Donations in Action: Happy birthday to you

Mar 18, 2021

"Donations in Action" is a regular series about the many ways The Salvation Army Northern Division and our supporters serve people and families in Minnesota and North Dakota. Below are examples of how our staff, volunteers, donors, and partners are making a positive impact during these uncertain times.

Please join us by giving a donation. Your gift will provide emergency assistance for those who desperately need it. 

Happy birthday to you

A single mother contacted us to access her local Salvation Army food pantry after being laid off from her job in food service due to the pandemic. A mix-up with her unemployment benefits had left her broke, and she had yet to receive her stimulus payment.

Her voice cracked as she explained that she’d never had to visit a food shelf before. Our caseworker assured the mother that there was nothing to be ashamed of – her situation was the new normal in the COVID-19 era. 

During the woman’s food shelf appointment, the caseworker noticed that the woman’s son had a birthday coming up. The caseworker asked the woman if she’d like a birthday box that was donated by a local group. The box contained cake mix, frosting, candles, plates, napkins, and a disposable baking pan. 

The woman burst into tears. She said she didn't know how she was going to keep her kids fed, let alone have any kind of birthday party for her son. 

“This little box is certainly an answer to prayers,” the woman told us.  

From bags to riches

Late last year a woman in her 20s came to our social services office in downtown Minneapolis, holding six big trash bags containing all of her belongings. She could barely stand still because she was so scared and anxious.

We arranged for a taxi to bring the woman to a nearby Salvation Army shelter. A caseworker at the shelter greeted her at the door and assured her that everything would be OK. 

The caseworker discovered that the woman had escaped an abusive relationship and lost everything in the process, including her car and 10-year career in restaurant management.   

During the next few months, our team gave the woman all she needed to stabilize: food, shelter, counseling, a sense of safety, and more. Slowly, she began to rediscover the richness of safe and healthy living.  

Recently, the woman began a new life in a long-term supportive housing community that our caseworker found for her.  

“She was elated,” the caseworker said. “This is a great example of different branches of The Salvation Army working together to help people in need. We are excited for this woman to begin the next chapter of her life.”

When best isn’t good enough

A local school district called us in search of help for a single mom with four school-age kids. She worked two jobs, but her hours had been cut drastically due to COVID-19. To make matters even more difficult, she was also dealing with the added stress of distance learning for all four of her kids. She was giving her best, but her best still wasn’t good enough.  

Our caseworker met with the woman immediately to learn more about how The Salvation Army could help. The woman’s most pressing need was to get caught up on her rent. 

“I called her landlord to see what we could do,” the caseworker said. “I could tell the landlord really liked her because she was a good tenant and normally paid her rent on time.” 

Thankfully, The Salvation Army’s rent assistance program was able to get the woman caught up on her rent. The woman was grateful.

“I’m glad the school district reached out to us on this woman’s behalf,” the caseworker said. “This woman is from Africa, and English is not her first language; it would have been hard for her to advocate for herself. It felt good to assist someone impacted by COVID-19 who is working two jobs just to survive.”

Please join The Salvation Army in serving those affected by the COVID-19 crisis by giving a donation or signing up to volunteer. Your help will provide emergency assistance and hope for people and families in desperate need.

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