By Sophie Whitney - Almost every New Zealander will have heard of The Salvation Army (TSA), but many people don’t know the breadth of the work they do.
You’ve probably seen their family stores, where you can buy second hand goods, and you will have heard about their food banks. But The Salvation Army is so much more than that.
As well as food support, they offer emergency, transitional and long-term housing, life skills and parenting programmes, counselling, low interest loans, financial mentoring, gambling, drug and alcohol support, preschool and youth programmes, and more. They also have a Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit which researches and produces an annual State of The Nation report, measuring progress, stagnation and at times regression of various aspects of life in our communities.
The Salvation Army is driven by the Christian faith and has a strong church community where everyone is welcome.
New homes for whānau in need
One of the biggest projects The Salvation Army has been working on over the last few years is building social housing to tackle the housing crisis head-on for our most vulnerable. In June 2021, TSA opened two newly built housing developments at Westgate and Flatbush in Auckland. TSA had a vision for fostering a strong sense of community in these developments. With each home designed with whanau at the heart. They are surrounded by community facilities, chaplaincy support where needed and beautiful garden spaces set up for groups to gather.
There’s been an increasing number of whānau with a severe need for housing due to serious medical conditions, poverty, and lack of stability with jobs and school. For these people, a new, warm, dry home is a dream come true. A home is a key building block for a better life. It provides stability for jobs, for children to go to the same school, and a sense of belonging.
TSA also provides transitional housing across the country and is currently working on a rejuvenation project at the Epsom Lodge, which acts as a safety net for people who have been homeless or who are coming out of prison and need help to get back on their feet.
Food is a gateway for further support
TSA’s holistic approach feeds hungry bellies first, but their support doesn’t stop there. People that turn up to the food banks receive a full assessment so that TSA can identify how else they could support them. From financial mentoring and counselling, to addiction services, supported accommodation, and Positive Lifestyle Programmes, TSA’s wrap-around services offer solutions to the causes of people’s food insecurity, breaking the cycles of dependence on food welfare.
It will come as no surprise that in the past couple of years TSA has seen a big increase in the need for financial support. To help people get on top of their finances, TSA now has financial mentors at the 70+ community ministry centres across Aotearoa. Their role is to help people understand the situations and financial decisions that contribute to debt, and develop a strategy to slowly reduce debt and plan for the future.
Partnering with others to maximise support
The Salvation Army has a number of corporate partnerships to engage individuals and organisations and help maximise their impact. The projects and passionate people who participate in these partnerships enable TSA to help more than 120,000 families and individuals in need each year. In the past year, these corporate partnerships have helped provide 78,842 food parcels to families in need, serve 5,775 community meals, and provide 526 low or no-interest loans.
TSA also partners with Resene for the Resene Hunger for Colour campaign. Throughout the month of February, Resene offers free paint test pots in return for food cans for TSA food banks. In the past seven years, Resene has collected over 275,000 cans of food to support struggling New Zealanders. Learn more about the incredible projects and corporate partners here.
How you can help
As a new charity partner to The Good Registry, it’s so easy to give to The Salvation Army. Just $20 could provide a full day’s worth of food for a family of four. $100 could fund a financial mentoring session to a family struggling with debt. In these tough times, with the cost of food and living on the rise, we encourage you to donate to your local Salvation Army in any way you can.
Through the Good Registry, givers can support Kiwis in need by setting up a registry and asking friends and family to donate (eg for your birthday), giving Good Gift Cards instead of physical gifts, or gifting a direct donation.