Sherburne County Salvation Army assistance programs.

The Elk River Salvation Army center has a low cost thrift store on site, and when it comes to other social services, such as emergency financial assistance, this is offered as a regional program. There is also a location in Big Lake.

All of the assistance (with the exception of the thrift/family store) is first come and served. The Salvation Army social services try to fill the gap when a family is facing a short term crisis. Any financial support, such as prescription drugs, comes with conditions.

Maybe the utility company is about to turn off the heat because a family is a few days late due to a car issue, or the landlord is sending an eviction notice to a household with a sick child in which the parent missed a few days of work. Or some truly sick patients need some help obtaining a prescription drug. Or if a vehicle that is needed for work purposes has a minor issue, maybe a repair can be paid for. These are some examples in which the Sherburne County Salvation Army may help. Funding may be offered for:

  • -Limited rental, heating bill or energy costs assistance, and this is always first come first serve.
  • -Minor vehicle repairs, and the Big Lake Salvation Army may have volunteer mechanics to do the labor if the owner pays for parts.
  • -Prescription expense assistance. If there are no vouchers, find more prescription help from non-profits and government agencies.
  • -Free gas vouchers or bus passes (for employment reasons) at most once every 6 months.

The Family Store for the county is located at 321 Baldwin Ave NW, Elk River, Minnesota 55330, and the phone number is (763) 274-2764. The location normally opens at 9am each day, and residents of Sherburne County or any other region can stop in. The shoppers do not need to be local to the area.

This store is always stocked with gently used goods. But what is for sale will change throughout the year. Shoppers may be able to find furniture, appliances, and other supplies. Teenagers from Sherburne County are also heavy users of the thrift store, as they can buy some vintage or classic goods too, such as clothes or even records.





There are also various clothing, school, and Christmas assistance programs available from the Elk River and Big Lake Salvation Army. Some of them are focused on keeping senior citizens and children warm during the winter, and others operate at other times of the year.

These services range from the school uniform (Shop with a Cop) program as well as more everyday back to school supplies, such as backpacks, shoes, notebooks, and those goods. In October of each year is the Coats program, which gives out boots, winter hats, and gloves. Other goods include vouchers to buy some critical stores at the Salvation Army Thrift store as well as diapers or baby wipes.

The Sherburne County Salvation Army also has one of the food shelves. This is open on a first come-served basis as well, but the client needs a voucher first. They can receive this by applying to a case worker at the Big Lake Minnesota site. Once they have a voucher, it can be used at the pantry to “pay” for groceries, baby formula, canned fruit or meat, and other items.

Emergency housing (or shelters), can help people that have an unexpected hardship. Some people may have had their hours cut at work or somehow had a loss of income. When a crisis hits, which causes a family to miss a rent or mortgage payment, they may be faced with homelessness. This is when the Salvation Army or one of their partners steps in to fill the need for housing.




There are several other case management, spiritual, and counseling services administered as well. The youth in Elks River can use a after school program or teens can drop in for help from mentors.  There are also Salvation Army addiction recovery programs, Senior day centers, and many other programs operated in the county.

The Big Lake social service can be reached at 763-682-8941, while the thrift store in Elk River is at the address above. Both of the Sherburne County Salvation Army centers have staff that can assist, or even referrals.

By Jon McNamara

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