Nancy, a Hilltop resident, first came to The Salvation Army when she had to go on disability and was helping to raise her grandchildren. "We first came for the hot lunches, and then I found out about all of the free children's programming," she said. Her granddaughter, Melia, received free music lessons at The Salvation Army as a young child. Melia is now attending college where she is a member of the marching band and is studying to become a music teacher.
Through the years The Salvation Army has been a constant source of support for Nancy's family by providing food from the pantry, utility bill assistance, furniture, hot weekly meals and the monthly food box program for senior citizens. Nancy puts it this way, "The Salvation Army has always been a place we could turn to. Whatever we have needed, they helped us. This is my family, we've been together a long time...they're my heart."
Today, Nancy enjoys coming to The Salvation Army on a regular basis to volunteer and to attend Sunday worship services.
Ranisha found herself in a very difficult situation. Should she take her two young children and leave their home, or continue to suffer in an abusive relationship with her husband, who she had been with for six years?
When Ranisha made the courageous decision to leave, she moved into a friend's home and paid her portion of the rent. However, the friend didn't pay the landlord, and they were evicted. Homeless, fearful and with no other option, Ranisha and her children went to a local shelter. Fortunately her stay at the shelter was brief thanks to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army's direct housing case manager assisted Ranisha with finding an apartment, and The Salvation Army provided her with rental assistance, householf items, furniture, and lots of emotional support.
Life is very different now for this once shattered family. Ranisha is gainfully employed full time at a local hospital, and she is able to maintain a home for her family. With a thankful heart, Ranisha shares, "I will never forget how my Salvation Army case manager was there for me."
Greg is an Iraqi war veteran. He was a full time student finishing up his college degree while his wife worked full time and was the primary wage earner. Krista was pregnant with their second child and was unexpectedly placed on early unpaid maternity leave, and they suddenly found themselves in a crisis without income. They began to fall behind on bills and faced eviction.
That's when they turned to The Salvation Army Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and were connected to a Salvation Army case manager. The Salvation Army offered financial help to bring them current on their rent and stop eviction proceedings. The case manager also gave them budget advice and inspired them to find a more affordable day care for their daughter, Ellie. Greg was referred to the Vocational-Rehab program. With assistance, the family got back on track. Greg graduated and found a full-time job as a Shipping Manager within a month of exiting The Salvation Army program. Not only are they maintaining their bills, but in January 2018 they were able to purchase their first home.
"It was a struggle for us to pay the bills on one income. The Salvation Army helped me create a budget, helped with Christmas, helped stock our shelves with food, and gave us the guidance and support that I needed to get back on my feet again. - Greg
Adam, a fourth grader, struggled with behavioral issues and obstacles to learning. His mom, LeAnne, saw him slipping through the system and wanted to make sure he was involved with other kids. She brought Adam to The Salvation Army Learning Center so he could interact with peers and receive tutoring assistance. The staff worked with Adam to strengthen his reading and math skills. As a result, he showed improvements in both areas, especially math.
LeAnne is thankful for Adam's academic progress and is amazed by the social growth he displays after attending The Salvation Army's summer program, saying, "He would lash out at people. He didn't really have any friends. But he went on field trips to the zoo, the Wilds and camping, and he learned how to speak to and get along with others and to follow the rules.
Adam continues to improve at school and is now a B/C student. He can even work independently.
One of the longest standing traditions in The Salvation Army is brightening the holidays for families. Many parents are forced to make tough choices between paying bills and buying toys for their children. The Salvation Army eases that burden by helping thousands of families provide Christmas dinner and toys for their families. Through the Red Box, Angel Tree and Adopt-a-Family programs the Central Ohio community contributes to our Christmas efforts. Here's what parents said:
"It's a miracle. The Cheer program gives us a chance to have Christmas dinner that we wouldn't have."
"The Salvation Army made Christmas happen for my kids. I'm very grateful for them."
"My husband and I were so stressed about how we were going to do Christmas for the kids."
The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center is a no-fee residential rehabilitation program for men focusing on combating addiction, building work and social skills, regaining health and stability, and restoring families. Proceeds from sales at The Salvation Army thrift stores fund the local Adult Rehabilitation Center.
"I'd been on meth for 10 years and had no hope...It saved my life."
"Thank you for giving me the help I needed to get back to my family." - Adult Rehabilitation Graduate
For more than two centuries, THe Salvation Army has stood firmly behind women and children subjected to organized commercial sexual exploitation. In Central Ohio, The Salvation Army's Anti-Human Trafficking efforts focus on services to human trafficking survivors, victim advocacy, demand reduction, education and public awareness.
"I'm sober, I'm free and I'm loved."
"If I didn't get help from The Salvation Army, I don't know what would have happened to me." - Human Trafficking Survivor