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About The Salvation Army

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The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year with food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing, shelter and opportunities for underprivileged children in nearly 9,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army serves in 108 countries, with programs designed to meet community needs of each location. 

The Salvation Army, is an international religious and charitable movement organized and operated on a quasi-military pattern and is a branch of the Christian church. Its membership includes officers (clergy), soldiers/adherents (laity), and members of varied associates and committed participants in its service function.

In 1878 Booth, while reading a printer's proof of the Annual Report, noticed the statement, '"The Christian Mission under the Superintendent's of the Rev. William Booth is a volunteer army.

He crossed out the words "Volunteer Army'" and penned in "Salvation Army'" From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army which was adopted in August of that same year.

The motivation of the organization is love of God and a practical concern for the needs of humanity. This is expressed by a spiritual ministry, the purposes of which are to preach the Gospel, disseminate Christian truths, supply basic human necessities, provide personal counseling and undertake the spiritual and moral regeneration and physical rehabilitation of all persons in need who come within its sphere of influence regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or age.


When 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.


As of April 1, 2011 The Salvation Army operates in 124 countries and provides services in 175 different languages. For administrative purposes, the organization divides itself geographically into territories, which are then sub-divided into divisions. In larger areas, regional and area commands are also introduced as sub-divisions of divisions. Each territory has an administrative hub known as territorial headquarters (THQ). Likewise, each division has a divisional headquarters (DHQ). Each of these territories is led by a territorial commander who receives orders from the Salvation Army's International Headquarters in London. A territory is normally led by an officer holding the rank of colonel (for small territories) or commissioner. In some countries, the work of The Salvation Army may be called a command, led by a command commander. A larger command is typically led by an officer holding the rank of colonel.

Its claimed membership (as quoted from 2010 Year Book) includes 16,938 active and 9,190 retired officers, 1,122,326 soldiers, 189,176 Adherents, 39,071 Corps Cadets, 378,009 Junior Soldiers, around 104,977 other employees and more than 4.5 million volunteers. Members of The Salvation Army also include "adherents", these are people who do not make the commitment to be a soldier but who formally recognize The Salvation Army as their church. (According to the 2006 Salvation Army Year Book, in the United States there are 85,148 Senior Soldiers and 28,377 Junior Soldiers, 17,396 Adherents and around 60,000 employees.)

The Army's current leader, General Linda Bond, was elected to this position on the 31st of January 2011, by The High Council of The Salvation Army. She assumed the rank of General and the mantle of International Leadership at 12:00 AM on April 2, 2011.

The Salvation Army is one of the world's largest providers of social aid, with expenditures including operating costs of $2.6 billion in 2004, helping more than 32 million people in the U.S. alone. In addition to community centers and disaster relief, the organization does work in refugee camps, especially among displaced people in Africa. The Salvation Army has received an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. In the United Kingdom, The Salvation Army is the largest non-governmental provider of social services. The Salvation Army is the second largest charity in the United States, with private donations of almost $2 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007.

In 2004, the Army in the United States received a $1.6 billion donation in the will of Joan B. Kroc, third wife of former McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc. This donation was among the largest individual philanthropic gifts ever given to a single organization. The donation came with certain restrictions that caused some controversy.

The International Congress of The Salvation Army is normally held every 10 years as a conference for all Salvationists from around the world to meet. The first such conference took place in London, UK, from May 28 to June 4, 1886, and subsequent Congressional meetings were held sporadically until 1904 and then 1990. The seventh International Congress in Atlanta, GA, USA, from Jun 28 to Jul 2, 2000, was the first held outside of the UK.



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