The Lackawanna County Salvation Army may provide assistance to families in a crisis. The financial support is targeted towards individuals working towards self-sufficiency and that are faced with a short term emergency. Other basic need items, such as food, clothing, or Christmas assistance, may be a little more widely available in the community.
The emergency assistance for expenses such as rent or utility bills is very limited. If a service is not available, the case managers will try to offer referrals to other agencies in Lackawanna County. The Salvation Army is just one of the organizations to try for help. They often know of churches or other faith based groups that may also offer support.
After an appointment has been made, there will be a confidential, one-to-one interview. During this session the applicant should have proof of income, a budget, residency, and details on why they are struggling.
If possible, the Salvation Army staff member will offer a solution. It may include emergency assistance per below, or other long term support around budget counseling or employment. If government aid, such as SSI disability or food stamps, are an option, then help may be offered with that application process as well.
Food pantries – The staff as well volunteers work to acquire surplus USDA commodities or food from the larger Lackawanna County community. They may be food drives held, donations from restaurants or retailers, and in some cases there is a direct purchase service using Feeding America. Whatever is collected by the pantry then is available for qualified clients.
Volunteers from the Salvation Army may deliver, in limited instances, food or a hot meal to a homebound resident in Scranton Pennsylvania. The applicant needs to have a low income and no family or means to get out of their home. In some cases, the disabled or senior citizens qualify for this home delivery of food.
Clothing and basic needs – There are resources that can provide clothing, but his depends on goods that were donated. Some examples of what may be offered in western Pennsylvania (though there are no guarantees) include shoes, boots, maternity clothes, and school uniforms for students.
During a disaster, or if the family has exceptional circumstances, the Salvation Army may have free clothing vouchers. These will allow the Lackawanna County resident to receive a critical article of clothing or maybe something else they need, such as toiletries.
Seniors and children – These two groups are very vulnerable during difficult economic times. Case managers always try to focus on meeting their needs. Whether it is a box of groceries or meal for students from the Backpack Feeding Program, or someone delivering a meal and checking up on a senior, help is available.
Financial aid - The Lackawanna County Salvation Army may, in some cases, offer funds for paying critical living expenses. This includes back rent to those families facing eviction or a security deposit for the homeless. There are various criteria in place, including based on income, disability, age, and other factors.
Utility bill help can also be arranged. Referrals can be given to federal grants from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Heat Share, which is a Salvation Army affiliated program in Scranton and nearby counties. Often clients are given a credit on their energy costs instead of cash.
Seasonal assistance – These also depend on donations, and the concept is similar to that of the pantry. When possible, there may be free Back-to-School supplies. Winter coats and boots for children are from Project Bundle-Up, and Christmas assistance is also available. The Salvation Army in Scranton offers Adopt a Family for gifts or they will serve free hot meals during Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.
Volunteers from the Lackawanna County center also visit nursing home residents as well as hospital patients in Lackawanna County to bring them holiday joy. The fellowship provided may the only visitor that someone gets. They will try to bring them a gift as well when possible.
The Lackawanna County Service Center is at 500 South Washington Street, Scranton, PA 18505. The phone number for intake is 570.344.9878.
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