The Salvation Army: Unwrapped

1.The Salvation Army is the world’s largest faith-based charity. Originally established in London in 1865, the Army has been helping people with all types of social service needs for more than 130 years in the United States.

The-Beatles-Strawberry-Fields-4093222.In the 1966 Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” John Lennon refers to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy. The facility closed in 2005.

3.The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years – from classics like The 39 Steps and On the Waterfront to contemporary hits like Seabiscuit and Titanic.

4.In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton named The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University, the Olympic Games and others, as among the world’s top-ten enduring institutions.

5.National Salvation Army Week, typically observed in the second week of May, was first declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In the proclamation, Eisenhower noted, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood… Their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us Is neighbor and kin to all Americans, giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”

6. The Salvation Army is often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States. After serving doughnuts-often cooked in battle helmets- to U.S. troops in the field during World War I, many soldiers came back to the states hooked on the pastries. Doughnut consumption subsequently took off in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1938, The Salvation Army also created National Doughnut Day, observed the first Friday of June, to honor the female Salvation Army officers-or “doughnut lassies”-who served the troops during the War. Today, National Doughnut Day is celebrated by many bakeries and pastry shops around the country with free doughnuts for customers. Click here to see a video about Donut Day

7. The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that impacted Galveston, TX in 1900, literally destroying the coastal city and killing more than 5,000 people. Following the storm, Salvation Army officers from across the country moved into the Galveston Area to help clean, feed, and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed spiritual and emotional support. The Army’s emergency response capabilities were once again tested six years later following the Great Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. Click here to see a clip of The Salvation Army’s Disaster Response and Recovery work during 9/11 and during the Joplin tornado of 2011 or Hurricane Isaac 2012 in Pearlington, MS

8. In 2009, consulting firm Cone ranked the leading 100 nonprofit brands with The Salvation Army coming in second place behind the Y.M.C.A. The report also noted The Salvation Army was the most familiar nonprofit among all Americans.

9. Last year, The Salvation Army’s 3,400 officers, 64,000 employees, and 3.4 million volunteers helped more than 30 million Americans in need. That’s about one person every second.

10. The Army has more than 7,600 centers of operation in almost every ZIP code in the country.