Faces of the Army: Eunice Short
Divisional Social Services Director, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division
The Salvation Army provides a wide range of traditional social services and emergency assistance programs. Food, shelter, clothing, medication payment assistance, and so much more are provided to our neighbors in need to ensure they stay in their homes and move past the initial crisis. At the head of making sure families and individuals’ most basic needs are taken care of throughout the ALM Division is Eunice Short, Divisional Social Services Director.
Eunice has served with The Salvation Army for over five years, coming from the Mississippi Health Department where she served as a case manager and worked her way up to the divisional director. She’s earned a B.S. in Family and Childhood Education and a Masters in Community Counseling.
Overcoming Generational Poverty
Eunice has always worked with families and in childcare. What truly drew her to working in public service is her story of growing up in poverty.
“I have always had a heart and soul for helping people. It is my passion to serve! I grew up in poverty and I’ve always wanted to give back to the people who are less fortunate,” Eunice shared.
“Although we lived in poverty, as a child I wasn’t aware because we were well taken care of. We were in low-income housing and also a recipient of food stamps, Medicaid, and any kind of government assistance available.”
Eunice was also a teen mom, having two children before completing high school. She turned to government assistance to aid in caring for her children and made it her priority to go straight to college after graduating high school so that she could rise above and beat generational poverty. As she reflects on her childhood, Eunice recalls attending grade school during a time where racial integration was becoming a priority in school systems. She and her Black peers took a bus across town to a predominantly White school each morning to aid in creating the social changes that we see today. Even then, she wasn’t aware of the true impact of what was happening around her because of how caring and protective her family was.
“I went into counseling to help others do better than what I came from. Being a part of the Army, I am able to share my story of overcoming poverty and give hope to others who are struggling. It’s important to encourage others that there is light at the end of the tunnel. One has to work to see the light though! Teaching our employees how to show empathy and compassion to our clients while meeting their immediate needs is top priority for me. Striving to be the best me, for myself and especially for others, is my daily goal,” Eunice shared.
Serving the Public Amid a Global Pandemic
As the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues, The Salvation Army works in partnership with local government and donors to provide proper care, hygiene, and medical resources for the homeless community and our neighbors in need.
“We dealt with a lot of walk-ins prior to COVID-19, but now we are taking appointments as a safety precaution during the pandemic. Our numbers have picked up. We weren’t seeing an increase in utility assistance at the offset of the pandemic because of moratoriums but sheltering increased tremendously because people were trying to get off the streets for extra protection against the virus,” Eunice informed.
“I’m so passionate about social services. I love people and I love what I do and I want to ensure that we are providing the appropriate services at the local level. Sometimes it does get challenging, but never overbearing.”
One thing the public should know about TSA:
“When people think about us they know that we have food, they know that we have shelter, they know that if they come to us and we have the funding we will provide them with rental and utility assistance. During any type of disaster, we are here. Clients don’t have to be Christian or Christ-like for us to provide our services. We do not discriminate. We are the church and that is something the public needs to know. Not only do we provide social services, but we’re also here to provide pastoral care. Also, we provide other services besides utility assistance. We offer youth services and a variety of other programs,” Eunice stated.
For more information on The Salvation Army’s social services, visit https://salvationarmyalm.org/social-services/.