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

Donations in Action: No more sleeping on floor

Added on Monday, April 2, 2018

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:

No more sleeping on the floor

An elderly woman stopped by wondering if we could help her obtain a bed. I asked what was wrong with hers, and her response shocked me: She didn’t have one.

The woman had been alternating between sleeping on the floor and her broken-down couch. She had back problems, and without a bed, the pain was only getting worse.

I asked the woman to have her physician write a letter that confirmed her back problems. The woman obtained the letter and brought it to me. I used the letter to apply for a grant, and the grant was approved.

Before long, the woman received her new bed. To make her experience even better, I purchased a comforter and bed sheets for her.

The woman said the new bed felt fantastic. She said she wanted to give back by volunteering, and the very next day, she showed up at my office eager to get started.

Gas voucher saves the day

A middle-aged wife came to my office in need of a gas voucher. She had just gotten a job as a dental hygienist, but she didn’t have enough money to fill up her gas tank. Without fuel, she wouldn’t be able to get to her new job for the rest of the week.

She needed the job badly. The woman and her husband had accumulated so much debt that they were temporarily living out of their car, unable to secure housing. But the woman’s new job gave them hope. They were just a few payments away from paying off their largest debt, and once it was gone, they’d be able to afford housing.

The woman’s eyes lit up when I gave her a gas voucher. It boosted her spirits and reinforced the fact that good things were just around the corner.

It’s amazing how much of an impact a simple tank of gas can have.

Back in the driver’s seat

For several months I have been mentoring a single mother through our Pathway of Hope program. Recently she achieved a huge goal: being able to drive again.

The woman’s license had been suspended for quite some time, and without it, her life had grinded to a halt. She had no way to get to and from her job, school, and daycare.

Thankfully, she passed her driver’s test with flying colors and was able to purchase a vehicle and insurance. Although her license would still be suspended for another year, she was approved for a limited license that would allow her to drive to daycare, work and school.

I am so proud of this young woman. She just won’t quit.

Used goods change two lives

Recently I witnessed firsthand how donations to Salvation Army Stores change lives.

In one case, I met with a mom who was both excited and panicked: She had gotten a job as a server, but she didn’t have money to pay for the clothes she needed for the job – black pants and nicer shoes. I gave her a voucher to spend at a Salvation Army Store. She went to the nearest store and got the clothes she needed to start her new job.

In another case, I met with a young mother and her son. They had been homeless for over a year, living at a shelter for women fleeing domestic abuse. After helping them secure stable housing, I gave them a store voucher that they could use to purchase furniture for their new home.

Both of these women were grateful. Their stories prove that donations of used goods to Salvation Army Stores have the power to change lives.

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