Merced County Crisis Line Referrals and Salvation Army assistance programs.

As many as 50 assistance programs are available from the Referral Line in Merced County, which is known as a Criisis Line. They help with housing needs, feed families facing poverty, and administer financial aid programs for paying bills or rent, and those funds are limited. There are also numerous resources for kids and youth, including homework assistance, as well as addiction recovery in Merced County. All resources from the Salvation Army or the United Way crisis referral line are limited and there is no guarantee of help.

Merced County Salvation Army growth and development services

Some of these assistance programs are for kids and/or students, others are for adults. In general, they focus on employment needs, education, and just helping people develop the tools they need for long term stability. Each of the services are expanded on below.

Students can get help from teachers and/or volunteer educators. They offer general counseling or assist students with their homework. There are several parts of this, ranging from study tips to reading, writing, and history. The student can also be given from school supplies, clothes, and other items as part of the Merced County Salvation Army back to school programs.

Adults can apply for employment programs. A decent, stable income is key to paying rent or bills on time, overcoming poverty, and maintaining stable housing. Therefore case workers offer job placement services as well as career coaching. There are also resources on site, such as the use of a computer for taking classes or searching for job.





Youth can also apply for more so called “soft” services. This include sports as well as after school events. There is also a summer camp. Some other programs for kids range from dancing and art classes to instrument training.

Addicts, whether from drugs or alcohol, can get help from Merced County Salvation Army addiction support. Clients can meet to go through counseling and get help in developing life skills. There is also a social component, which is also critical to getting off some type of substance. The goal is to also restore families and end a cycle of poverty as well as addiction.

The location of the Merced County Salvation Army is at 1440 W 12th St, Merced, CA 95341. Or call the center at 209-383-4225.

Bill paying programs in Merced County

All of the resources below involve some form of funds for emergency expenses, and these are done through the United Way crisis referral line. They address a short term crisis, and can direct any individuals or families to more long term assistance as well. The categories of support are as follows. Note all resources are limited and there is no guarantee of funding levels. Dial 211 for information on any programs below.





Housing, and shelter are critical to stability. They are critical to stable living/employment and overcoming poverty. There are also regional shelters for women, men, children, and other homeless individuals. If there are other emergency bills that need to be paid, an assessment will be done on a case by case basis by partners of the Merced County Crisis Line. Some of those exceptions may be for gasoline, household products, or critical work clothing.

Charitable as well as Salvation Army meal and free food programs in Merced County help alleviate budgets. As many as 15% of households in the community struggle to buy the groceries they need each month. Therefore the pantry has canned goods, produce, baby formula, and more. There can also be some local delivery services for seniors and the homebound in the community. There are also hot lunches and holiday meals served from the local soup kitchen.

Government assistance is available from the Referral Crisis Line. Dial 211. There in information on ESL classes for immigrants and Spanish speakers, cash assistance including CalFresh, USDA free school lunches, homeless prevention and more.

Free basic needs and supplies, which not direct financial assistance, due free up the clients income for other bills. Therefore the partners of the referral line service administer programs such as free Christmas toys and gifts (Adopt a Family) in Merced County. Angel Tree can also offer toys as well for the holidays. There are also vouchers for feminine products, paper goods, and other household supplies. One again, these do free up the families income for addressing other emergent needs, such as for Christmas gifts.




The Crisis Line also helps with long term needs. in the Merced County region are a number of job training and placement services. Also non-profit credit counseling agencies hold budgeting classes and also offer free debt reduction services. Or learn about general educational topics.

For the crisis line, dial 211. Callers will be given referrals to local resources in Merced County.


By Jon McNamara

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