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

Donations in Action: Super Bowl victory

Added on Tuesday, February 6, 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:

Super Bowl victory

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t make it this year, but we at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center still managed to experience a Super Bowl victory in Minneapolis.

Harbor Light exteriorOn Super Bowl Sunday, we hosted a party inside our chapel (pictured) for the hundreds of men and women who sleep at Harbor Light every night. We averaged at least 150 people in attendance all day. In addition to watching the game, these wonderful people got to enjoy snacks and refreshments, along with games such as ping pong, foosball, air hockey, and bumper pool.

The event was an absolute hit. Seeing such enjoyment brought tears to my eyes.

Most of the people who stay at Harbor Light have no place to watch a big event like the Super Bowl. Giving this opportunity to them was a blessing.

The power of a smile

A young woman living at The Salvation Army’s youth shelter in St. Paul had made it a goal to find her own housing. She discovered that in order for her to qualify, she’d need a second job.

She wasn’t discouraged. She found a second job and began working harder than ever. She’d get up early, go to work, and return late. No matter how tired she felt, she always had a smile on her face.

The fact that the young woman always smiled was inspiring because she was dealing with several internal obstacles, the main one being mental health. One day, during breakfast, she told me that it takes a lot of effort for her to smile – but when she does, it lifts her spirits.

As a direct result of her hard work, perseverance and positivity, the young woman obtained stable permanent housing a few days before Christmas. The morning she moved out, she told me – with a smile – that she was grateful to God for giving her a place to call home for Christmas.

Over the hump

A homeless family with a newborn and an 18-month-old toddler came to our food shelf. In speaking with them, I soon discovered that the family needed more help than what food alone could provide.

The father had one job and had just started another. He was using all of his funds to pay for hotels so that his family would not have to sleep in their car. He had just found an apartment that was willing to rent with no deposit, but he didn’t have enough money to pay all of the first month’s rent.

Thanks to our donors, I was able to use Salvation Army funds to pay the rent amount he could not afford. I also gave the family several bags of groceries.

The rent and food assistance I offered was just enough to get the family over the hump, until the father could receive his next paycheck. He and his wife were so grateful.

Don’t quit

I’ve been mentoring a young lady through The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program. She has experienced one roadblock after another, yet she refuses to give up.

Her hardships began when she bought a car that turned out to be a lemon. She needed the car to get to both of her jobs; she worked as an interior designer at two different department stores.

As the woman was getting her car situation resolved, she developed cancer. She began treatment and had to stop working. Before long, she lost both of her jobs.

After many rounds of treatment, the woman had fallen behind on her rent by $5,000. By that time, she was beginning to feel well enough to start working again. She started her own interior design business, and soon she was able to pay down her rent by $3,000.

Slowly but surely, this young woman is getting her life back, because she just won’t quit. It is a privilege to walk with her through this journey. Even though she continues to struggle right now, I still consider her a success story.

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