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

Donations in Action: Gas money changes a life

Added on Monday, January 8, 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:

Gas money

A woman walked into our office visibly frustrated. She’d just been hired for a new job, but she had only $2 to her name. She couldn’t afford to get to her first day of work.

I sat down with the woman to learn more about her situation. She told me that she’d been trying her hardest to kick-start her life after a tragic series of events. Her son had passed away recently, and soon after he died, she’d lost her previous job.

I was able to help her by providing $60 worth of gas cards. The assistance would allow her get to and from work until her first paycheck arrived.

The woman was so happy that she burst into tears. She said the gas cards were a blessing and another push in the right direction toward getting her life on track.

Got milk?

A man called our food shelf in need of milk for his family. I told him we would be happy to give him some. He hopped on a bus and came over, even though the outside temperature was -7.

I don’t know why the man needed milk so badly, and when he arrived, I was even more confused when I saw that he wasn’t wearing a coat. To make his situation worse, the man realized his bus card lacked enough funds to get him back home. He was stranded at The Salvation Army, in subzero temperatures, without adequate clothing.

Thankfully, I was able to help him with everything he needed. He left our office with a bus pass, milk, food, and a warm coat that somebody had donated. He was grateful for The Salvation Army’s help.

Sleeping in a van

A couple came to our office in desperate need of housing. They had been sleeping in their van for months, with limited access to showers and laundry facilities. Both had been working off and on, but neither could hold down a job.

They had animals living with them in the van – animals that they said were like family. The couple feared that if they ever brought their pets to an animal shelter, they would get put down because they were so old.

I helped the couple complete a housing assessment and I gave them a gas voucher. Ever since they left, they have been weighing on my heart because of how cold it’s been outside. I am thankful we had a gas voucher to help keep their van warm. I am praying they will be accepted for a housing program soon.

Mother puts wisdom to work

With the help of a Salvation Army mentoring program called Pathway of Hope, a woman went from being homeless to being stable enough to rent her own market-rate apartment. Now, the woman is using what she’s learned to help her daughter climb out of the same hole.

Recently, the woman’s daughter wound up homeless and pregnant. The woman brought her daughter to The Salvation Army for food and clothing, and to help her fill out a shelter application. The daughter was hesitant to stay in a shelter, but after discussing the benefits and learning about how staying in a shelter helped her mother, the daughter came on board.

It was amazing to see the mother break the cycle of crisis herself, then use her experience to help her daughter do the exact same thing.

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