Salvation Army of Southern California

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Who We Are / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Salvation Army is global. And, The Salvation Army is local. As a local organization The Salvation Army works every day in Northeast Ohio to provide tangible assistance through programs with a dedicated staff and committed volunteers. Our programs are not generic in that one size fits all but is flexible to provide the right assistance needed at the right time to the right people.

Below is a list of many questions we receive. We hope they will be of assistance to you in getting to know us and how The Salvation Army works in the Northeast Ohio area, where there are needs to be met and to continue its mission and committment.


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How is my donation used?
The Salvation Army translates it's faith into action by offering programs and services to assist those in need in a variety of ways. Your gift can enable us to serve nutritious meals to older adults, shelter homeless families, help people overcome addictions, provide after-school tutoring and recreation, and send inner-city children to summer camp. If your concern is global, you can contribute to Salvation Army World Services, which provides such programs as HIV/AIDS clinics in Africa, homeless feeding services in Russia, enterprise development in the Philippines, and homes for orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico.

Why should I contribute to The Salvation Army?
There are several answers to this question. First, The Salvation Army has demonstrated its ability to effectively identify and efficiently meet urgent human needs in communities throughout the world for over 120 years. When you give to us, you know that your money is going to those who need it most. Second, the people we serve have multiple needs. The wide range of our programs means that we can deal with the whole person under the umbrella of a single agency. Third, our staff combines the expertise of professional training with the experience of working on a wide variety of social problems and emergency relief situations.

What does The Salvation Army do?
It is hard to list everything that The Salvation Army does since it does everything from feeding starving children and families through recovery from natural disasters to battling poverty, addiction and homelessness. They are a kind face to comfort the sick and elderly, a wise spirit to support the education of all ages, and a giving heart to address need wherever it occurs. For more information about specific activities and programs offered, please see the Services section of our web site.

Is The Salvation Army really an army?
The Salvation Army is not a physical army but rather a global army of people moved to humanitarian action through faith.

Are you a social services agency?
No, we are a group of committed Christians who are concerned to see that the gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - reaches the needs of the whole person. The Army's social work sprang out of such concern.

Does The Salvation Army help only those of a certain religion?
The Salvation Army pledges to help people of all religions, as well as those with no religious base. Its our official policy. "All social welfare services to individuals or families are given without discrimination, according to the capacity of the organization to serve in meeting the needs of those involved."

Do you have to join The Salvation Army church before The Army will help you?
No. We respect those who come to us in need, whatever their beliefs may be. We try to establish an environment in which spiritual choice is possible.

Does The Salvation Army discriminate in its delivery of services against those of a particular race or sexual orientation?
We strive to meet the needs of vulnerable groups and those overlooked or ignored in our communities. We make no distinction based on ethnicity or sexual orientation.

I can't make a financial contribution right now. How else can I help?
There are many ways to give to The Salvation Army and to those in need in your community. Donated items such as gift baskets for Christmas or toys and coats for kids make a big difference. You can also assist by repairing Salvation Army camps in your local area or donating camp equipment. Last but not least, you can simply give time by volunteering to help with our fundraising campaigns and other activities. Visit our Donate and Volunteer pages for more info.

How much of your money goes to administration?
The Salvation Army makes every effort to ensure that the maximum possible amount from donations reaches those in need. Approximately 87 cents of every dollar we collect goes in direct assistance to the homeless, the mentally ill, the physically challenged, victims of drug and alcohol abuse, and others under our care.

Is The Salvation Army only in the United States of America?

No. The Salvation Army actually began in London, England, before expanding to The United States. The Salvation Army currently has offices and services in 116 countries and territories and shares the gospel and love of the Lord in over 175 languages. This web site is dedicated to the Eastern Territory of The Salvation Army within the United States, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

How can I join or learn more about The Salvation Army?
We encourage you to contact your nearest Salvation Army office or headquarters if you are interested in joining or if you seek more information. Salvation Army locations in your area can be found in the Locations section of this web site. Those interested in contributing can also see our donations page or volunteer through the online Volunteering section. Thank you for helping us to help others.

How many people are in The Salvation Army?
There are currently well over 1 million soldiers of God within The Salvation Army worldwide. This includes volunteers, officers, and employees; and this number is growing. Please see our international statistics for more detailed information. Literally thousands of people participate in The Salvation Army's good deeds in the Eastern Territory alone.


What does the Salvation Army believe about God and the Christian life?
We believe the Bible is God’s word and forms the only basis for our faith and living. We believe there is only one God and he only should be worshipped, and that he expresses himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that God’s creation of the universe was perfect but when man first deliberately disobeyed God, sin and suffering entered the world. As a result, man’s relationship with God has been spoiled. We believe that Jesus is both truly divine and human. Through his suffering and death on the cross is given the only way by which sinful people - which means all mankind - can be forgiven. When we are forgiven, our relationship with God is put right and we receive new spiritual life. Although this is God’s free gift, we have a part to play in that process - we must be truly sorry for our wrongdoing and have faith in Jesus.

To maintain this new life we must continually have faith in Jesus and be obedient to him. Once we are ‘saved’, God gives us the help we need to live in the way he wants us to. We believe that our real selves (spirit) never dies but go on living beyond physical death. After this present life we will be accountable to God for how we have lived. Those whose lives have been as God has wished will live with him in eternal happiness; those who have not done so will be unhappy forever because they will be apart from God. These Christian beliefs which form our doctrine are relevant to all generations and point to the unchanging answer to people’s basic need of a right relationship with God.

Why Do Salvationists Wear Uniforms?
First, for those who see the uniform, the issue is identification. The Salvationist wears a uniform for many of the same reasons other service-centered personnel wear them. Whether the vocation is police work, the military, an airline pilot, or U.P.S. Delivery Driver, the uniform is an identifier. A link is made between the uniform and the one wearing it, giving the viewer a sense of the occupation. When someone sees an individual in a Salvation Army uniform, they associate that person with The Salvation Army; they see someone whose motto is "Saved to Serve"!

Next, for the wearer of the uniform, it is a witness of their faith in God. No one wears the uniform unless they are a soldier (member) of The Salvation Army. By putting on the uniform, they are publicly sharing their love for God, their relationship with Him, and their desire to serve Him by serving others.