Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Graduate of Army rehab program drives a forklift

Nat’l Salvation Army Week, Part II: Rehabilitation

Added on Thursday, May 10, 2018

National Salvation Army Week is May 14-20. To celebrate, The Salvation Army Northern Division will publish a special story every weekday of the event. Each story will highlight a topic or service that illustrates how The Salvation Army is Doing the Most Good® in Minnesota and North Dakota. Please help us #FightForGood by volunteering or making a donation.  

Thrift store employeeWhen you shop at or donate to Salvation Army Stores in Minnesota and North Dakota, you give happiness to people who once had nothing to smile about.

All store proceeds fund vital Salvation Army programs that change lives. In the Twin Cities, proceeds fund The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis. In North Dakota and Greater Minnesota, proceeds fund local programs that provide food, clothing, shelter, mentoring, and other critical services for people and families in need.

The rehabilitation center saved a 60-year-old man named Charles (pictured) from a life of addiction and homelessness. Prior to arriving at the center, Charles had failed drug and alcohol treatment 49 times.

“I’d been addicted to drugs my whole life,” Charles said. “I had never dealt with the pain of growing up without my dad. It was those abandonment issues that kept getting me high. I was still looking for my dad’s love.”

At the rehabilitation center, Charles discovered the love of his one true father – God.

“He’d been with me during the course of my entire life,” said Charles, who is now an ordained minister. “He’d kept His arms around me, even when I didn’t know He was there.” (Read more about Charles.)

The center offers inpatient addiction counseling for up to 130 men. For six months to a year, the men receive free or affordable room, board, addiction counseling, and spiritual guidance.

Crystal and JadenStore proceeds also fund programs that support men and women who are coming out of prison – including Crystal (pictured), a single mother who spent years in prison for drug-related crimes. Through a Salvation Army post-prison ministry program called VAST, Crystal reclaimed her life and her son (read Crystal’s story).

“(Crystal) is proof that with a lot of hard work and focus, you can get back what addiction has stolen from you,” said Envoy Tonya Carlson, who helps lead VAST.

Outside of the Twin Cities, The Salvation Army operates 21 stores whose proceeds fund Salvation Army programs in their local communities.

The store in Mankato, Minn., for example, funds all sorts of important local programs, such as:

  • Cold-weather shelter: A seasonal shelter for men experiencing homelessness, open every year from Nov. 1– March 31.
  • Kids receive free lunches during summerFree meals for kids: Throughout summer, the Mankato Salvation Army delivers brown bag lunches to children of low-income families in neighborhoods across the city.
  • Family mentoring: Dozens of Mankato families are learning to overcome poverty through an intensive mentoring program called Pathway of Hope.

Indeed, thousands of people receive help from The Salvation Army – and much of that help is directly tied to the money we raise at our stores.

“Shopping our stores is a win-win,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “You get great deals on quality used merchandise, and you help The Salvation Army change people’s lives.”

Success stories

For more proof that your support of Salvation Army Stores changes lives, read the jaw-dropping stories below and watch the touching video at bottom.

A 15-year drug rampage ends: In less than a year, Casey Koerner went from being an academic standout and star athlete to a high school drop-out living with a drug dealer in a trailer park.

Divine transportation: Tom Canfield needed a ride from a Wisconsin jail to The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis. His only hope was a stranger sitting in the jail lobby. Little did Canfield or the stranger know, their lives were linked by a near-fatal drug deal five years prior.

Victory over deceit: Once a proud dad and successful businessman, Rick Loftus lost everything after cheating family members out of all their money. Today he is far down the road of recovery.

Get involved

Thrift store interiorYou can help people right now by shopping at or donating to a Salvation Army Store. Find your nearest store location in the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota and North Dakota.

Donations of used goods are tax-deductible, with write-offs ranging from $2 for a shirt, to $1,000 for a complete bedroom set, and everything in between. View our complete tax valuation guide and list of acceptable donations.

Your support will help kids and families like the ones in the following video:

Join the Fun

To celebrate National Salvation Army Week, we’re hosting nightly trivia May 14-18, aptly named Sal Army Trivia. Are you ready to play? Take a look at our Sal Army Trivia rules so you know what to expect.

Nat’l Salvation Army Week stories

Help celebrate National Salvation Army Week by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.