An extensive variety of emergency assistance programs are offered by the Salvation Army in the western Pennsylvania region. Qualified individuals can apply for and receive free food, funds for paying heating bills, housing, Christmas assistance, and other support. Several Salvation Army centers and Family Service programs are located in the region, including in Westmoreland, Erie, and surrounding counties.
During the winter, many families struggle with paying their heating bills and for the escalating cost of oil and fuel. The Salvation Army HeatShare program is one of the leading resources that low income families, seniors, and others can call upon. This program provides emergency assistance with paying utility bills for qualified low income households that have received a shut-off notice or that are out of fuel. Call 1-800-842-7279.
Other more general energy bill assistance is also offered throughout Western Pennsylvania. Social service caseworkers help struggling seniors, families and individuals pay their monthly or unpaid utility bills in order to get through an emergency crisis.
Food and hot meals are offered year-round for anyone in need at local pantries, service and worship centers, and soup kitchens. Special holiday meals programs are also available, including for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Giant Eagle locations across the region, including in Camria and Westmoreland Counties, are working with the western Pennsylvania Salvation Army to provide free or low cost food, vouchers, and meals to hungry and needy families.
Other feeding programs are available and they are customized for the final client and region. A wide variety of food pantries and assistance programs are located in towns and cities in the region. This includes the communities of Oil City, Franklin, Ellwood City, Blair and Erie County, Ridgway, Butler, Uniontown, Corry, New Kensington, and Greensburg. Other resources available include Backpack Feeding Program for Children, After-School Meals for Children, Supper Club, and Holiday Meals.
Employment services are available at some centers. Work with a case manager or specialist for job counseling, resume assistance, job training and transition classes.
Medical bill assistance and free health care is available in the region. The Salvation Army has information and phone numbers on community clinics across Erie and other counties that can provide free or low cost health or dental care to low-income individuals and families. One example is the Birmingham Free Health Clinic. Phone 412-481-7900.
Household items and clothing assistance is available from thrift stores and clothing closets. Many items, such as school and work clothes and uniforms, are available for sale at reduced prices to the public, regardless of a family’s income. The Salvation Army also may have a limited number of clothing vouchers for single adults or children from families who are coping with a natural disaster (such as fire) or financial need. An appointment is necessary to request vouchers, and proof of hardship is required.
Other programs available in the western part of Pennsylvania include Parole and Probation Sponsorship as well as Vision USA & Dental Care.
Harbor Light Center is available in the region. While the center is located in Pittsburgh, it can help people in the state who are trying to deal with an alcohol or substance addiction. It is part of the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center, which deals with addressing spiritual, social and emotional needs.
Shelter and Transitional Housing is offered for people who were just evicted, or who are currently homeless. At the same time, also get advice and support in obtaining self-sufficiency. Or pro-actively apply for emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention.
Christmas Programs – Joy and hope is provided by the Salvation Army around the Christmas holiday. One main way this is done is by using the Treasures for ChildrenSM program, which is the regions version of the Angel Tree. It relies upon the generosity of volunteers and donations, and children and seniors can receive free toys, gifts, coats, and other needed items.
The Bikes for Kids Program is run in partnership with Kraynick's Bike shop. Gently used bikes for children ages 3 to 12 can be obtained, and it can help brighten the Christmas holidays for needy youngsters and children.
Other Christmas assistance includes Treasures for Children, Adopt-a-Family, Project Bundle-Up, and Holiday Dinners. It relies on generous people like you donating to make someone's, especially children’s, holiday better. Gift and clothing items are offered with children and families in need of help. The holidays also normally see an increased demand of requests of financial assistance to help them meet basic needs and bills, such as grocery store/food pantry items, vouchers for utilities, and rent.
Home visits are also available around the holidays. Volunteers visit hospital patients in Erie, Camria and Westmoreland Counties visit nursing home residents, hospitals and even prisons to bring them some Christmas fellowship, cheer, and gifts.
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