I’ve been telling people for years, “Please don’t put money in those red Salvation Army kettles.” It had nothing to do with that hateful Salvation Army rep who proclaimed that gays deserve to die or any other LGBT issue but being a person that falls under the umbrella of the label, it certainly doesn’t help my opinion of that church organization. Plus, LGBT people are more likely to be poor than heterosexual and cisgendered people in America. Charities are supposed to want to help poor people.
I used to be quite involved volunteering for a local domestic violence shelter. I would get a phone call about once a week from the shelter coordinator. She would give me a list of things they needed. ASAP. Women ,both with and without children, would come to the shelter with literally only the clothes on their backs. Maybe they had a small diaper bag ready to go with a change of clothes,some diapers, a bottle but usually they didn’t.
As women settled in to the shelter, they needed proper clothing for going to job interviews. The kids needed clothes to go to school.
When the women were ready to leave the shelter and move in to a place of their own, they had no real belongings to set up a household. Not just no furniture but pots,pans,dishes,utensils,towels,bedding…
The things you need to make a household function & take care of yourself & family.
The domestic violence agency depended on donations from the community since they had no real budget to help buy clothing ,let alone things needed to set up a household. The most helpful source of non-private individual donations was Catholic Charities. The worst by far was The Salvation Army.
If they did agree to give a family a voucher, they were allowed : one cup,one spoon,one fork,one plate per person. No beds or even just a mattress. Not even sheets,towels,blankets. They could choose some clothing but I don’t remember how much. I’ve seen the large volume of donations made to the Salvation Army in my area. In fact, they send thousands of pounds of clothing to other countries.They could spare plenty for a family in need. They chose not to.
This wasn’t isolated to just the women trying to regain her life after domestic violence. I also mentored a lot of teen parents and the help they were given was the same. From what I saw personally, your house had to burn down to get any help from The Salvation Army. Or maybe your husband died just before Christmas. You could get some pity charity then.
They were also very clear that NO CASH GRANTS be given to families or individuals. The Salvation Army has a reputation of the place you go for thrifty shopping. The times I shopped there in the past, I did not find it affordable at all. I know that in part the high (to me) prices are because I live in a college town where an Ivy League University has residence and the SA prices things to take full advantage of wealthy student clientele base. I don’t know where the Salvation Army profits go specifically but I know it’s not directly to families who need help. It seems that The Salvation Army tends to make themselves front and center when disaster and tragedy hit in a community or nationwide. Not so much for the other times.
Now ,that’s my perspective in my community. I have heard that there are good things being done elsewhere by The Salvation Army . That’s great,I guess. That’s not what I saw here. I saw women (yes,they were always women. This does not mean there aren’t victims of domestic violence who aren’t women. That just happened to be what I saw) who were vulnerable and in need turned away when they easily could have been helped.
If you’re thinking of donating any spare change this Christmas time, think about your local food pantry. They are stretched thin nationwide. They will appreciate your donation and will gladly use it to help someone in need with no stipulations regarding sexual orientation or anything else.