It never ceases to amaze people when they learn how the Salvation Army manages to offer such a vast array of services.
During a recent open house at the St. Cloud-based Salvation Army facility, visitors heard the following statistics:
1. The Salvation Army serves close to 18,000 people who have emergency needs – both individuals and families in crisis situations. Those needs can include short-time assistance for rent, help in paying utilities, housing, transportation and medications.
2. It distributes annually more than 443,000 pounds of food through its food-shelf program.
3. It serves nearly 50,000 meals to children and adults through its Community Lunch Program, as well as an evening meal for shelter clients, five days a week.
4. The Salvation Army distributes more than 5,000 toys and 560 gift baskets during the Christmas season.
5. It provides, annually, an average of 15,000 nights of shelter to homeless individuals and families.
6. The facility offers many character-building programs for nearly 1,000 children.
7. It conducts worship services and spiritual-development programs.
Those seven programs are not even half of the other services available through the Salvation Army. Depending largely on how the economy fares, those statistics could increase once again during this year.
What makes it all possible? It’s the generous year-’round donations from individuals, businesses, agencies, churches and service organizations. And, not to forget, it’s possible because of almost 30,000 hours of time donated annually by 1,560 volunteers.
During the recent tour, Salvation Army Community Development Director Jim Muellenbach said he is constantly astonished by the generosity of the people in the greater St. Cloud area. When times get tough, one would think contributions would decrease. Not so – not in the greater St. Cloud area. Quit the opposite.
Muellenbach also shared another startling statistic that was published in The Wall Street Journal. One in five people will face some kind of crisis in their lives that will cause them to seek temporary help from or through an agency such as the Salvation Army. That should give us all pause to remember the sage saying, “There but for fortune go you and I.”
Some people, who are used to thinking of the Salvation Army as the bell-ringing holiday helper, are not aware of the vast variety of services offered by that great agency 365 days a year. Let’s even be more generous in the coming year, if not with money, then with volunteer time.
To donate, send a check to “Salvation Army,” 400 Hwy. 10 S., St. Cloud, MN 56304.
The volunteer coordinator, Barb, can be reached at 257-7435.