Founded in 1865, the Salvation Army is an international organization that helps about 25 million Americans each year.
The movement is based on the universal Christian church, and helps meet needs by offering a number of services, including disaster relief, hunger relief and housing assistance.
The Salvation Army operates more than 7,500 centers across the nation, two of which benefited from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund in 2016.
Now in its 89th year, the fund raises money for nonprofit organizations in the Greater Peninsula area. In the 2016 campaign, the holiday fund raised more than $166,000, which was distributed to 23 organizations and nonprofits Nov. 2. Ferguson matches 50 cents for every dollar raised for the first $100,000.
Though the Salvation Army’s Virginia Peninsula Command offers different programs and assistance throughout the year, the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund helps its holiday efforts most.
That includes the Christmas food pantry, winter housing and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which allows people to donate Christmas gifts to a specific child.
“It’s something we’ve received for years on end but it allows us to do what we need to do to meet the needs of the community,” Virginia Peninsula Command Lt. Michael Good said of the fund. The Virginia Peninsula Command helps 2,800 children around the Christmas season and 1,300 families, he said.
The Salvation Army’s Virginia Peninsula Command assists families in Newport News, Hampton, York, Poquoson, Gloucester and Mathews.
Like the Virginia Peninsula Command, the Salvation Army’s Williamsburg Corps helps families the entire year, mostly for emergency services, said Lt. Jeremy Lind of the Williamsburg Corps.
That includes transitional housing, helping with bills and rent.
With the help from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund, the Williamsburg Corps is able to provide holiday meals to about 520 families — about 900 children and 1,000 seniors, plus adults, Lind said.
The families received that meal this Christmas.
“In my view, that’s so that if they, our clients, don’t have to worry about one meal for Christmas, that’s time they can spend with their families and focusing on the important things of life rather than being in survival mode and thinking ‘where’s my next meal coming from, how am I going to feed my kids,’ ” Lind said.
The Williamsburg Corps received $14,400 from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund last year.