As a Bed & Bread Club member, your support ensures The Salvation Army can provide safe shelter and nutritious meals to families staying at our new Shield of Hope center.

Bed & Bread Club: Restoring Hope in Chicagoland

It’s more than just a meal or a room. A membership in the Bed & Bread Club helps bring hope to the hopeless, and change for those who once thought it impossible. Read these stories and discover the ways the Bed & Bread Club has helped hungry and homeless individuals throughout Chicagoland.

A Journey to Sobriety

Roy Ballesteros has lived more years than his age would suggest, and while he’s proud to say he’s three years sober, his journey there was anything but easy.

When Roy was 14 years old, he started experimenting with marijuana and alcohol. Before long, he was arrested for forgery and sentenced as a juvenile. While serving probation for that charge, he was arrested again for forgery and burglary, however, this time he was sentenced as an adult and sent to prison.

Multiple early releases and probation violations kept Roy in and out of jail, and he eventually ended up at a halfway house on Chicago’s South Side. He continued to use drugs and hang out with negative influencers. “At my lowest, I was so high I wanted to die,” Roy says. But God had other plans for him.

At the recommendation of a co-worker, Roy turned to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). The ARC works with people like Roy, providing them a minimum of six months of substance abuse treatment and work therapy. The Harbor Light Center in Chicago is one of The Salvation Army’s largest residential substance abuse recovery programs in the country, with accommodations for up to 200 men.

Roy successfully completed our program and is now working full-time as an assistant manager at a local pizza restaurant. He often shares his story with others who are going through their own addiction. Looking ahead, Roy would like to work with other addicts seeking treatment and help through The Salvation Army.

“They welcomed me, and now I’d like to be there for others,” Roy says.

Learning Trust Again

While The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club® helps provide shelter for those in need, it does so much more. It supports our programs that teach people how to live independently, as Ralph found out when he turned to The Salvation Army for help.

Lies and betrayals had left Ralph with a massive chip on his shoulder – and an inability to trust anyone. Even when he came to The Salvation Army, he couldn’t believe anyone here would actually help him.

Ralph had a long history with homelessness. And, while he has a long list of great stories to tell, he was also stubborn, prideful and trusted no one. So, when he came to The Salvation Army seeking assistance to pay a motel bill, he was told that The Army didn’t help pay for motel rooms, but could help him find more permanent housing. Frustrated and discouraged, Ralph’s guard went up even more and he immediately left.

However, a week later, Ralph returned . . . to ask about getting into permanent housing. He didn’t have a clue where to start, so an Army staff worker walked him through the whole process – the paperwork, where to apply for aid, creating a budget and so on.

Within a few days, Ralph retuned . . . to tell us he had found a place and moved in! In tears, he hugged The Salvation Army staffer who had helped him.

“I don’t trust many people,” Ralph says. “But I trust The Salvation Army!”

Helping Chicago’s Homeless

Though homelessness is often considered an urban issue, the numbers of homeless in suburban communities of Chicago has been on the rise for several years. In Northwest-Suburban Cook County, the homelessness rate has risen by 55 percent over the past two years, including more than 1,850 school students – the easiest homeless population to track – being reported as homeless.

But The Salvation Army’s Des Plaines Corps Community Center outreach volunteers are working to ensure that those living on the streets in their community aren’t invisible or forgotten.

Every Tuesday and Friday for the past two years, Bill and Debbi Middendorp have loaded up a Salvation Army van to drive through Wheeling, Prospect Heights, Des Plaines and Arlington Heights to distribute sandwiches, snacks, water and hygiene items to those sleeping on the streets.

“Last year, we handed out nearly 1,700 meals,” Debbi says. “And sometimes they can stretch the nonperishable foods across three meals or more, which means there were approximately 5,100 times that they were not digging through garbage cans or panhandling.”

Bill and Debbi see their work with the homeless outreach program as a part of their ministry. Their hearts are dedicated to their work. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know each person and their story,” Debbi says. “They’re all unique, but often filled with hopelessness, pain and loss. We want to bring them hope and love.”

“It’s nice to see their faces light up when we come to visit them,” Bill adds.

Finding Strength in Troubling Times

Steven and his wife are kind, compassionate and selfless. Already the parents of a 10-year-old son, they took on a big challenge when they adopted four more children whose parents had been incarcerated. They were now the parents of five kids, all under the age of 12.

Everything was going well until the day Steven lost his job. Their stable family situation suddenly became unsteady. Steven found another job, but with a big pay cut. They quickly fell behind on bills and soon received an eviction notice.

Steven turned to the one place in town he believed he could find help . . . The Salvation Army.

Through the support of the Bed & Bread Club, we were able to offer Steven and his family new school clothes, coats and food. In addition, we provided them rent assistance so they could keep their home.

Steven now works two jobs to make ends meet, and though it’s a struggle, they’re managing to live on their own.

“I am grateful for the love and support we found at The Salvation Army,” Steven says. “They kept my family from being forced out on the streets.”

Because of the compassionate support from members of our Bed & Bread Club, countless families like Steven’s are not only able to keep their homes, but also find the strength and encouragement to move toward self-sufficiency.

As a Bed & Bread Club member, your support ensures The Salvation Army can provide safe shelter and nutritious meals to families staying at our new Shield of Hope center.

Bed & Bread Club: Restoring Hope in Chicagoland

It’s more than just a meal or a room. A membership in the Bed & Bread Club helps bring hope to the hopeless, and change for those who once thought it impossible. Read these stories and discover the ways the Bed & Bread Club has helped hungry and homeless individuals throughout Chicagoland.

A Journey to Sobriety

Roy Ballesteros has lived more years than his age would suggest, and while he’s proud to say he’s three years sober, his journey there was anything but easy.

When Roy was 14 years old, he started experimenting with marijuana and alcohol. Before long, he was arrested for forgery and sentenced as a juvenile. While serving probation for that charge, he was arrested again for forgery and burglary, however, this time he was sentenced as an adult and sent to prison.

Multiple early releases and probation violations kept Roy in and out of jail, and he eventually ended up at a halfway house on Chicago’s South Side. He continued to use drugs and hang out with negative influencers. “At my lowest, I was so high I wanted to die,” Roy says. But God had other plans for him.

At the recommendation of a co-worker, Roy turned to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). The ARC works with people like Roy, providing them a minimum of six months of substance abuse treatment and work therapy. The Harbor Light Center in Chicago is one of The Salvation Army’s largest residential substance abuse recovery programs in the country, with accommodations for up to 200 men.

Roy successfully completed our program and is now working full-time as an assistant manager at a local pizza restaurant. He often shares his story with others who are going through their own addiction. Looking ahead, Roy would like to work with other addicts seeking treatment and help through The Salvation Army.

“They welcomed me, and now I’d like to be there for others,” Roy says.

Learning Trust Again

While The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club® helps provide shelter for those in need, it does so much more. It supports our programs that teach people how to live independently, as Ralph found out when he turned to The Salvation Army for help.

Lies and betrayals had left Ralph with a massive chip on his shoulder – and an inability to trust anyone. Even when he came to The Salvation Army, he couldn’t believe anyone here would actually help him.

Ralph had a long history with homelessness. And, while he has a long list of great stories to tell, he was also stubborn, prideful and trusted no one. So, when he came to The Salvation Army seeking assistance to pay a motel bill, he was told that The Army didn’t help pay for motel rooms, but could help him find more permanent housing. Frustrated and discouraged, Ralph’s guard went up even more and he immediately left.

However, a week later, Ralph returned . . . to ask about getting into permanent housing. He didn’t have a clue where to start, so an Army staff worker walked him through the whole process – the paperwork, where to apply for aid, creating a budget and so on.

Within a few days, Ralph retuned . . . to tell us he had found a place and moved in! In tears, he hugged The Salvation Army staffer who had helped him.

“I don’t trust many people,” Ralph says. “But I trust The Salvation Army!”

Helping Chicago’s Homeless

Though homelessness is often considered an urban issue, the numbers of homeless in suburban communities of Chicago has been on the rise for several years. In Northwest-Suburban Cook County, the homelessness rate has risen by 55 percent over the past two years, including more than 1,850 school students – the easiest homeless population to track – being reported as homeless.

But The Salvation Army’s Des Plaines Corps Community Center outreach volunteers are working to ensure that those living on the streets in their community aren’t invisible or forgotten.

Every Tuesday and Friday for the past two years, Bill and Debbi Middendorp have loaded up a Salvation Army van to drive through Wheeling, Prospect Heights, Des Plaines and Arlington Heights to distribute sandwiches, snacks, water and hygiene items to those sleeping on the streets.

“Last year, we handed out nearly 1,700 meals,” Debbi says. “And sometimes they can stretch the nonperishable foods across three meals or more, which means there were approximately 5,100 times that they were not digging through garbage cans or panhandling.”

Bill and Debbi see their work with the homeless outreach program as a part of their ministry. Their hearts are dedicated to their work. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know each person and their story,” Debbi says. “They’re all unique, but often filled with hopelessness, pain and loss. We want to bring them hope and love.”

“It’s nice to see their faces light up when we come to visit them,” Bill adds.

Finding Strength in Troubling Times

Steven and his wife are kind, compassionate and selfless. Already the parents of a 10-year-old son, they took on a big challenge when they adopted four more children whose parents had been incarcerated. They were now the parents of five kids, all under the age of 12.

Everything was going well until the day Steven lost his job. Their stable family situation suddenly became unsteady. Steven found another job, but with a big pay cut. They quickly fell behind on bills and soon received an eviction notice.

Steven turned to the one place in town he believed he could find help . . . The Salvation Army.

Through the support of the Bed & Bread Club, we were able to offer Steven and his family new school clothes, coats and food. In addition, we provided them rent assistance so they could keep their home.

Steven now works two jobs to make ends meet, and though it’s a struggle, they’re managing to live on their own.

“I am grateful for the love and support we found at The Salvation Army,” Steven says. “They kept my family from being forced out on the streets.”

Because of the compassionate support from members of our Bed & Bread Club, countless families like Steven’s are not only able to keep their homes, but also find the strength and encouragement to move toward self-sufficiency.

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During Summer, Kids Miss Out On Daily Meals

For children everywhere the end of school means the start of summer. A chance to hang out with friends, go swimming or do nothing at all. It’s usually a time of great joy. But for some children from low-income families, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to school feeding programs which provide them with at least one solid meal a day. In fact, according to a recent study, only 15 percent of children from low-income families in Illinois receive summer meals.

The Salvation Army offers summer feeding programs at its corps community centers to make sure area children don’t go hungry. “The Salvation Army has long led the way to combat hunger — we operate food pantries in our corps, host holiday meals, deliver meals to seniors and more,” said Captain Nikki Hughes, corps officer at The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center in the Englewood neighborhood. “The lunch program at the Red Shield Center during the summer is a natural extension of this outreach and an important one to those children and families who turn to the school system for help during the rest of the year. Children should not go hungry just because school is out for the summer.”

Supporting Chicago’s Vulnerable Seniors

Evelyn Anderson’s office is everywhere. While she has a desk and a chair in an Englewood office building, her real work is done in homes throughout the city of Chicago. For nearly two decades, she has worked for the men and women who are most in need of support.

“I give my heart and soul every day,” she said. “That’s the only way to do this job. You have to give it your all, all the time, or it just doesn’t work. If there’s no trust, there’s no relationship, and then you can’t help make things better.”

Anderson makes home visits to seniors throughout Chicagoland, performing well-being checks and connecting seniors to support services such as public transit, in-home care, Meals on Wheels and senior health insurance programs. By connecting with local support services, the seniors can remain independent and safely live in their homes for a longer period of time.

If support services do not provide enough safety for the seniors to remain in their homes, Anderson helps them identify other residential options in the area, including living with family members, assisted living, low-cost senior housing or nursing homes. In extreme cases, Anderson has had to have clients admitted to hospitals or moved from their homes for their own safety and well-being.

“Sometimes I can only offer temporary help, but I can start the conversation about more long-range planning,” Anderson said. “I know I’ve done my best when they feel comfortable with a plan. And when they give me a hug. Sometimes a hug says it all.”

Even though she is a tireless advocate, Anderson doesn’t do it all on her own. She coordinates services with other agencies, including the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Illinois Department on Aging, Oak Street Health and other social service organizations.

“We really work best when we come together as a city for the seniors,” Anderson said. “We owe it to our elders to be kind, to be honest and to be supportive.”

Battling Suburban Homelessness

You won’t meet many people quite like Bill and Debbi Middendorp. Twice a week, the couple loads up their Salvation Army van to drive through Wheeling, Prospect Heights, Des Plaines and Arlington Heights, distributing sandwiches, snacks, water and hygiene items to those sleeping on the streets. In 2016, they handed out 1,400 bags of food — approximately 4,200 meals.

The men and women the Middendorps have dedicated their lives to serving, often spend their nights sleeping in tents in forest preserves, huddled under tarps next to manufacturing facilities, or in train stations and bus depots. During the day, some work at jobs that provide just enough money to purchase scant fast food meals. Others spend their days sitting in public areas until they are asked to leave.

If possible, clients are moved into more stable housing or reunited with loved ones. The Middendorps helped one man secure a management position at a local business. That man later hired another client who was homeless. They both moved into a hotel, but because they were spending a large chunk of their paychecks on shelter they were unable to make their own meals. The Middendorps helped the men purchase a mobile home. Now they’re able to pay for their home, cook their own meals and save money for future emergencies.

If the Middendorps are not able to move people from the streets into stable housing, they try to offer practical help. “We help people fill out the forms for a state ID or a social security card, or to access their benefits,” Debbi says. “It is very rare for a person to be considered for an apartment or a job without proper identification.”

According to Captain David Martinez, an officer at the Des Plaines Corps Community Center, many of those served are employed as bellringers during the Christmas season and receive holiday assistance.

The Middendorps are dedicated to their work. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know each person and their stories,” says Debbi. “They’re all unique, but often filled with hopelessness, pain and loss.”

“We want to bring them hope and love.”

Feeding Chicago’s Hungry Families

Every morning, Timothy woke up with the same haunting thought: “How am I going to feed my family today?”

Timothy is on disability assistance, and relies on The Salvation Army to help provide enough food for himself, his wife and their son. That single check must cover rent, utilities, school, medical costs and the most basic of necessities: food. For Timothy, and the 812,000 individuals in Cook County who turn to pantries for groceries, food services like ours are a Godsend.

The Salvation Army operates 28 food pantries through corps community centers which provides canned fruits and vegetables, breads, snack items, frozen meats and other food items on a monthly basis.

In addition to their regular food pantry, The Salvation Army Chicago Lawn Corps Community Center, on Chicago’s southwest side, also operates a fresh produce pantry. Recipients can select from a wide variety of seasonal items including berries, oranges, greens and more.

For people in Timothy’s position, each visit to the pantry helps relieve their tight budgets. “Every little bit helps,” Timothy says. “Thanks to The Salvation Army my family gets a meal every night with fresh produce — bananas, peppers, onions and more.”

Providing the Basics for Families in Need

Edyta and her family found themselves with nothing when the family’s construction company and restaurant failed in the aftermath of the economic downturn. The family, themselves long-time supporters of The Salvation Army, was now forced to turn to others for help with basic necessities.

Edyta visited the Norridge Corps Community Center to inquire about the food pantry program. After meeting with our staff members and sharing her story, she was told that not only would her family be eligible for the food pantry program, but they would also receive a holiday meal basket with a ham and all the sides.

For the first time in two years, there would be a holiday meal and presents under the tree. There would be a happy Christmas in their home. “I was so overwhelmed with the kindness and understanding,” Edyta said.

The Salvation Army continues to support Edyta’s family as they work to get back on their feet. “I am so grateful for the help,” she said. “I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to repay the generosity and help someone else.”

From Chaos to Stability to Giving Back

Monica Simmons, a single mother was overwhelmed. She worked part time in order to support her mother and her son, Corey who was diagnosed with autism. She often received phone calls from teachers and school administrators in regards to Corey’s behavior. The stress was almost too much for her to take.

While attending church at The Salvation Army’s Chicago Temple Corps Community Center, Monica was approached by staff member Carmen Staggers.

“Carmen knew my family from attending Sunday services,” Monica says. “She knew Corey was having difficulty and that it created a lot of stress. She told me about the Pathway of Hope program, which could help me figure out how to help Corey in school and at home.”

The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program helps families identify and overcome barriers that are holding them back from a life of stability. Most families who go through the program have basic shelter or food needs, but there are many other aspects of lives that can create chaos. The Pathway of Hope program meets the clients where they are and helps them devise a plan to success.

Monica was matched with a caseworker who helped her identify barriers to Corey’s success in school and the effect they were having on the entire family. “Corey was in a public school that couldn’t manage his outbursts,” says Monica. “He was miserable, disruptive and falling behind. Carmen helped me advocate for his care, and ultimately a transfer to a school designed to support kids with special needs.”

Corey is now enjoying his new school, where he’s learning coping mechanisms. Things are much calmer at home and the stress level among the family has decreased drastically.

“People know that the Army helps with physical needs like food, clothing and shelter, but that’s not all,” states Monica. “The staff also gives you spiritual and emotional support. There’s so much more to The Salvation Army.”

Today Monica is a Pathway of Hope volunteer at the Temple Corps. “I know what it’s like to be a client, so I can truly relate to the families who are looking for help. I think that makes me better able to serve them.”

Jobless, Two Kids, and No Place to Turn

Looking at Michelle Luckett today, you’d never imagine the hardship she’s faced in her life. Seven years ago, she was unemployed, struggling to care for her two young children. To make matters worse, Michelle was forced to make a difficult decision… feed her children or keep a roof over their heads. Refusing to let her children go hungry, she chose food. But then the family was facing homelessness.

Out of sheer desperation, Michelle turned to The Salvation Army. With tears in her eyes, she knocked on our door, and was greeted with a warm, comforting smile. We immediately found her family safe shelter and a warm meal through our Family Outreach Office.

But that was just the beginning of their long road of recovery.

Our staff stayed in touch with Michelle and her family, and we noticed that her children weren’t meeting developmental goals. That’s when we referred the family to specialized services and enrolled her youngest child in Head Start.

“I was a very young mother, so there was a lot I didn’t know,” says Michelle. “The home visits (from Head Start) were helpful, because I really learned how to be a better mother. And a better person.”

Michelle’s daughter, Keniyah (pictured here with her mom), is now in Head Start and making progress. Michelle has since found employment and is continuing her own education and hopes to start her own nonprofit someday, to help others as she was helped.

“Without The Salvation Army, we’d probably be homeless,” she says. “Without them, none of this would be possible. I’m so grateful!”

Our Bed & Bread Club was created to help people just like Michelle. The continued support of our members ensures we can offer food, shelter and basic necessities to individuals and families in need.

Keeping Families in Their Homes

Miranda is a single mother to three young children. She was employed and worked hard to support her family. But when she entered the hospital for a medical procedure, her life changed forever. There were complications with her surgery and she fell into a coma for several days. Ultimately, she lost a leg to amputation.

When she woke, Miranda found that due to her disability, she would be unable to perform her job duties. She was forced to apply for disability benefits. With modest child support and disability benefits not yet approved, Miranda fell behind on rent and utilities and had nothing for her children on Christmas morning.

She felt alone and forgotten. “I was going to die,” Miranda says. “I have three kids and nobody was there to help take care of them. I was so angry.”

That’s when she turned to The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope. For families like Miranda’s, who are already living on limited means and hovering on the brink of homelessness, a job loss, medical emergency or other issues can turn a difficult situation into a crisis. When this happens, Pathway of Hope caseworkers help families identify specific barriers to self-sufficiency, and ways to move past them. Then, together, they create an action plan for success.

Miranda’s caseworker at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center not only worked with her to secure rent and utility payments, but also helped her obtain stable housing, reliable transportation and Christmas gifts for her children. The Salvation Army also provided her healthy food and helped purchase modest furniture.

Miranda now lives five minutes from the Kroc Center, in an apartment with her children. She is a member of the Corps church, and has found a solid support system to help her overcome her last few barriers.

“I’m grateful for how God has worked everything out for us,” she says. “Now that I’m getting back on my feet — literally — I plan on being there to welcome others to the Pathway of Hope, to the Kroc and to my God.”

A Mother Finds a Fresh Start

This is Maria’s story, in her own words…

Due to a violent living situation, I was forced to leave home with my young son, Ryan, to live in a shelter. The staff there encouraged me to ask others for help, to find a church and seek counseling. Women living at the shelter told me about a terrific organization that helps those like us: The Salvation Army.

After relocating to northwest Indiana, I visited the East Chicago, Indiana Corps for help furnishing my apartment. There I met a wonderful woman named Rosemary. As she listened to my problems, I began to feel a sense of relief — the weight of the world was no longer on my shoulders.

Rosemary helped me resolve a problem with my mother who was being difficult about letting us reclaim our belongings. Thanks to Rosemary’s persistence, we were able to pick up our possessions. Ryan got back his clothes, toys and all the other things so important to a small boy. He attended summer day camp at the Corps and made many new friendships that continued into the school year.

I also made new friendships and started attending Bible studies, women’s ministries and classes in nutrition, exercise and music! This never would’ve happened if it weren’t for great people like Rosemary and Captains Daniel and Nivia Paredes (then Corps officers), who devoted their time and efforts to help us.

When I first came to The Salvation Army for help, I felt like a piece of gum under somebody’s shoe. Now I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. The Corps is a home for Ryan and me, a place where we’re known on a first-name basis!


Maria and Cadet Leta Marin, who leads the East Chicago, Ind., Corps with husband Lt. Abraham Marin, Corps officer.

Sheltering Chicago’s Homeless

Ray had a great life, and a great family. Then he watched it all collapse when his wife succumbed to addiction. “My three sons mean the world to me,” he says. “So… I took the responsibility of raising them myself.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t so simple. The unexpected drop to a single income left Ray unable to support his family. With no immediate safety net in place, they lost their house.

For a while, it felt like there weren’t any options in sight. But then Ray learned about our Evangeline Booth Lodge. “By the grace of God, we ended up at The Salvation Army. It was there that we were offered a second chance.”

Upon entering the shelter, Ray was able to enroll his sons in school and day care, which freed up time for him to look for work. Within a few weeks, he had found steady work. After saving up a small amount of money, the family moved into a new apartment. “As my boys and I were walking to our new apartment,” Ray recalls, “I turned back to the shelter and raised my hands in the air and yelled, ‘Thank you Salvation Army!’”

According to the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), in 2016, there were 5,800 homeless individuals like Ray and his family within the city limits.

The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge is one of Chicago’s only family shelters, keeping parents and children together during a time of intense crisis. The shelter provides a home for as many as 220 parents and children each night. Additionally, Booth Lodge also provides food, clothing, housing placement and job search assistance, as well as tutoring and after-school activities for children.

Because of our history and expertise in addressing homelessness, in October 2016, DFSS named the The Salvation Army as the designated agency for conducting all assessments and referrals for families who turn to the City for help finding shelter.

“I reached out to The Salvation Army because I knew that they would be the entity that could really help the City be more responsive when it comes to providing these services,” says Alissa Rodriguez, Deputy Commissioner of Homeless Programs for the DFSS.

The Salvation Army continues to work with city officials to address other ways to coordinate services and better serve those in need now and into the future.

Kathy

Kathy fled North Carolina with her three young daughters because of domestic battery. She came to Chicago to stay with her cousin, and found safety and security for a few months.

A computer business analyst, she needed to earn certification in Illinois in order to secure a job in her field. But before Kathy could get back on her feet, her cousin lost her job. Eventually her cousin, Kathy and the children were all evicted. Never imagining that she would become homeless, she was referred to The Salvation Army and moved into the Evangeline Booth Lodge. The Salvation Army gave them food and shelter, and helped Kathy navigate social services and begin the process of securing permanent housing.

Today, Kathy’s children are attending a dual-language charter school, and Kathy is attending Microsoft Computer Certification classes at a community college. She will be forever thankful for the assistance of The Salvation Army. She says the adjustment has been hard, but that The Salvation Army has given her hope for the future.

A Journey from Homelessness to Stability

For several years, Nettie and her teenage son found themselves with insecure housing. Nettie lost her job as an airport dispatcher and quickly fell behind in paying bills, including the mortgage. Unable to keep their home, they moved to Indiana where Nettie pursued a new career.

Unable to find a permanent job, and with unemployment benefits running out, Nettie and her son had to move again. They lived with several different relatives and friends, and sometimes lived apart. Eventually there was nobody else to help; Nettie and her son were on their own. “I wasn’t going to let my son sleep in a car or on the street,” Nettie said.

She began searching for shelters and was referred to The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge. “I called at 9 a.m. and there were no rooms available, but a staff member called back two hours later to tell me there was room for us,” Nettie said.

While staying at the Booth Lodge, Nettie enrolled in a job readiness program to improve her job skills, resume and interviewing ability. Her son registered for classes at Harold Washington College. They both had medical appointments for the first time in years. “This whole process matured us,” Nettie said. They eventually moved in with Nettie’s daughter.

Today Nettie serves as an information attendant greeting visitors, answering questions and providing tours at The Salvation Army’s Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. She recently moved into her own apartment, but says she won’t forget her struggles. “Until you’re homeless, you don’t know what it’s like to be homeless. These people are truly struggling.”

A Life Restored

Rachel grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City and lived a stable life. She was a good kid who did very well in school. But things changed when she moved to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer. While in New York, she worked as a waitress to help pay rent. Between jobs, she would routinely go out with her co-workers. “That’s when I really started drinking,” she said.

Rachel lost her jobs as a dancer and a waitress. Her alcoholism made it impossible for her to keep a job and she found herself struggling to pay rent and buy groceries. When she was evicted from her apartment, Rachel knew she needed to get real help. That’s when she found The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Chicago.

ARC is a six-month work-therapy program that helps people maintain sobriety through employment. While in the program, we provided Rachel with shelter and food until she could get back on her feet and find a new apartment. Clients in the program work a full day with a set schedule, and attend classes and therapy sessions in the evenings. Rachel completed her six months of treatment and had her completion ceremony in May. The next Monday, she started a new job as a store manager at a local boutique grocery store.

People battling addiction often find it hard to take care of their most basic needs. Our Bed & Bread Club® makes it possible for us to shelter and feed them during this crucial time. Providing Rachel with the basics made it possible for her to focus her energy on getting clean. Rachel is so grateful for the help she received. She said, “I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life. I’m nervous, but I know with God and The Salvation Army, I can do it.”

Keeping Families Together

Virginia and her teenage twins found themselves facing eviction after she lost her job and her children lost their disability benefits. After calling many shelters throughout Chicago for availability, Virginia reached The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge. She was told The Salvation Army was able to help, and so she and her family made their way to the city. Traveling from the western suburbs, they had to take several buses, two CTA El lines and walk over a mile just to reach the family shelter. “We were exhausted,” Virginia said. “But the staff was so kind to us. They walked us through the process, and when we needed a moment to gather our thoughts and emotions, they gave us some privacy.”

The Booth Lodge is one of the few facilities that allow entire families to remain together through such difficult times. In most other facilities, families are split up sending men and children to separate facilities. And each family has their own room with a private bathroom. “We had our own bathroom, beds and a key! We had somewhere to shower and clean up,” said Virginia. “And we could stay together. That was so important.” Virginia said that they slept so well that first night, knowing they were somewhere safe.

Today, Virginia is addressing some health issues and working to improve her job prospects. Her daughter, Demetrius is planning to go back to college in the spring. His twin sister, Alicia, is already attending school at nearby Olivet Nazarene University. “The staff has really been supportive of my children going to school,” said Virginia. “They made sure Alicia had what she needed for her classes and dorm room when school started this year.”

In just three months, the Bed & Bread Club has assisted thousands of Chicagoans.

men, women and children were provided lodging, food, clothing and other aid through our Evangeline Booth Lodge

instances of emergency assistance with rent and mortgage, clothing, transportation, utilities and medications

meals served across metropolitan Chicago through our feeding programs

Spread the word. Join the cause.

If you or a loved one are facing hunger or homelessness, please call 311. The City of Chicago will contact us for placement.

Facebook

Every day, The Salvation Army provides 156,000 meals to hungry neighbors. Families in our community don't always know where the next meal will come from. But we can help. It's more than just shelter or food. Join the Bed & Bread Club at salar.my/FightPoverty and provide hope for families in Chicagoland.
#BedAndBread #FightForGood
... See MoreSee Less

Every day, The Salvation Army provides 156,000 meals to hungry neighbors. Families in our community dont always know where the next meal will come from. But we can help. Its more than just shelter or food. Join the Bed & Bread Club at http://salar.my/FightPoverty and provide hope for families in Chicagoland. 
#BedAndBread #FightForGood

"Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2
#SundayInspiration #SalvationArmy
... See MoreSee Less

Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful. - Colossians 4:2
#SundayInspiration #SalvationArmy

Donut Day is just around the corner on June 1st! To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #NationalDonutDay, we've teamed up with Clyde's Donuts and are celebrating across Chicagoland. When spirits were down during the Great Depression in 1938, #SalvationArmy began distributing donuts as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to their social service programs. Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.
#TBT
... See MoreSee Less

Donut Day is just around the corner on June 1st! To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #NationalDonutDay, weve teamed up with Clydes Donuts and are celebrating across Chicagoland. When spirits were down during the Great Depression in 1938, #SalvationArmy began distributing donuts as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to their social service programs. Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday. 
#TBT

“Doughnut Lassies,” the women who served donuts to troops on the front lines in WWI, are often credited with popularizing the donut in the US when the troops (nicknamed “doughboys”) returned home from war. Though donuts were not the reason The Salvation Army workers braved war zones, they became a symbol of comfort and a reminder of home for American soldiers. Learn more at salar.my/donutdayhistory.

#DonutDay #DYK #DoingTheMostGood
... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

My Uncle was there and was very thankful for the Doughnut Lassies

I am glad they have dount day!

6 days ago

The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division

On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate the goodness that is donuts. But did you know that #NationalDonutDay has roots in doing good?

The Salvation Army created the 1st #DonutDay event here in Chicago in 1938 as a fundraiser to help those in need during The Great Depression. We continue the tradition by by raising awareness and fundraising so we can continue to provide services to neighbors in need.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #DonutDay, we've teamed up with the legendary Clyde's Donuts. Celebrate with us! Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.
... See MoreSee Less

On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate the goodness that is donuts. But did you know that #NationalDonutDay has roots in doing good? 

The Salvation Army created the 1st #DonutDay event here in Chicago in 1938 as a fundraiser to help those in need during The Great Depression. We continue the tradition by by raising awareness and fundraising so we can continue to provide services to neighbors in need.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #DonutDay, weve teamed up with the legendary Clydes Donuts. Celebrate with us! Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.

Snapchat

snapchat chicago

Instagram

In just three months, the Bed & Bread Club has assisted thousands of Chicagoans.

men, women and children were provided lodging, food, clothing and other aid through our Evangeline Booth Lodge

instances of emergency assistance with rent and mortgage, clothing, transportation, utilities and medications

meals served across metropolitan Chicago through our feeding programs

Spread the word. Join the cause.

If you or a loved one are facing hunger or homelessness, please call 311. The City of Chicago will contact us for placement.

Facebook

Every day, The Salvation Army provides 156,000 meals to hungry neighbors. Families in our community don't always know where the next meal will come from. But we can help. It's more than just shelter or food. Join the Bed & Bread Club at salar.my/FightPoverty and provide hope for families in Chicagoland.
#BedAndBread #FightForGood
... See MoreSee Less

Every day, The Salvation Army provides 156,000 meals to hungry neighbors. Families in our community dont always know where the next meal will come from. But we can help. Its more than just shelter or food. Join the Bed & Bread Club at http://salar.my/FightPoverty and provide hope for families in Chicagoland. 
#BedAndBread #FightForGood

"Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2
#SundayInspiration #SalvationArmy
... See MoreSee Less

Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful. - Colossians 4:2
#SundayInspiration #SalvationArmy

Donut Day is just around the corner on June 1st! To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #NationalDonutDay, we've teamed up with Clyde's Donuts and are celebrating across Chicagoland. When spirits were down during the Great Depression in 1938, #SalvationArmy began distributing donuts as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to their social service programs. Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.
#TBT
... See MoreSee Less

Donut Day is just around the corner on June 1st! To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #NationalDonutDay, weve teamed up with Clydes Donuts and are celebrating across Chicagoland. When spirits were down during the Great Depression in 1938, #SalvationArmy began distributing donuts as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to their social service programs. Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday. 
#TBT

“Doughnut Lassies,” the women who served donuts to troops on the front lines in WWI, are often credited with popularizing the donut in the US when the troops (nicknamed “doughboys”) returned home from war. Though donuts were not the reason The Salvation Army workers braved war zones, they became a symbol of comfort and a reminder of home for American soldiers. Learn more at salar.my/donutdayhistory.

#DonutDay #DYK #DoingTheMostGood
... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

My Uncle was there and was very thankful for the Doughnut Lassies

I am glad they have dount day!

6 days ago

The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division

On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate the goodness that is donuts. But did you know that #NationalDonutDay has roots in doing good?

The Salvation Army created the 1st #DonutDay event here in Chicago in 1938 as a fundraiser to help those in need during The Great Depression. We continue the tradition by by raising awareness and fundraising so we can continue to provide services to neighbors in need.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #DonutDay, we've teamed up with the legendary Clyde's Donuts. Celebrate with us! Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.
... See MoreSee Less

On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate the goodness that is donuts. But did you know that #NationalDonutDay has roots in doing good? 

The Salvation Army created the 1st #DonutDay event here in Chicago in 1938 as a fundraiser to help those in need during The Great Depression. We continue the tradition by by raising awareness and fundraising so we can continue to provide services to neighbors in need.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of #DonutDay, weve teamed up with the legendary Clydes Donuts. Celebrate with us! Learn more at salarmychicago.org/donutday.

Snapchat

snapchat chicago

Instagram

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