Serving People in Need

By Brian Vogeler, The Salvation Army

One of the questions we get asked a lot is what does The Salvation Army do?  The short answer is very simple.  We serve individuals who are in need in the mid-Missouri area.  The long answer is more complex but holds the same meaning.  For the past 100 years, The Salvation Army of Jefferson City has worked to meet human needs in His (Jesus Christ) name without discrimination.  So the next questions comes about in how do you meet these needs.

There are several different programs that we have available to those in our community.  First and foremost, we are a church.  We preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have church services every Sunday morning.  We have an adult Bible Study group, women’s and men’s ministries, as well as project Wild for youth.  The church is responsible for our Angel Tree program at Christmastime which helps children get gifts under their Christmas tree.  They also host the biggest Salvation Army fundraiser of the year which is our Red Kettle Program. 

The thrift store is a program that not only is a source of income for The Army, but also helps provide a valuable service.  We give clothing vouchers out to residents of the shelter, community members, as well as other United Way agencies.  They can then go take these vouchers and find clothing that will help them be successful in whatever venture they were needing the clothing for.  Whatever profit is made from the store goes back into the community by helping The Salvation Army to run its various programs.

Our Center of Hope homeless shelter is probably what we are most known for here in Jefferson City. The center houses 31 residents.  Our shelter is the only shelter in Mid-Missouri that houses men, women, as well as families.  When someone comes to stay at the Center of Hope, they receive not only a bed and 3 meals a day, but also case management. We also provide education through our life-skills classes.  We have various organizations and businesses come in and teach different topics.  Some of these topics are budgeting, employment obstacles, cooking, housing/rental issues and job training. Through our case management, we are able to assess the need for other services the United Way helps to fund.  Through all of us working together, we hope to make the individual successful.  Our case managers also help our clients overcome different challenges they face such as physical and mental health, employment assistance, signing up for government assistance and rental applications.  Last year alone the Center of Hope provided over 8,000 bed nights.  The Center of Hope has provided over 270,000 bed nights since opening its doors in 1999.

The Salvation Army offers a feeding program to not only our residents but the community as well.  Ever day we serve a free lunch and dinner to anyone who walks into the doors.  These meals are provided through a partnership with the Food Bank of Central & Northeast Missouri as well as churches, civic groups and businesses.  Last year, we served over 24,900 meals and 750,000 meals have been served since opening our doors in 1999.  If your family or group is looking for ways to give back to the community, providing a meal at the Center of Hope might be the opportunity you were looking for.

The Salvation Army has a food pantry that gives families a little extra food in their homes each month.  On Tuesday and Friday afternoons, families can come and receive a food box full of canned goods, shelf stable food and meat.  This food helps ease the cost at the grocery store.  Our food pantry gives out more than 300 boxes every month.  This helps all of Jefferson City but especially the parts that are in a food dessert.  
The Salvation Army also provides social service assistance to community members who are not a part of our shelter.  We assist with paying rent or utilities when families have fallen behind.  This program is essential as it helps people to stay in their homes.  Through this, we also have a Pathway of Hope program.  We work with families through case management to help end the cycle of crisis.  We help our clients to learn new techniques that they can use to grow out of poverty.

None of these programs would be possible without the support of The United Way of Central Missouri.  The Salvation Army is one of their 28 partner agencies. Not only does the United Way support our shelter and social service programs, but they also provide special grants.  One grant we received recently is to have an outdoor recreation space for our shelter residents.  This will provide an appropriate area for residents get outdoors and have a safe space to allow them to play games, have fellowship or just enjoy the sun.  

So again, what does The Salvation Army do?  Whatever is needed to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.