crying. We went back to my office, at which point the officer told me he had known the young woman for several years, as he used to do hours at her high school several years ago. He began to tell me why he’d pulled her over, while also reiterating several times over that she was a “good” kid who has just made some bad choices.
With tears in his eyes, he looked at the young lady and told her that The Salvation Army could help her, that he would let her go without a ticket even though he probably shouldn’t. He gave her a huge hug before leaving my office.
It took some time for the young woman to calm down enough to talk to me. By the end of our visit, we’d rescheduled her child’s four-year checkup (she’d missed it when she got pulled over), discussed resources for housing, talked to her about Salvation Army counseling programs, and I provided her with an emergency food bag.
Before the young woman left, I prayed with her and gave her a huge hug.
No more sleeping on the floor
A middle-aged woman came into my office with the Salvation Army volunteer who’d led her through our food shelf. The volunteer had been concerned about the woman and thought I should talk to her.
I discovered that the woman had recently been homeless for more than six months and had finally received housing a few days prior. She started talking about how difficult it was to sleep on the floor, saying she was hopeful she could afford some furniture soon. I offered her a referral to a nonprofit that provides free furniture. The woman was so thankful, as her only income was social security.
I then asked the woman if she had enough clothes to wear. She stated she had very little; while sleeping on the streets, she was not always able to keep track of her belongings. I gave her a voucher for a clothing store, and she was again thankful.
The woman left my office with food, hygiene products, and the resources she needed for furniture and clothing. I was proud to serve her.
Mother and son reunited
A single mother came to me in need of a home for her and her son. She was fleeing a domestic abuse situation. She was currently in a temporary shelter, and her stay was coming to an end.
Most importantly, until she found a permanent home, her son would not be allowed to be reunited with her. He had recently been placed in temporary foster care because of everything going on in their lives.
After a month-long search and many networking calls for assistance from other service providers, I found this single mother a home. With rent assistance from The Salvation Army, she was able to move into a new, affordable apartment. Better yet, her son would soon be able to move home with her.
This mother and son were so excited, and so thankful, for the care and support they received at The Salvation Army.
Poor woman can see again
This month I helped a woman who’d been fired because of her poor eyesight. When she’d been employed, she did not have insurance for eye care and had put off having an exam for three years. Her eyesight had gotten so bad that her employer needed to make accommodations in order for her to remain employed. Unfortunately, her employer was unable to do so, and she was terminated.
The woman reported that with her limited income since losing employment, she could not pay for an exam or glasses. I completed a referral to a LensCrafters program that provides eye care for those who cannot afford it. The woman would receive a full exam and new glasses at no charge.
My next goal is to assist this woman in finding a new job. I am excited to help her get back on her feet.