Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
social worker

Donations in Action: Irma survivor helped in Minn.

Added on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Written by Craig Dirkes, writer/photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division

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:

Irma survivor gets help rebuilding

A single mother who’d left Minnesota for Florida due to a domestic abuse situation had to come right back in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The distraught woman came to our office with a long list of needs for herself and her kids. We gave her everything she needed:

  • Backpacks and school supplies
  • Food
  • Clothing and winter coats
  • Hygiene products and diapers

Through a generous donation, we also gave the woman some tickets to the Crayola Experience at Mall of America. We figured that she and her kids would enjoy doing something fun together to take their minds off the trauma they’d experienced.

Most importantly, we prayed with this single mother. She deeply appreciated the spiritual support. Afterward, she said she planned to bring her kids to our Bible-based youth programs.

We were proud to support this single mother in her time of need, and we look forward to serving her in the future.

Youth stabilizes in record time

Dozens of homeless youth stay at our shelter/housing facility, and most of them require months or even years to get on their feet.

Recently, a motivated young man stabilized in record time. He’d arrived at our doorstep after losing his job and home, with no family support. He was thankful that The Salvation Army could provide him with food and a safe place to sleep.

The next day, the young man began to apply for jobs. Soon he was hired for one, and then another. He began working both jobs, with a goal to secure his own housing. Staying at our shelter free of charge allowed him to save every penny of his paychecks.

One day he asked me to help him look for housing. We searched online and discovered a perfect fit – an apartment tenant looking for a roommate. The tenant was even willing to waive the first month’s rent. The young man applied and was accepted.

In just a few weeks’ time, this young man had gone from being unemployed and homeless to having two jobs and his own apartment. I admired his resolve, and I was thrilled to have helped him.

Woman strives for stability

A female resident of the Salvation Army housing facility I work at is making great strides toward her long-term goal of moving into her own apartment.

When I first started working with this woman, she was unorganized and was frequently overwhelmed by everyday life. She couldn’t move on from her past.

Today she is different. She is setting short- and long-term goals, and she has been achieving them. Among her accomplishments:

  • She has lost a significant amount of weight by going on walks every day.
  • She started the process of expungement and is working through the paperwork.
  • She has been attending all of her medical appointments. Previously, she often skipped them out of fear of learning negative results.
  • She has been attending church and wants to get baptized.

This woman is so strong. It is my privilege to support her.

Veteran gets what he deserves

A veteran came to our office after falling on hard times. He needed a job, housing, and many other things. He wanted so badly to be a good example to his kids.

I couldn’t wait to help this man. I started by contacting a bighearted trailer park owner I’d worked with in years past. With the owner’s help, along with financial support from The Salvation Army, this veteran was able to move into a trailer and receive assistance with paying his utilities. Once he had secured this housing, it wasn’t long before he’d secured a good, steady job.

Today, this man is doing better than ever. He has upgraded his trailer to a nicer model. His kids are proud of him, and now they have a warm, safe place to come visit their dad.

Throughout my time working with this veteran, I consistently told him that his service to the United States is valued, and that he deserved the help he was getting. Today I received an email from him, and it included this comment: “I don’t have words to express my thanks and gratitude.”

Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.