Founded in London in 1865 by Catherine and William Booth the Salvation Army was introduced to the U.S. in 1879. In the first decade the organization battled ridicule, arrests, and physical attacks. Holding on to the Christian faith, the founders of the Salvation Army remained persistent and persevered. Today the organization boasts a vast number of services; including, veterans affairs, prison ministries, and elderly services. The organizations adult rehab centers provide housing, work and therapy to those in need. The Salvation Army does not receive funds from the government but raises money through its thrift stores and Red Kettle Campaign donations.
Holiday shoppers are familiar with the red kettles hanging outside store fronts each year. The volunteers ringing bells and accepting donations may not be the same ones from the previous year, or years past, but they represent a tradition. In 1891 Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee launched this tradition when he decided to provided holiday dinner for the poor in San Francisco. He developed the Red Kettle Campaign idea after some brainstorming. Today more than 4.5 million people benefit from the Red Kettle Campaign during the holidays. Thanks to the internet people no longer have to wait till they pass a red kettle on the street but may make donations online at the Salvation Army website. Donations made will go to the persons local Salvation Army. Donations may be made individually, in group, or through companies. Holding strong by moving with the times, the Salvation Army kicked off its 123rd National Red Kettle Campaign with a LIVE performance from Selena Gomez. The Campaign raised more than $148.7 million last year.
The kick off celebration was held at AT&T Stadium during the Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders game. The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys have been partnering together since 1997, with the Cowboys helping the organization raise $1.75 billion.
Anyone wishing to find out information about how many people are assisted by the Salvation Army each year may view the yearly services statistics posted on their website. There are many testimonials from people who have been helped by the Salvation Army. The Orlando Sentinel reported on one such testimonial. Teresa Urqurhart is a woman who is currently in the Salvation Army’s Emergency Shelter Program. When Urqurhart lost her job in Philadelphia she relocated to Orlando hoping that she would get some support and housing from her mother. Due to unmentioned circumstances Urqurhart’s mother was unable to provide support. Faced with homelessness the mother of three signed up for the program. She is currently awaiting a certification in phlebotomy and will then begin looking for jobs. To be successful in the program like Urqurhart, individuals must have an outline of their goals and show that they are saving money.
Those who would like to donate clothing to a Salvation Army thrift store in order to help people like Urqurhart do not have to leave their houses to do so. The Salvation Army App allows people to schedule a donation pickup. Innovations like this have been beneficial in keeping the organization afloat. The Salvation Army has been around for one hundred plus years and it is still holding strong.
By Earnestine Jones
Source: Salvation Army