Several days ago I received a mail solicitation from the Salvation Army asking for a donation to help support a local shelter they operate. By coincidence I had toured this same shelter with a mens group I belong to a few days earlier. Come to think of it, the solicitation might not have been such a coincidence given the favorable impression the shelter made on our group.
The shelter was located in a resort facility that had failed–a local well-to-do family had helped the Salvation Army acquire the property, which turned out to be ideal for its mission. When we were touring the shelter we were told about this mission, which essentially is to help families temporarily down on their luck. People who were employed or employable but had lost everything including their home, usually because of illness and medical bills or abuse of credit card debt.
The shelter provides for such people who must be drug- and alcohol-free and employed (they help get them employed) and for a maximum of 120 days. In return the family must agree that during this period they save 80% of their earnings, thereby giving them a cushion when they are again on their own. The program is impressive and worthy of support.
Accompanying the solicitation I received was a piece entitled “Amys Story.” Amy is a person helped by this shelter and this is her “story.”
“Amy never intended to end up in a Salvation Army shelter. In fact she had a good job as an Office Manager and was happily married with three children. Life seemed good until her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“After 13 months of struggle and treatment, during which time Amy lost her job, Amys husband died. She was left alone to raise her family to pay off the debt caused by medical bills. Distraught with this impossible task, and overwhelmed by grief, Amy declared bankruptcy.
“A short time later, Amy found a job at $5.15 an hour as a grocery clerk and moved into an apartment with her three children. But her paycheck just didnt stretch far enough to cover rent, utilities, food and other expenses for her growing children.”
“I was scared and didnt know what to do. I didnt want my children to live on the street,” recalls Amy. “Then a friend suggested that I try the Salvation Army.”