The Salvation Army has one goal in mind: help as many people in as many ways as possible. Across the globe, The Salvation Army operates in 127 countries, running 16 general hospitals, along with 36 other specialty hospitals, 276 clinics and mobile health clinics . The organization, which began in London more than 150 years ago, operates from coast-to-coast in the United States, providing some of the most basic human necessities for survival: food and safe shelter.
“We try to do as much as we can in as many communities as we can,” said Michal Machnowski, program specialist at the National Social Services office of The Salvation Army. “We provide assistance in numerous spaces depending on what each individual community’s needs are.”
In the United States, The Salvation Army is divided into 4 Territories and each Territory is comprised of approximately 10 Divisions. Each Territory operates as its own corporation, guiding the development and programmatic efforts in each Division. This independence allows each local operation to make decisions on behalf of the local community and its specific needs.
“In the end, our mentality is that what the corps thinks is best for their community is what they need to do,” Michal said. “We, in the national office, are not engaging with that community every day, so while we may make suggestions on which programs promise great benefits, we leave the final decisions up to each local unit.”
In his role as program specialist, Michal educates and informs each local corps about programs that may make an impact on a community’s needs. Some of these programs are national programs, like LIHEAP, that make funds available to citizens through state grants. Michal educates the local corps about LIHEAP and how the program works, enabling that organization to assist local residents with gaining utility bill support.
The impact and breadth of the programs that The Salvation Army offers and supports is remarkable. Last year, the organization:
- Assisted more than 200,000 people through drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers;
- Operated more than 46 summer camps to disenfranchised youth across the United States;
- Provided 40 million meals to hungry Americans;
- Supplied a safe place to sleep for more than 10 million;
- Deployed more than 500 mobile feeding units as part of its Emergency Disaster Services department.
In addition, the national organization advocates on behalf of programs that it supports, including LIHEAP. Last year, The Salvation Army gathered letters of support to increase federal funding of the program to the $4.7 billion mark and educated its local corps about the program, including the benefits of the program for individuals and communities.
“The idea is that wherever there’s a need, we will fill it,” Michal said.
From local units to the national organization, The Salvation Army works hard to live up to its national mission: Doing the Most Good for adults, children and families facing emergencies, disasters, and crises. For more information about The Salvation Army and ways to get involved, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.