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Milwaukee Wisconsin Salvation Army assistance programs.

A wide range of social services are provided by the Milwaukee Salvation Army both in the city and the county. If they are found to be qualified, families in Milwaukee Wisconsin may be able to obtain utility bill assistance, emergency funds for paying rent or mortgage, free food or Christmas toys, clothing, and other aid including free back to school supplies. All applicants will need to apply, and their request will be reviewed based on many factors.

Case workers from the Salvation Army will review an applicant’s request based on their income and expenses, initiative and possibility of financial recovery. The Milwaukee County staff will also review eligibility for public assistance, and of course another key is the availability of funds as well as community resources in Milwaukee. Most of the aid is paid out by the Salvation Army Emergency Assistance Program and is offered to those faced with a crisis due to loss of employment, illness, medical emergency, death, fire, or some other disaster.

In addition, in order to apply for emergency help, applicants will need to be eighteen years of age or older, and provide verification of residency, income, identification, and also their overall financial need. Some of the assistance is provided by the Milwaukee Salvation Army, and other aid is paid out in partnership with referrals to other agencies. Resources available from Emergency Assistance may include free food, new or gently used clothing, furniture or household items, Family Store items, or pastoral care. Some of the monetary assistance can be used for paying rent or mortgages, utility and heating bills, medications, or transportation expenses.

Emergency financial help from Milwaukee County Salvation Army

Rent and housing assistance may be provided from the Salvation Army’s Rapid Re-Housing Program. The agency works with non-profits in Milwaukee such as Hope House, Community Advocates, Cathedral Center, Social Development Commission-Family Support Center, and the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority. This resource can provide emergency rent assistance and associated social services/intensive case management.





This program can not only help prevent evictions, but for those who are homeless or who need to find more affordable housing, it can allow families and individuals to move more quickly from shelter to short term housing while still receiving case management services and self-sufficiency, such as job finding services.

A free food pantry is offered by the Salvation Army for many sections of Milwaukee. Tens of thousands of families are served annually, and many of those have never asked for help in the past. The non-profit may be able to provide people with a two to three day supply of free groceries, perishable items and other sorts of food to those who are hungry. It will take care of a family’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or clients can use the Milwaukee Salvation Army soup kitchen for a meal.

At the same time, a social worker can advise clients on long term supplemental food programs and government aid in Wisconsin, like food stamps or WIC. This is offered so that families or individuals can move beyond visiting the Salvation Army and other charity food pantries.

Individuals living outside of areas covered may be served at their initial visit still, however they will then be referred to another food pantry that serves their neighborhood for follow up service and advice. The Milwaukee Salvation Army Food Pantry is supported through various donations and local charitable drives from the Hunger Task Force, and they are always looking for more contributions.





Feed the Kids is offered during the summer months when kids are out of school. It is a youth feeding program that was created by the Salvation Army to meet the needs of children in neighborhoods and local towns that are not served through any other summer feeding program.

Case workers and volunteers from the agency may be able to bring lunch items to parks, locations in certain neighborhoods, and even street corners in Milwaukee's poorest areas. On average, a few thousands free lunches are served per day to hungry children. Or children can find other summer meal programs for students.

Another component of Feed the Kids is longer term. The agency will work with other community action and non-profit agencies to address the root causes of hunger as well as to provide the best possible meals to alleviate hunger over the short to mid-term. This assistance program operates in collaboration with Milwaukee Public Schools, Hunger Task Force, and other Milwaukee charities and community action agencies.

Free seasonal programs in Milwaukee

Another youth service is for children from low income families in Milwaukee. Using donations from the community, the Salvation Army tries to provide them with school items, ranging from supplies to uniforms, clothes, shoes, backpacks, notebooks, and more. The application period normally starts in June or July of each year, so inquire early. Not only may supplies be given, but some students can be given gift cards for shopping at some retailers for critical items. Find more details on how to get free school supplies.

The Milwaukee Salvation Army Coats for Kids program can help children from low income families stay warm. The service provides thousands of free coats and other winter attire items to qualified children in Milwaukee County Wisconsin. The agency also partners with businesses as well as non-profit organizations such as, as all coats are donated and collected through from partners.

The coats are donated to various sites across the county, and they are then delivered to The Salvation Army where they are sorted mostly by community volunteers. The donated coats are then distributed through locations such as Milwaukee Public Schools, churches, other child serving agencies, and to local families. This assistance program will usually commence in November of each year.

Christmas Holiday Season is when many families struggle. Individuals are faced with their regular bills and rent/mortgage payments, as well as feeling an obligation to make the holidays special for their children. The Salvation Army of Milwaukee provides parents with the opportunity to either acquire free Christmas gifts. Or parents as well as single moms can shop for toys that have been donated and collected in the local community.




The main program in the region is known as the Toy Shop, and it is a cooperative effort between the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program as well as the Salvation Army. Parents who need help will be able to make selections based on the gender as well as the age of their children and will then be able to surprise their kids on Christmas morning with gifts, toys, and other holiday items. The Toy Shop is a cooperative effort between The Salvation Army and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

The Protective Payee Program is an emergency assistance program for those in Milwaukee County Wisconsin who have developmental disabilities, chronic mental illness, or who are dually diagnosed. Clients need to also be recipients of Social Security benefits or public assistance, either at the state or federal level. The main objective of this Salvation Army program is homeless prevention with a focus on the financial management of cash and government benefits.

Basic needs and bills such as food, shelter, clothing, and rent are met through the services of the Protective Payee Social Worker. When money is budgeted appropriately and when someone’s bills and debts are paid on time, clients of the Salvation Army will more than likely stay in their housing. After all, stability in housing is the primary goal of this financial assistance program.

With stable housing and shelter comes the opportunity for longer term sufficiency. It also gives clients the time to identify and achieve other personal goals and skills. This may include, but is not limited to, employment, job training education, and also learning new skills. Other resources that are part of Protective Payee include Budget Planning, Case Management, Shopping or Basic Needs Assistance, and more.

Milwaukee Wisconsin Salvation Army Centers

The locations in Milwaukee County are below. Both Family Centers (which offer shelter, financial aid, free food, and more) as well as thrift store are noted below. Call them to find how to apply for help. Or get referrals to other local resources.

  • The Wisconsin Division Headquarters, 11315 W. Watertown Plank Rd., Wauwatosa, WI 53226, dial (414) 302-4300
  • Adult Rehabilitation Center, phone (414) 276-4316
  • Milwaukee Citadel, dial (414) 463-3300
  • Milwaukee West (414) 342-9191
  • Oak Creek Centennial Church, phone number (414) 762-3993
  • Southside Corps, dial (414) 213-3444
  • Emergency Lodge/Social Service, telephone (414) 265-6360

Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores in Milwaukee County

These locations sell goods to the public, regardless of their income. There may be clothes, furniture, vintage items, medical equipment, bedding, and thousands of other items for sale at the Family Store.





  • 1725 South 13th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53215, (414) 384-9992
  • 7713 W Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI, 53214, dial (414) 453-1267
  • 1537 E. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha, WI, 53186, phone (262) 542-4728
  • 4747 Bradley Rd, Brown Deer, WI, 53223, (414) 357-6277
  • 6341 South 27th Street, Franklin, Wisconsin 53132, dial (414) 761-7733

By Jon McNamara

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