Minot Salvation Army explains decrease in financial donations
MINOT—The Salvation Army in Minot has been hit hard this year by decreases in both financial donations and volunteers.
John Woodard, the captain, director, and pastor for the Minot area Salvation Army, said that much of it has to do with both COVID-19 and inflation. “A lot of our ministries have waned a little bit, as far as donations are concerned, because of the pandemic. We couldn’t come face to face with people, which has hurt our donations,” he said.
“A lot of our ministries have waned a little bit, as far as donations are concerned, because of the pandemic. We couldn’t come face to face with people, which has hurt our donations.”
John Woodard, Minot Salvation Army
“In times of crisis, the Salvation Army does pretty well with its donations because people want to give because they know there’s a need to do it. But it’s after the pandemic, that need seems to wane a little bit. From a donation standpoint, people are motivated by the economy, what they can give, what they can’t give. Unfortunately, that adversely affects the Salvation Army, in every community throughout the United States,” Woodard also mentioned.
Many methods used by the Salvation Army to generate funds were curtailed by COVID-19, such as bell ringing and other in-person fundraising. “We had to participate in [the CDC] guidelines,” said Woodard.
Another reason Woodard says the Salvation Army has had to change a lot of their methods is because of the ways in which modern society chooses to help their communities. “Volunteerism is kind of changing about the way people want to volunteer,” said Woodard. However, Woodard mentioned the slight difference in Minot. “A lot of other communities we have to pay people to bell-ring. Out here we have a strictly volunteer basis.”
According to Woodard, bellringing can bring in more than $60,000. However, the Salvation Army now uses QR codes and other internet options for financial donations.
Other strategies for fundraising include the annual Holiday Train in downtown Minot, Giving Hearts Day, Twice Blessed, the Minot Community Foundation, the Horn of Plenty, flyers, and different holiday versions of mail appeal.
The Salvation Army has several programs, some of which were affected by COVID-19. One of these is the Character Building program for children, which includes summer camps for boys and girls, many of which were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Salvation Army in Minot is also starting an indoor Character Building program in January, for children to come every week and participate in a curriculum created by salvationists. “[This is] where they understand that God is part of their life, and he made them and he’s their creator,” said Woodard.
A three-tiered program called “Pathway of Hope” was also recently started in the Central Territory (which includes 11 midwestern states), where families in need can set whatever goals they want, to help them get out of the cycle of poverty. The program includes finding opportunities for jobs in the area. “It’s kind of difficult to get people to open up, but once they do and they really start to get to the point where they want to start making better decisions for themselves, it gives them an opportunity to move forward in their life, so that they don’t rely completely on the Salvation Army or other entities all the time,” said Woodard.
Other programs include Kroc Centers across the United States, within which are gyms, as well as art classes for children. The Salvation Army also has several churches, men and women’s ministries, adult Bible studies, senior citizens programs, utilities, shelters in hotels, and an emergency food pantry, which is a 90-day program.
“We don’t turn people away.” Woodard
Woodard explained how the food pantry works, “We don’t turn people away, you know, we don’t say, ‘Well, you don’t have an emergency, so we’re not going to help you.’ Other food pantries will help anyone, just like we will, but we have to have a specific program to be able to say, ‘This is what we do; this is our niche in the community.’”
The food pantry accepts any non-perishable food item. However, having received its average of more than 800 pounds of food, Woodard says food donations are not as necessary this year.
The Minot Salvation Army helped about 200 families for Christmas this year with its Christmas programs.
Woodard says its biggest need this year are monetary donations, and that 90% of Salvation Army Minot donations go back into the organization. “We’re hurting this year, as far as donations are concerned, and volunteers,” he said. “We have to tighten the belt.”