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Salvation Army Social Services and San Rafael assistance programs.

The Christian, faith based Marin County Salvation Army center can provide financial assistance to the working poor. The resources, ranging from rent help to free food, clothes, and holiday programs are provided in a non-judgmental and confidential manner. Even though the charity is a church type organization, help is provided to low income families, seniors, and others regardless of their religious beliefs.

What is provided to clients will depend on their need as well as what resources are available. The exact form of assistance given may change throughout the year or even based on the season. As an example, financial aid for paying bills, deposits, or rent will usually run out early as it is first come and served. But then, later in the year around the fall, the Thanksgiving and Christmas programs kick in. The Salvation Army in San Rafael will also try to feed kids during the summer months or refer them to low cost summer camps. So the assistance changes and is wide ranging.

Marin County residents have a few needs that tend to stand out more than others. They include emergency rent help to account for the high priced housing in the region Marin County, affordable food from the pantry, and holiday assistance. So those are the three greatest requests from the Salvation Army, but other help may also be provided in addition to that.

Marin County Salvation Army social services

Emergency financial aid – This is the number one request of the charity. But it is the hardest to fulfill. The San Rafael Salvation Army tries to help the less fortunate keep their power and heat on. The case managers can also provide information on how to get rental assistance for those tenants with an eviction notice or distribute grants when natural disaster strikes.

Some types of financial aid comes in the form of vouchers. This means that cash will not be provided but assistance is offered in other ways. There may be help in obtaining prescription medications or gasoline vouchers for a doctor appointment. Additional San Rafael Salvation Army vouchers may be used for clothing, rent subsidized housing or shelter in the Marin County region.





Free food – The Salvation Army San Rafael pantry offers this. Anyone seeking fresh food or canned groceries needs to apply. The pantry is also only open a few days per week, and partial days at that. It is open 4 hours per day during all days of the week. Another issue to keep in mind is that people can only turn to it at most 4 times per year, or once per quarter. What may be provided includes the following:

The food pantry may have peanut butter and jelly, canned fruits or meats such as spam and baby formula. There may also be fruits, vegetables, and healthy Ensure for the elderly. New parents may also be given baby formula or free items for their infants, or even other items for the newborn such as free diapers or furniture for the home. So many resources are available.

Marin County Salvation Army holiday programs – The center refers to these as seasonal services. This means that someone applying for school supplies needs to do it during the summer months, or the Christmas help (including Christmas free toys or food baskets) is provided from October onward. These are all time limited programs.

Children (or in some cases senior citizens) from working poor families are always the key beneficiaries of these services. The San Rafael Salvation Army operates the Angel Tree program to provide them with free Christmas toys as well as gifts. Another key service is the back to school supply program, and what is offered may be uniforms, book bags, backpacks, and more.

The Salvation Army also mentors students and tries to help get them on the right path. This program is offered in close partnership with local Marin County school systems and the child's guardian. The student may be given a snack or meal during the summer when school lunch and breakfast programs do not operate, or they also administer after school care as well as summer camps. Other support is arranged too.




How to contact the San Rafael Center

The Salvation Army center in San Rafael is involved in helping the poor and disadvantaged. When they do not have the resources that someone needs, then they will gladly give referrals to other agencies in the region. The address is 351 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, California 94901. Call (415) 459-4520.


By Jon McNamara

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