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McLean Salvation Army assistance programs.

Programs from the Salvation Army are focused on providing short term relief and guidance to low income McLean County Illinois families. They are not intended to serve as a hand out but rather short term relief for those who are going through a difficult period in their lives. Some of what may be offered includes food, emergency financial aid for bills such as rent or utilities and the all important self-sufficiency services.

The organization relies heavily on donations and collections, include from the Red Kettle bell ringing campaign. This is offered in cities such as Bloomington around the holiday periods. You can help as an individual or as a group and the money you raise will go to help the less fortunate in the community.

The money raised using the kettle will be available throughout the entire year to help pay for all of the Salvation Army assistance programs. About 95% of what is raised goes to the programs and there are very low administrative costs in place. Call (309) 829-9476. Some examples of what may be offered in McLean includes the following.

  • Food Pantry for free groceries.
  • Energy bill assistance, including winter heating costs and fuel.
  • Medical needs with a focus on prescriptions for the very sick. Vouchers may be issued too as well for the uninsured.
  • Holiday and Christmas assistance, including food and toys.
  • Shelters for those who were evicted and/or are homeless. This also pays for long term housing solutions in the region.
  • Eviction and homeless prevention, including rent help.

Food is always needed in the area. The Salvation Army will try to provide to the less fortunate and they also work with individuals and local businesses in an effort to raise and collect goods from those who are struggling. You can help by organizing a food drive at your employer, school or office. The groceries and food items collected from people in McLean are used to stock the shelves of the food pantry. Much of it is also used for Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas meals as part of the holiday assistance programs and emergency food boxes distributed.




Those who are in need to stop by the pantry for goods such as Jello, Canned Green Beans, Boxed Stuffing, Boxed Potatoes, Gravy Mix, and Corn Bread Mix. From time to time they may even have vouchers or gift certificates to retailers such as Aldi's and Cub Foods.

Toys are offered at Christmas. Volunteers and donations are always needed in November and December of each year in order to help sort and organize incoming gifts, toys, clothing and more. The Angel Tree and adopt a family are other services.

The local Salvation Army centers also partner with the military and their Toys 4 Tots. Their part of this partnership is to help distribute toys to needy children and families in McLean County and Bloomington. What happens is that the Toys 4 Tots program collects toys, along with The Salvation Army's Angel Tree & Teen Tree. They may have items such as books, stocking stuffers, or board games. (309) 829-9476

Coats For Kids will help keep children warm during the cold Illinois winters. It provides new or gently used coats, mittens, gloves, hats and more, at no cost, to children. The Salvation Army works with other local businesses in McLean, such as the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, to collect and distribute the goods. Hundreds of kids and students receive items every year.

Stop by the center at 611 W Washington St, Bloomington, Illinois 61701, or call (309) 829-9476.



By Jon McNamara

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