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Salvation Army assistance programs in Buffalo and Erie County.

Programs offered in Erie County New York by the Salvation Army can help low income families in Buffalo and across the region. Many of the resources are focused on seniors, families with children, and individuals who need some short term assistance. The emergency programs are short term and limited, and can help people improve their employment opportunities, receive financial assistance for paying rent and energy bills, access food and other aid.

One of the primary services offered is the Emergency Family Assistance Program (EFA). It is really a central intake service for thousands of clients and families across Buffalo and Erie County. Qualified families can get tangible assistance, including clothing, food, housing, and other aid. Resources are offered to those who need help in the region. Some of the aid is offered directly by the Salvation Army, and some will be provided by referrals to other non-profits and government resources.

The Christmas Assistance Program – This is a free program offered to qualified children and customers in Erie County. Parents who meet income guidelines can choose gifts, toys, clothes, books, coats, and more for each child between birth and 12 years of age. In addition, some qualified families will also receive free holiday meals and food assistance.

Food and meals are provided to Erie County New York families as part of the Emergency Family Assistance. If an applicant qualifies for help, they can receive food for up to 21 meals for each household member.




Vouchers can be provided. This program is free to residents, and the vouchers may be distributed by the Salvation Army to purchase a variety of items. It can include household items, clothing, specific personal care items, personal hygiene and even pajamas. There are many household and other supplies passed out for free as well in a crisis. More free stuff for struggling families.

Referrals are a big part of the services administered, and the agency can refer people to additional appropriate non-profit agencies and/or advocacy services in the greater Buffalo region. EFA can offer individuals with a linkage to other local, government and national Salvation Army assistance programs. Referrals can enable individual to address other important needs such as homeless prevention, parenting skills, child care, job training and retention, after school activities, and spiritual counseling and guidance.





Heating bill assistance is offered from the Salvation Army EFA program. It operates under the name of the Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund. Aid is offered for those families who are 60 years of age or older. Financial assistance is also offered for individuals with disabilities who may be struggling to pay their heating bills and keep their oil tanks filled during the winter.

Salvation Army Employment Services Program was created in response to the state of New York and federal government Welfare-to-Work Initiative. It can provide low-income and working poor individuals with on-the-job training and work experiences that best suit their needs. There are three main components to the program, and they include GED classes, Workfare, and Job Readiness Training. Social workers will also provide Erie County families with other supportive services, including case management, job readiness development and employment services. The goal is to help clients achieve self-sufficiency over the long term and increase their income.

GED classes are provided to those who need them as part of the Employment Services Program. It is provided in partnership with two Erie County BOCES Instructional Support Services. Salvation Army clients are given the opportunity to complete their educational goals, such as computer classes and GED preparation, and help people find a job.

Welfare-to-Work is offered in partnership with Erie County Department of Social Services. Much of this is mandatory, and people can receive on-the-job training such as food service, housekeeping, packaging food, and landscaping. At the same time this training is provided, access full time employment search services, case management, life skills training, and more general employment counseling in New York. Find a list of public assistance programs in New York, which the Salvation Army can link clients too.

Job Readiness Training is the name of a Salvation Army program that provides intense interactive and educational processes. A case manager will help people overcome the behavioral and attitudinal barriers that impede successful and long-term employment opportunities. Clients of the training programs will be continually challenged, encouraged, and educated by well strained staff and volunteers. When the program is complete, use services such as resume review and interviewing classes, in order to help find a job.

Rural Services cover parts of Erie County where there are no Salvation Army centers or facilities. Volunteers and professionals have formed a Service Unit committee to respond to the emergency needs of individuals within the more rural parts of the community and areas that are outside of Buffalo New York




The mobile Salvation Army Erie County Service Units are located in towns and villages of Holland, Akron, Angola, North Collins, Springville, and Eden. The units provide a number of services to rural county residents.
Customers can contact the mobile units and rural Services division for help dealing with and addressing their emergency need for housing, food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. In addition, Christmas and holiday assistance is also available. A number of other emergencies can be addressed by the Salvation Army, and holistic family support is provided.

Emergency Family Shelter sites and locations operate in the community. The short term shelters can provide temporary living accommodations, social services and programs that help enhance the quality of life of people that need short term housing and stability.

Seniors and elderly can call upon the Salvation Army's Golden Age Center. This Erie County site provides numerous opportunities and programs for older persons and senior citizens. It can help allowing people to stay engaged, active, and involved in the community.

The senior center is open to all local individuals who are over 55 years of age, and it provides a number of services. People can access breakfast and hot lunches daily. Other resources include computer classes, instructional classes, overnight trips, social service referrals, shopping, and recreation.

Health services are offered. This program offers people over 55 on-site exercise classes, health screening and presentations from doctors and local health care organizations. The service will promote good physical health and allow the organization to detect potential health problems before they become serious.

Free chiropractic care and treatment is available two days per week from a partnership between the Salvation Army and the New York Chiropractic College. Qualified senior members can free chiropractic care and services from this program.





Computer training and classes are offered at no cost from the Golden Age Center. Get instruction on Microsoft Excel; Internet; Email; Computer Hardware; Windows; Microsoft Access; Microsoft Word; and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Holidays meals are distributed to seniors and the elderly. For those individuals who might otherwise be alone on the holidays, a free meal is served at noon on Christmas Day and also Thanksgiving Day.

Salvation Army centers in Erie County New York

  • 960 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202-1197, phone number (716) 883-9800
  • 187 Grant Street, Buffalo, dial (716) 883-0485
  • 252 South Cascade Drive, Springville New York, call (716) 592-9437
  • 704 Central Avenue, Dunkirk, main number (716) 366-3701
  • 46 Broad Street, Tonawanda NY, call (800) 728-7825
  • 50 Cottage Street, Lockport New York, main number (716) 434-1276


By Jon McNamara

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