People faced with temporary financial hardships can get help from the Springfield Salvation Army. The organization administers short term assistance for the low income, unemployed, and seniors. Some examples of the resources available include the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, food assistance, the Angel Tree Christmas program, and more. Salvation Army centers are spread across the greater Hampden County Massachusetts region, and social services are available for people of all religions and backgrounds who qualify for aid.
Many of the centers have food pantries, clothing closets, or thrift stores on site. These locations do their best to meet the increasing and ongoing demands and requests for food and other basic needs. While the thrift stores will sell gently used items like furniture or clothing, the pantries help in other ways. Families and individuals who are struggling with feeding their families may be eligible to receive free or low cost food boxes that contain groceries, perishable items, canned food, dried goods, frozen meats, bread, etc. All boxes may contain enough to meet a family’s needs for several days. Some of the Springfield centers may also have soup kitchens on site.
Vouchers for clothing and household goods may be provided to certain Hampden County families by case workers. These will be distributed as a last resort, and will help address emergency needs for furniture, clothing, or household goods. The items may be offered by one of the Salvation Army social service caseworkers, and a recipient will need to use the voucher at a local thrift store.
One of the key programs available in the area is the Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund. It is run by the Salvation Army centers in Springfield, and provides emergency funds and cash for paying heating bills during the cold New England winter. Grants and cash assistance is available to any Massachusetts resident who can’t afford to pay month's energy expense. The Good Neighbor Energy Fund may also be able to help more moderate income families, as assistance is offered for people who can’t qualify or receive any state or federal energy assistance, such as LIHEAP. Thousands of residents are able to keep their heat on (at least for a short period of time) from this emergency program.
Angel Tree program is administered during the holidays and Christmas. The program relies on donations, and it provides new toys or clothing for children of low income and needy families. Senior citizens can also sign up for and receive holiday aid.
The “Angel Tree” will be set up in public areas, such as a Springfield area mall, or a shopping center somewhere in Hampden County. The tree will be decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the age, first name, and gender of a child who is in need of toys, clothing, or a gift. Contributors and people who donate will be able to remove one or more tags from the tree and they will then need to purchase appropriate gifts for the child.
Other holiday activities are coordinated by the Salvation Army. Many rely on donations and volunteers. These programs will allow people to distribute food, gifts, meals, winter coats, groceries for holiday meals and much more to participating families. The Salvation Army works closely with community service and volunteer groups, churches, and charities to help the less fortunate.
Adopt-A-Family program is for families that have experienced a devastating crisis or tragedy over the past year. This allows people to become a sponsor of a family that has experienced severe hardship, whether it is economic, emotional, or physical. Some of the recipients of Adopt-A-Family program include grandparents who are primary caregivers of their grandchildren, low-income working families with children, victims of domestic violence, families who are suffering a serious illness, or fire. A sponsor will “adopt” one of these families during Christmas or the holidays by purchasing food or grocery store certificates, new clothing, toys, or household items.
The Salvation Army of Springfield Massachusetts may have information or referrals to emergency assistance. If there are comes a time when you find yourself in need of help due to a crisis, job loss, unexpected car repair bills, medical emergency, or some other hardship it’s one of their missions to help individuals during the trying times.
The Salvation Army may be able to provide, or refer people to the following. Food, such as supermarket vouchers, meals or food pantries; Information on shelters and emergency lodging; funds for housing, such as heating oil or rent. Last, but not least, explore Emergency Inter-City Transportation Assistance which includes bus passes or gasoline vouchers.
A focus is on homeless prevention. Many state of Massachusetts as well as private studies show it is much easier to keep a family in their apartment or home than it is to deal with someone who was evicted, lost their home to foreclosure, or who is homeless. So eviction prevention and homeless prevention is key, and the Salvation Army of Hampden County may assist with paying rent and/or utility bills in order to prevent this from occurring. Any type of emergency or financial assistance provided is done so confidentially, with caring and with respect.
While assistance is short term for a crisis, the organization will also provide more self-sustaining services. Case workers will try to help clients sustain hope for the working poor, seniors and other marginalized individuals and families. So receive basic case management, pastoral counseling, referral and advocacy services.
Examples of these services include Day Care Programs for Children, After-School Programs and Tutoring, GED Classes, Job Training Programs, Career Connections Centers, and Budgeting.
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