Salvation Army Central Territory announced Wednesday it will distribute $3.6 million to assist newly unemployed families throughout the Midwest.
Overall, 148 Salvation Army locations in 11 states will receive grants averaging $25,000. The grants, however, were partly earned by individual locations that had to match half of the requested amount with community donations.
The two-for-one matching donation made communities that raised $9,000, for instance, eligible for matching funds of $18,000, for a total of $27,000 for that local branch.
In total, over $1 million was raised by communities in the Midwest, with the rest coming from The Salvation Army's Central Territorial headquarters.
"The generosity of individuals, community organizations and churches has been remarkable. In communities throughout the Midwest, The Salvation Army quickly raised just over $1.3 million," said Commissioner Barry Swanson, commander of The Salvation Army Central Territory. "In these difficult times people are digging deeply to help those around them. We are deeply blessed and gratified by this support."
In February, Salvation Army leaders had called an "economic summit" in response to the economic crisis that resulted in increase demands for services. In an unprecedented decision by the leaders, the ministry made immediate grant money available to help the newly unemployed.
Traditionally, the ministry would take steps to implement a new program to meet a change in demand.
In recent months, local Salvation Army Corps have been seeing sharp increases in the number of people requesting assistance. And in some cases, the charity had to turn some people away because of higher demand.
Many Salvation Army Corps have reported that the cost of service for one individual or family has risen sharply over the past five years, and they are also finding that individuals and families are requiring more service per person than before the recession.
Money from the grant program will be used exclusively for families and individuals who are in crisis because of unemployment occurring after Oct. 1, 2008.
Among all the Midwest states, the Salvation Army in Illinois raised the most money. It raised $277,700 by community donations, which the headquarters will match with $504,000 for a fund total of $781,700. Thirty Salvation Army locations in Illinois will benefit from the fund that will be used to serve the newly unemployed.
Indiana raised the second largest amount, with a fund total of $406,100, and Iowa will receive a total amount of $124,300.
The Salvation Army is an evangelical ministry that has supported those in need since 1865. Each year, nearly 29 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army through social services such as food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, help for the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.
About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.