On February 7, Cleveland County Commissioners awarded $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to The Salvation Army of Cleveland County, continuing their commitment to support the health and welfare of county residents.
After receiving $55 million in ARPA dollars, county leaders set aside $4 million for nonprofit support with a focus on disproportionately impacted and vulnerable populations and behavioral health.
“Cleveland County’s nonprofits are key stakeholders in promoting recovery for all of Cleveland County,” said newly-elected District 3 County Commissioner Rusty Grissom. “The Salvation Army was on the front lines serving people in need throughout the pandemic and beyond and continues to expand services to meet emergency needs for individuals and families and to help people find their way out of poverty. We are deeply grateful for the important work done by the team here at The Salvation Army.”
The Salvation Army of Cleveland County provides shelter and case management to alleviate homelessness and move clients toward housing. During the pandemic, food donations from area restaurants came to a halt and the number of people needing services increased. The team quickly developed new strategies to serve those in need despite the ongoing challenges, keeping their emergency shelter open 24 hours a day, serving warm meals every evening, supplying food boxes full of groceries, and providing emergency financial assistance to help prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.
“The Salvation Army has been serving this community for many years and we do not take our role lightly. We believe that through ‘soup, soap and salvation’ – and by caring for people at the most basic levels with nutrition and shelter – individuals can begin working towards their goals for the future,” said Major Charles Powell, Salvation Army Area Commander. “This funding, along with the support of the local community and other non-profit agencies, will allow us to not only continue critical services but also expand our reach. On behalf of The Salvation Army of Cleveland County, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the Commissioners and the community for this gift. We could not serve in the same capacity without your ongoing support.”
Beyond meeting basic needs, The Salvation Army also brings unique opportunities for self-improvement and self-empowerment to help those they serve break the cycle of poverty.
“Our staff is also passionate about giving individuals the tools they need to escape poverty,” Powell said. “Our “Getting Ahead in a just Gettin’ by World” program allows community members to assess their current financial situation, and then trained mentors work to help each participant exit the cycle of poverty. In 2022, 333 people came through this classroom-based program, leaving with the tools for independence and an increased feeling of self worth.”
With the support of The Salvation Army, a nonprofit that meets basic human needs through its food services and emergency shelter, Cleveland County families can find hope in times of despair.
“By providing these ARPA dollars to Major Powell and his team, we can help ensure The Salvation Army is able to continue providing essential services throughout our county including outreach to the many schools and senior centers, urban and rural alike, throughout Cleveland County,” said County Commissioner Darry Stacy. “The Salvation Army has been able to identify areas where basic financial literacy can have a lasting impact on lives and help people change their lives for the better. Those who are parents can also pass that knowledge to their children benefiting the next generation.”
Each month, The Salvation Army of Cleveland County hands out an average 92 food boxes from their Food Pantry. In 2002, their food pantry handed out 1,099 food boxes to people who may otherwise have had to choose between a rent payment or buying groceries. They also provide an average of 1,876 meals and 710 nights of shelter each month.
“The Salvation Army is one of many Cleveland County nonprofits who directly serve vulnerable and disproportionately impacted populations,” said County Commissioner Rod Cleveland. “By leveraging ARPA dollars, the county is able to build on the natural collaboration and existing coordination already found among local nonprofits, allowing existing resources in Cleveland County to increase efficiency and expand the ability to provide services to those who were most severely impacted by the pandemic.”