Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
A Salvation Army counselor helps a person in need

Donations in Action: All out of food

Added on Tuesday, February 27, 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:

All out of food

A father of five called requesting any amount of food we could give him. He and his family were starving. He said he was referred to us by a church that was all out of food for the day.

When the desperate man finally arrived at our office, he kept asking if he would be getting food today. Over and over I assured him that he did not have to worry, he would be receiving food.

In addition to giving the man several bags of groceries, I told him about several of The Salvation Army’s hot lunch and dinner programs in the area. I also referred him to other nearby agencies that could help.

The man was grateful to know that he and his kids would not go to bed hungry.

Editor’s note: You can help hungry families by giving to The Salvation Army now through April 8 during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. A portion of your donation will be matched. 

Coffee Hour

Each Thursday, I help put on Coffee Hour for residents of The Salvation Army HOPE Harbor low-income housing facility. It’s a time for residents to connect with one another over coffee, treats, and games.

When I first took over the responsibility of Coffee Hour, only two residents showed up consistently. The time was somewhat dull, and not very inviting to newcomers.

Over the past few months, though, Coffee Hour has become the place to be. The other week, 16 residents showed up. The room was filled with joy and laughter!

Recently, we invited a guest speaker named Michelle. She told us about her charity, Mobile Menders, which offers free sewing and mending services for those whose clothes are in need of repair. The residents loved it. They wanted Michelle to come back with a craft for them to work on.

Coffee Hour just keeps getting better and better. It has been a joy to watch this event turn into a place where community is strengthened inside the walls of HOPE Harbor. (Read about another cool event at HOPE Harbor.)

Seven is a crowd

A homeless family of six and their friend are moving forward thanks to The Salvation Army’s HeatShare program.

After falling on hard times, the family had temporarily been staying with the friend – a woman who they’d known for many years. Sadly, the woman had her work hours reduced. She could no longer sustain the added expense of having six additional people living with her. Her utilities became unaffordable, and soon she was facing a shutoff notice.

The woman came to me for help on the day her utilities had been shut off. I was unable to get the $50 reconnect fee to the utility company in time because it was so late in the day. To prevent the group from staying overnight inside a freezing home, I put them up in a hotel for the night. They were thankful, but they also understood that their lives had to change.

The next day, the woman and I were able to get her utilities reconnected. We also created a financial plan for her to get current on her bills. She was optimistic about getting her life back on track.

As for the family, I got them into a local homeless shelter for families. They are currently working on resolving their issues with homelessness.

Both parties are happy to have parted ways during such a strenuous time in their relationship. Thankfully, The Salvation Army was able to help mitigate their circumstances and get them moving forward. (Read about how HeatShare is helping during this year’s long cold winter.)

Be cool, stay in school

Recently, a resident of a Salvation Army housing facility came to me with a big goal: finish high school.

The young man didn’t know where to begin, so I helped him. Not only did we sign him up for online G.E.D. classes, I was able to get him a personal laptop to complete his coursework. He was ecstatic about the laptop, and extra excited to obtain his education.

I am so happy for this young man. If he works hard, he will have his G.E.D. within a few months.

To me, few things are more rewarding than helping people set and achieve goals.

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