The Salvation Army relies on donations in order to be able to fulfill the organization's mission, which is committed "to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination." In an exclusive interview during the time she was employed as Director of Public Relations and Volunteer Services for the Mobile, Alabama Command of the Salvation Army, Stacey Killingsworth shared insights regarding how the group allocates various types of donations.
As an "international Christian organization," The Salvation Army provides a wide variety of services throughout the world. Monetary donations provide funding for the group's various services and programs. According to NBC News, "82 cents of every dollar donated" to the organization is used for these purposes. Think about that the next time you see the signature red kettles and bell ringers associated with the group's annual Christmas fundraiser or you're thinking about making an outright donation to a charitable organization.
Examples of Services Supported
The services offered vary by location, but all are focused on providing support and assistance to people who are facing difficult situations. According to Killingsworth, examples include things like:
- Addiction treatment centers
- Work therapy programs
- Job training and employment services
- Shelters for homeless men, women, and families (including programs to help families stay together)
- Disaster recovery assistance
- Emergency assistance services for people in need
Examples of Programs Supported
Donations also help support a wide variety of programs the organizatoin offers. Killingsworth indicates the group's programs include:
- Angel Tree: Provides Christmas gifts for children within the community
- Neediest Families: Extended assistance program for families in crisis
- Spirit of Giving: Holiday toy and food drive
- Holiday Meals: Provides traditional restaurant-style Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for those in need
Saleable items donated to The Salvation Army are sold to provide financial support for various services and programs. Some items are sold through the organization's thrift stores, while large items such as donated cars are sold in other ways.
Contact your local thrift store to find out what kinds of items are accepted. The group's stores typically accept a wide variety of items, including clothing, accessories, shoes, household goods, furniture, appliances, electronics, and more. Killingsworth noted, "Toys are generally not accepted at area stores due to lead-based paint or pieces that can break off and lodge in children's throats."
Some donations come in the form of food. Local commands accept, and often actively solicit, donations of non-perishable food to stock their pantries, as an important part of The Salvation Army's mission is to "feed the hungry."
Killingsworth stated, "Food donations go to our kitchen and food pantry to help provide meals to the homeless/transient population in our area as well as our in-house residents. In-house residents are individuals who are under-going substance abuse treatment in our facility."
How to Help
There are several ways to help support this organization's important work. The Salvation Army truly relies on the support of donors to finance programs and services, but volunteers are vital as well. Killingsworth indicated, "The Salvation Army offers a myriad of volunteer opportunities to those individuals wishing to volunteer their time and services."
Donations of saleable items and money are, of course, always welcome. According to Killingsworth, "Cash, check, credit cards and automated drafts are forms of accepted payments." Paypal is also accepted. Tax-deductible donations can be made online or by reaching out to the command in your local area. No matter how you would like to contribute, your gift(s) will be put to good use!