Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Salvation Army.

This section provides answers to our most frequently asked questions about The Salvation Army. These questions and answers came from visitors like you. We hope you find them helpful and informative.

What does The Salvation Army do?
The Salvation Army is active in 5,000 communities across the United States with worship centers as well as programs and services for hungry individuals and families, homeless people, at-risk kids, senior citizens, pregnant and parenting teens, disaster survivors, victims of domestic violence, drug addicts and alcoholics and so much more. For more information about specific activities and programs offered, please see the Ways We Help portion of this web site.

Are you a social services agency?
We are a group of committed Christians who believe we are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ and help meet human need in His name.

Is The Salvation Army really an army?
The Salvation Army is not a military force, but rather a global ‘army’ of people moved to humanitarian action through faith.

Does The Salvation Army help only those of a certain religion?
The Salvation Army helps people of all religions, as well as those with no religion at all. All social welfare services to individuals or families are given without discrimination, according to the capacity of the organization to serve in meeting the needs of those involved.

Do you have to join The Salvation Army church before the Army will help you?
We respect those who come to us in need, whatever their beliefs may be. We try to establish an environment in which spiritual choice is possible.

Does The Salvation Army discriminate in its delivery of services against those of a particular race or sexual orientation?
We serve where there is need and make no distinction based on ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Does The Salvation Army help only senior citizens?
The Salvation Army helps people of all ages. Young people benefit from many of our services including kids clubs, homework havens and tutoring programs, which provide a safe environment for children and teens. Other beneficiaries of our services include single mothers, abused women, drug and alcohol addicts, the homeless and the physically challenged.

Does The Salvation Army help only those who are beyond rehabilitation?
The Army believes that everyone has the capacity to determine a solution for their problems. A great many of our programs are directed at helping people turn their lives around. Every year, we help thousands of individuals find their way to a better life for themselves and their families.

Why should I contribute to The Salvation Army?
There are several answers to this question. First, The Salvation Army has demonstrated its ability to effectively identify and efficiently meet urgent human needs in communities throughout the world for over 120 years. When you give to us, you know that your money is going to those who need it most. Second, the people we serve have multiple needs. The wide range of our programs means that we can deal with the whole person under the umbrella of a single agency. Third, our staff combines the expertise of professional training with the experience of working on a wide variety of social problems and emergency relief situations.

I can’t make a financial contribution right now. How else can I help?
There are many ways to give to The Salvation Army and to those in need in your community. Donated items such as gift baskets for Christmas or toys and coats for kids make a big difference. You can also assist by repairing Salvation Army camps in your local area or donating camp equipment. Last but not least, you can simply give time by volunteering to help with our fundraising campaigns and other activities.

How is my donation used?
The Salvation Army translates its faith into action by offering programs and services to assist those in need in a variety of ways. Your gift can enable us to serve nutritious meals to older adults, shelter homeless families, help people overcome addictions, provide after-school tutoring and recreation, and send inner-city children to summer camp. If your concern is global, you can contribute to Salvation Army World Services, which provides such programs as HIV/AIDS clinics in Africa, homeless feeding services in Russia, enterprise development in the Philippines, and homes for orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico.

Can I have a monthly donation deducted from my checking account?
The answer is yes! The Salvation Army offers Donor Direct, a program that allows you to make a regular contribution to The Salvation Army each month without the hassle of mailing in checks. Once you sign-up, we'll automatically debit your checking account. It's easy to sign up. All you need to do is fill out a Donor Direct authorization form, and mail it to the Donor Direct coordinator of your local Salvation Army, along with a copy of a voided check. More information about Donor Direct is available online under Ways You Can Help.

How much of my money goes to administration?
The Salvation Army makes every effort to ensure that the maximum possible amount from donations reaches those in need. Approximately 82 cents of every dollar we collect goes in direct assistance to the homeless, the mentally ill, the physically challenged, victims of drug and alcohol abuse, and others under our care.

What is the role of volunteers in The Salvation Army?
Volunteers give us valuable assistance in many ways. Last year alone, we had over 3.4 million volunteers across the country working in a variety of capacities and alongside our employees to provide direct services to those in need.

My business has an interest in helping specific causes. How can I ensure that our contribution will go to these causes?
Donations that are specified or designated for a certain program or region are used to support that program and/or region directly. If you wish to specify your gift, this should be clearly noted when you make your donation. Our online donations page, for example, gives you a special box to specify such information.

Is The Salvation Army only in the United States of America?
No. The Salvation Army actually began in London, England, before expanding to The United States. The Salvation Army currently has offices and services in 122 countries and territories and shares the gospel and love of the Lord in over 160 languages.

How does The Salvation Army ensure that its programs meet the same quality standards across your region?
The Salvation Army is involved in the continuous development and promotion of new and innovative strategies for service delivery. Social service centers across the country are engaged in an ongoing process of evaluation and improvement through an accreditation program managed by our national office.

Is The Salvation Army making a difference in my community?
Because of the wide scope of the services we offer, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to think in terms of long term solutions to social problems. We certainly continue to meet the short term needs of individuals for food, shelter and clothing. Our long term care services provide a continuum of care based on the philosophy of “aging in place” wherever possible. It is very likely that there are people in your community that have been served by one or more of our many services. Please see our Locations for more information about Salvation Army centers near you.

Why do you wear those uniforms?
Mainly because it gives us an “open door” to service and because the uniform tells everyone that the wearer is a Christian who will be glad to help. Also, we have never heard of an Army without uniform. Uniforms are worn by members of our clergy and by some members of our congregations.

Why should I help people on the street when they won’t help themselves?
In these tough times, we all know of people who have suffered losses through no fault of their own. When such an event happens, The Salvation Army is there to help. If social issues are left unattended, they affect society. Drug problems, for example, often lead to crime. Giving to The Salvation Army is an investment in prevention. Through our programs, people are taught to behave responsibly and to assume control of their own lives.

How can I join or learn more about The Salvation Army?
We encourage you to contact your nearest Salvation Army office or headquarters if you are interested in joining or if you seek more information. Salvation Army locations in your area can be found in the Locations portion of this web site. Those interested in contributing can also see our donations page or volunteer through the online Volunteering section. Thank you for helping us to help others.

How many people are in The Salvation Army?
There are nearly 4 million soldiers of God within The Salvation Army worldwide. This includes volunteers, officers, and employees; and this number is growing. Literally thousands of people participate in The Salvation Army’s good deeds in the United States alone.