The Cambria County Salvation Army provides support to low income and vulnerable families in the county and across Western Pennsylvania. They operate regional programs, such as HeatShare which assists with paying heating bills, a local food pantry, Adopt-a-Family for Christmas toys, and many others. Additional information on their social services is below.
The amount of food insecurity in Cambria County is extensive, and is close to 15% of the population. This term refers to a lack of adequate food to maintain a healthy diet for children, seniors, and the working poor. The figures are based on data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of the region.
Low income or unemployed families may not always be in need of food from the Salvation Army pantry, but they have other challenges. So struggling households often purchase inexpensive yet unhealthy items that offers little nutrition. The Salvation Army in Cambria County can provide help so that these families are usually forced to choose between paying bills and purchasing nutritious food.
The Salvation Army non-profit agency operates other food assistance programs as well in an effort to help these households. Hot meals are provided year-round to anyone in need at the Salvation Army’s worship centers as well as soup kitchens. The agency has also partnered with Giant Eagle of Cambria County to administer the Round-Up for the Hungry program, which provides fresh fruits, meats, vegetables, and baby formula to underprivileged families.
A number of other food services are available through the Cambria County Salvation Army. Assistance is offered in facilities that are based in the various communities. Salvation Army resources include the Backpack Feeding Program for students, monetary aid for buying grocery expenses, free holiday meals and the supper club. Some of the preceding services are specifically designed for children or elderly individuals in Cambria County.
Thrift stores managed by the Salvation Army of Cambria Pennsylvania sell clothing and household items at greatly reduced prices. The locations, which are open to the public and have no application process, are stocked with new merchandise (such as clothes or furniture) each day.
In addition to general shopping that is available to the community, the agency has special sales events and offers daily cost-saving deals. The thrift stores are the primary source of funds for the Salvation Army in Cambria County, as the consumer sales help cover the agency’s overhead and program expenses.
Some free items may also be provided. In addition, the Salvation Army distributes clothing vouchers to children from struggling families as well as single adults coping with disasters and/or financial difficulties. Vouchers for paying for household items are provided to both individuals and low income families in need. There are income limits. Applicants must make an appointment with the Salvation Army center (address is below) in order to request vouchers for the thrift stores.
Low-income families or those in a job with low wages are often burdened by the cost of school supplies. These parents can turn to the Salvation Army center in Cambria County for assistance. Many local districts require specific school supplies that can be relatively expensive.
Families who cannot afford these items are sometimes forced to leave their children at a disadvantage in school. The Salvation Army helps underprivileged families that have children in the local school system by providing some or all of the required supplies or clothing to them, for free.
The Cambria County Salvation Army HeatShare program offers financial aid to individuals and families who have received a service-termination notice from their utility provider. This program not only helps clients pay their heating or gas bills during a crisis, but also addresses the circumstances that left clients unable to afford utility service.
The Salvation Army case managers based in Cambria Pennsylvania doe not simply process paperwork. They offer much more. The agency also conducts individual interviews with each client, identifying the factors contributing to the emergency and providing other forms of assistance. They direct the individual to LIHEAP application sites, budget counseling and other social services as needed. Many clients also receive monetary assistance for housing, utility service, grocCambrias and other basic needs.
The objective of this holistic approach is to reduce the likelihood of future crises or a disconnection of heating service during the fall or winter months. In many cases the grants for energy bills can even prevent homelessness. The HeatShare program is available throughout Cambria County.
In-person requests for a grant for HeatShare are received all year during the Salvation Army’s normal weekday hours. When staffing levels allow, the Salvation Army also takes telephone inquiries and referrals from other human-service agencies. Dial 1-800-842-7279 for details.
Through the Cambria County Salvation Army Treasures for Children, Angel Tree, Project Bundle-Up and Adopt-a-Family programs, the non-profit provides holiday assistance. There are free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, games for children, winter coats, clothing, toys, and gifts to thousands of needy individuals during the holiday season.
All of the holiday support relies on donations from residents of Cambria Pennsylvania. The Salvation Army takes these contributions and distributes these goods to underprivileged individuals and families.
Furthermore, the Salvation Army conducts holiday outreach services for individuals who may feel lonely during the holidays or do not have family nearby.Volunteers from the Cambria County center visit hospital patients, homebound senior citizens and nursing-home residents. They will try to bring them gifts, a food basket and company. The agency also visits the families of incarcerated persons in Western Pennsylvania to provide comfort and support.
The Salvation Army of Cambria relies on volunteers as well, in particular women. Any female interested in serving their local community should contact the center.
Volunteers have the opportunity to host Christmas, Easter, and/or birthday parties for clients of rehabilitation centers. They also provide support such as Bible lessons for inmates, administer fund raising activities, make gifts for homebound individuals, provide assistance during the application process for Christmas services and organize the Adopt a Family toy toy program.
The main location of the social service center is at 567 Vine Street, Johnstown, PA. Call (814) 539-3110, and referrals can be given to the programs above or others.
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