Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Christmas has an Army

Christmas Has An Army

Poverty is an everyday battle. People experiencing poverty are not without hope – their lives are just harder than they should be. But, The Salvation Army is helping to make their lives a little easier, thanks to your gifts of time and money.

What If Everyday Became a Battle?

What if your everyday errands and responsibilities each became a battle to fight? What if you couldn’t take for granted that insurance would pay for that trip to the ER, that each child in the family would have their own bed to sleep in, that a trip to the grocery store would be as simple as swiping a debit card, or that when winter came, you could just switch on the heat?

Here are some real-life examples of people who fought and won the daily battle against poverty.

Paralyzed Man vs. Hunger

An older gentleman named Gus came to The Salvation Army in need of food and other assistance. The right side of his body was paralyzed due to a stroke he’d suffered recently. He began having trouble filling out the necessary paperwork. “It is too painful to continue,” Gus told our social worker.

The social worker told Gus it was OK not to finish, that he would still receive food today. He was given bags of groceries filled with meat, fruit, vegetables, and canned goods.

A week later, Gus returned to The Salvation Army and donated $50. He wanted to give back to The Salvation Army for helping him. He said he wouldn’t need assistance again, and that he was thankful The Salvation Army was there for him the one time he did.

 Woman vs. Work Clothes

A woman named Tricia came to The Salvation Army with a simple but critically important need: work clothes.

She’d found a good-paying job as a restaurant server, but she didn’t have enough money to pay for the required clothing – black pants and black shoes. Tricia had been battling unemployment for a long while and was out of money, with no family support.

One of our social workers gave Tricia a voucher to spend at a Salvation Army Store. Tricia went to her nearest location and got the clothes she needed to start her new job.

Single Mom vs. Online Shopping

Wendy is a low-income single mom with two young daughters. A Salvation Army social worker took her to a retail store to purchase back-to-school supplies for her girls. When they arrived, Wendy was disappointed to learn that the sale she’d heard about was only offered online. Incredibly, she did not know how to shop online.

The social worker and Wendy agreed to use the dilemma as an opportunity for Wendy to learn a new life skill. They purchased a gift card at the store, headed back to The Salvation Army, and sat down at a computer. The social worker taught Wendy how to use her gift card to purchase all of the back-to-school supplies her daughters needed. Wendy was grateful.

 Fired Worker vs. Poor Eyesight

John’s eyesight had been deteriorating for three years, and it finally landed him in a catch-22. He had lost his job because of his poor eyesight, but when he’d been employed, he did not have good health insurance or enough money to see an optometrist.

With no income and a dwindling savings account, John came to The Salvation Army for help. Right away, one of our social workers referred him to a special program that provides eye care for those who cannot afford it. John received a full eye exam and new glasses at no charge. He could see again.

John’s next hurdle was to find a new job. The social worker gave him all the resources he needed to begin his employment search.

 Mother and Son vs. Utility Disconnection

Matthew is a Personal Care Attendant for his mother, Linda, who lives with brain damage and physical limitations. Although Matthew had been doing his best to care for his mom, money was tight, and he’d fallen behind on their energy bill.

With a disconnection looming, Matthew looked to The Salvation Army for financial help. He received it when one of our social workers used Salvation Army funds to pay the overdue bill. Matthew and Linda were ecstatic.

Later, the social worker told Matthew to call The Salvation Army if he ever needed help applying for benefits. Matthew said he was thankful for this offer because it freed him from the fog of having to navigate “the system” alone.

 Man vs. Stroke

Jerry suffered a stroke at just 53 years old. He’d spent months in therapy, unable to work. Eventually, he was forced to make a decision: pay his medical bills, or pay his rent.

Jerry chose to pay his medical bills so that he could continue with therapy. His treatments were successful enough that, eventually, his doctor cleared him to return to work. But by then, Jerry was facing an eviction.

With no place left to turn, Jerry called The Salvation Army. One of our social workers used Salvation Army funds to pay the minimum amount required to prevent Jerry from being left alone on the street. Soon afterward, Jerry returned to work and received his first paycheck. He made it after that.

 Family vs. Bed Bugs

Nancy and Edward were in a tough spot. Edward had been hospitalized due to complications with diabetes, and their son’s emotional problems were getting worse. Just when the family thought their lives couldn’t be more difficult, they discovered that their furniture had become infested with bed bugs. They didn’t have extra money to buy new furniture or hire an exterminator.

Nancy looked to The Salvation Army for help. One of our social workers connected her with an agency that provides used furniture for a nominal fee – which The Salvation Army paid. After Nancy received the furniture, she called to say how much the help meant to her, crying on the phone.

 Grace vs. Discipline

A local police officer escorted a young woman named Kim into our office after pulling her over a few minutes before. Instead of giving her a ticket, he’d chosen to bring her to a place he could trust – The Salvation Army.

The officer had recognized Kim from when he used to perform community policing at her school. He told our social worker that she was a good kid who’d just made some bad choices. Kim hugged the police officer, and both began to cry.

After the police officer left, the social worker gave Kim a bag filled with food and emergency supplies, and she spoke to Kim about available housing and counseling programs.

Single Mother vs. Hurricane Irma

A single mother named Joan recently left Minnesota to live in Florida but had to come right back in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The distraught woman came to The Salvation Army with a long list of needs for herself and her kids. Our social workers gave her everything she needed, including food, school supplies, diapers, and winter coats.

Joan also received tickets to the Crayola Experience at Mall of America. Our social workers figured that she and her kids would enjoy doing something fun together to take their minds off the trauma they’d experienced. Joan was so grateful for everything.

 Woman vs. Car Repairs

Two of the tires on Jennifer’s car were flat. Despite working full-time, she couldn’t afford new tires. She could barely afford her monthly medications and weekly food bill.

Jennifer called on The Salvation Army for help. One of our social workers requested that she visit a local tire shop for an estimate on two new tires. The estimate turned out to be within Salvation Army guidelines, so Jennifer scheduled the repair.

At the tire shop, Jennifer learned that both tires could be patched instead of replaced, dropping the cost of the repair from $200 to $20. Coming in under-budget allowed Jennifer to qualify for other Salvation Army assistance that addressed her health needs. She was elated.

The scenarios described above are real people helped by The Salvation Army Northern Division. Names were changed to protect each individual’s privacy.

Join the Fight for Good

"I Fight for Good" badge

Thankfully, there’s an Army – made up of people just like you – that seeks to start seeing the poverty that has always existed around them.

If you desire to do something good, to further a cause you care about, to join the battle against poverty – here are three simple ways to join us in the fight for good:

  1. Donate at a red kettle or online. Fight poverty one dollar and one coin at a time by giving each time you pass a red kettle, or support your local Salvation Army through an online donation.
  2. Become a volunteer bell ringer. Join the fight against poverty by giving your time as a red kettle bell ringer. Kettles with volunteer ringers raise double the amount of funds that support our poverty-fighting programs.
  3. Recruit your own army. The fight for good needs soldiers. Recruit others to join the fight for good by setting up a fundraiser and sharing your passion for helping others on