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We’re one of your neighbors

Submitted by on March 11, 2010 – 5 Comments

The Salvation ArmyWhen The Salvation Army comes to town, we become a part of the community. We join your Rotary or Kiwanis Club and get to know you. We shop at the farmers’ market, watch the high school football game, and stop by the corner coffee shop for a cup of joe on the way to work.

And, just to let you know how serious we are about becoming one of you, we buy a home in your neighborhood for our pastors – called officers – and their families to live in. We want you to know that we’re here to stay. The house is owned and maintained by The Salvation Army, not the officers who live in it. That way our officers can focus on doing the work God called them to do, like caring for inner-city kids, homeless people, or hungry families.

About every four or five years, the officers living in the house will leave to receive a new appointment. Our folks know going in that they’ll be moved every few years in order to match their experience with the needs of the Army and the community they serve. New officers come to take their place and start the process of getting to know you too.

The Salvation Army is a Christian organization built on a military structure. Taking an element that’s common to both, The Salvation Army provides a house and car to the officers in each appointment. Instead of paying our officers a salary comparable to that of their peers, we take care of their housing and transportation costs and give them a modest cash allowance to pay for other essentials.

For example, our leader in Los Angeles and his wife (also an officer) share a compensation package in the amount of $68,000; that’s what we report to the IRS. That amount includes their cash allowance, the costs associated with the cars, and approximately $2K per month for the value of housing, taxes, and upkeep expenses on the home. This helps us keep our costs low so more of your donation can be spent providing programs and services for people who need them.

That’s The Salvation Army’s model around the world. Even in Haiti. We’ve been a stable presence in the small island nation since 1950 and have more than 700 staff members there working at 60 service units. We take part in the life of the neighborhood, so when the catastrophic disaster hit people knew where to go for help. Our roots in Haiti go so deep that we’ve been blessed to distribute almost 5 million meals there so far.

Many people were surprised but comforted to know that we’ve served in Haiti so long, just like we’ve been in your town and the 5,000 others we’re a part of in the U.S.

We know our neighbors and understand their needs because we’re a part of the community too.

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