The Salvation Army: a Faith-Based Consumer-Based Provider

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The Salvation Army:

A Faith-based Consumer-based provider

This paper was prepared for History and Development of

Human Services, HUMN 8150,

Abstract

To examine how the Salvation Army remains a faith-centered organization while

making the transition from a provider-based to a consumer-based organization

and how this has affected its delivery of services and provides its services to all

regardless of race, creed, color, sex or socio-economic status.

The Beginning

The Salvation Army, founded in 1865 started out as a religious-based

organization whose purpose was to minister and “preach the gospel of Jesus

Christ to the poor, homeless, the hungry and the destitute” (The Salvation Army

2012). It started in England under the auspices of William Booth, an evangelist, who with his wife, Catherine traveled throughout England preaching to those that society deemed unfit and unworthy and the church would not allow due to their past. In 1879, the Salvation Army was introduced to the United States when Lieutenant Eliza Shirley followed her parents to the United States. She held the first meeting of the Salvation Army in Philadelphia where they were welcomed with open arms. It was because of this that Lt. Shirley asked General Booth to send others to help assist her.

According to the website the mission statement is, “ The Salvation Army, an

International movement is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church.

Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God.

Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human need in His

name without discrimination” (The Salvation Army 2012) .

Evolution and Historical Factors

Since it’s inception, the Salvation Army has grown form a provider-based

organizations relying on help from the church and people in the community to

The Salvation Army: Caring in times of crisis a consumer-based organization receiving funding from the community, private donations and partnerships with other organizations. During the Great Depression there were very limited funds available to provide the services and meet the needs of those they intended to help. They relied mainly on the donations of those who were still able to help, but still in a limited capacity due to the state of the economy at that time (Hasenfeld 2010). As times have changed, the Salvation Army’s focus has changed to a consumer-based model. They now assist with disaster relief, prison rehabilitation, summer camps, senior services, homeless services, just to name a few. Just as it was during the Great Depression, homelessness is still a problem in this country and has grown due to the recent downturn in the economy and other factors such as drug abuse and domestic violence. The Salvation Army has been on the forefront of providing services to homeless people of all ages, men, women, children, but also offer transitional, comprehensive , family housing and housing for troubled teens. For example, in Philadelphia the Salvation Army runs the Eliza Shirley shelter, which provides emergency shelter for single women, homeless mothers and fathers with children.

Political Factors

Since The Salvation Army is based on religious principles, politics does not

and has never played a role in it’s distribution of services or to whom they

provide those services. The...
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