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

Donations in Action: Escaping a predator

Added on Thursday, July 5, 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:

Escaping a predator

A woman called on a Thursday morning, desperate to get away from a predator who’d been stalking her. He had abused her when they lived together in a different state. She’d fled to Minnesota, but he tracked her down. She feared for her life. 

She asked for a bus ticket to an out-of-state shelter where she knew she’d be safe. I bought her one. I also called the police and a local woman’s shelter to arrange a secure place for her to stay the night. 

The next morning, I arranged a police transport for the woman to get to the bus station. By noon, she was on her way to safety, with a social worker scheduled to meet her at her destination. The woman was so thankful for The Salvation Army’s help.

Hurricane uproots man’s life

A man came to our food shelf in need of groceries. Recently he had moved to Minnesota from Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria destroyed everything he owned. 

The man was depressed. In Puerto Rico, he had a good job and nice apartment. He never dreamed that one day he would be moving from place to place. He feared that he would never again have a good job and decent place to live. 

After giving the man a few bags of groceries, I referred him to several housing providers and county assistance programs. I hope that the man will return to our food shelf next month so that I can see how he’s doing and help him some more.  

You light up my life

A single mother with two young children came in seeking immediate assistance to get her electric bill paid. The lights inside her home had been shut off. She and her kids were living in the dark.  

I looked at the mother’s bill and came to the unfortunate conclusion that she owed more than The Salvation Army could pay. Nonetheless, I was determined to find another option.

I called the mother’s utility provider, probing for a solution. My conversation with the customer service rep took a turn for the better when she asked if any of the mother’s children were on medications that require electricity. I said yes – one of the children had asthma and used a nebulizer on a regular basis. 

With that, the customer service rep told me about an organization that supports families in such situations. I called the organization and, just like that, the mother’s electricity had been restored. She would be put on a payment plan and have a portion of her balance forgiven. 

The mother cried tears of joy and gave me a huge hug before she left.     

Medical issues cripple family finances

A Hispanic mother and her two daughters stopped by our food shelf. Their cupboards were bare. The father was working, but he wasn’t earning enough money to keep the family afloat. 

I discovered that the mother had been working, but was forced to stop after her youngest daughter had been diagnosed with epilepsy and other health problems. The mother shared with me how hard the situation was on her family, both economically and emotionally.  

I informed the woman about all the different ways The Salvation Army could help her family get through their crisis, including rental and utility assistance, transportation and clothing vouchers, and spiritual support. I also encouraged her to enroll in a long-term Salvation Army mentoring program called Pathway of Hope. 

The woman left my office filled with hope and gratitude.   

Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.