The Salvation Army across Otter Tail Minnesota and nearby counties help hundreds of families per year. While resources are limited, if the locations can’t provide you or your family with direct aid then they may have referrals or other forms of support. The centers are part of the nationwide Salvation Army network and work to alleviate hunger, prevent homelessness, and offer self-sufficiency.
When you are out of options and have applied for, or used up, all other assistance programs from the government or non-profits, then the Salvation Army may have emergency assistance for those that qualify. Some details are below.
There may be financial assistance for partial bills such as rent, food, utilities, or clothing may be available. For example, one of the main resources in Otter Tail, Becker, and Wilkin County is to prevent utility disconnections. The agency is part of the Minnesota HeatShare program. From this the Salvation Army may be able to help people pay their utility bills or acquire the fuel they need. Applicants need to have a shut-off notice and meet other conditions.
Other crisis aid can sometimes include funds for prescriptions, transportation and miscellaneous basic needs. Once again, as noted, referrals to other resources and charities are often included where The Salvation Army cannot provide help directly to the less fortunate. The main centers in the region can be contacted.
Housing solutions may be lodges, shelters, and transitional housing programs. For those that were evicted and need somewhere to stay for a short period of time, then transitional housing is a form of shelter. It really provides people the opportunity to find a permanent place to live.
Other specialty shelters are for victims of domestic violence, children, or substance abusers. Counseling services are usually provided in each shelter. The Salvation Army will often work with other groups across Minnesota to offer these services.
The housing programs will also usually coordinate classes where people can get necessary skills and gain financial stability. This is needed to ensure individuals become, and also remain, self-sufficient. In Clay County, life skills training is a goal and includes GED completion, anger management, self-esteem classes, child care, budgeting, parenting, and of course job placement.
Rent assistance may be offered when homelessness is imminent. It is often run with local social service offices. The funding is very limited and the Salvation Army may often use it all up due to demand from the service area.
Food pantries will be free hot meals year-round or groceries to anyone who needs it, regardless of their story. In some cases volunteers of the Salvation Army or local churches offer delivery to homebound seniors.
Seasonal programs are available too. During the fall and winter months, it can be challenging due to the cold weather and holiday expenses. The centers and thrift stores may have free gloves, boots, hats and winter coats. During Thanksgiving or Christmas, free holiday meals and small gifts for children may be available. Many seasonal programs are run in partnership with local companies and donors.
During those holidays, donations provide the less fortunate with free Christmas dinners, clothing, and toys for families and children in need. Additional financial assistance may be offered during the winter too. This can also help with basic necessities such as paying heating bills during the cold months. Additional shelters are also open for sit-down dinners. Other volunteers from Otter Tail and Becker County region may also work with the Salvation Army to distribute gifts to shut-ins in nursing or hospitals. Everyone tries to spread the holiday joy.
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