From homelessness and hunger to shelter and rehabilitation services, The Salvation Army stays true to its mission of meeting human needs without discrimination. It’s a mission that cannot be fulfilled without the support of ministry, volunteers, donors and grants.

June seems to be the month of grants, and we are happy to share a few of those starting with a rather large one. The Wal-Mart Foundation recently gave The Salvation Army Indiana a $100,000 grant to continue and improve hunger relief program initiatives. Money from the grant will be used to provide more meals for the underserved, raise awareness in the community to leverage additional support, and engage young people in service learning focused on issues of hunger.

Did you know The Salvation Army operates more than 25 food pantries across the state? In Evansville alone, our programs and pantry served 225,564 meals last year. In the city of Marion, a community where the unemployment rate was 11.2 percent (the state average was 8.7 percent) 80,011 meals were served. Those two communities make up a small fraction of the people The Salvation Army’s programs help on a yearly basis.

Homelessness is another battle The Salvation Army fights every year. The Ruth Lilly Women and Children Services Center, also called the Social Services Center, served more than 1,900 women and children in 2011. It’s a place where women found relief from domestic abuse and a chance to reclaim their lives through programs offered at the shelter. It was also a place where children were able to find hope and happiness.

The Social Service Center has been filled to capacity for the second year in a row. It doesn’t turn away anyone who is in need. With grants from United Way of Central Indiana’s Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation and the Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr. Memorial Foundation, Inc., the center will continue to grow and support the community like it has for the last 50 years through programs like: strength-based case management, child care, continuing support, Emergency Bed Space, residential support groups, children and parent mentoring group, tutoring for school-aged children and more.

Another huge program for the Social Service Center is the Summer of Wonders Day Camp that offers children living in the shelter days filled with fun and educational activities. The camp recently received a few grants of its own from the Peyback Foundation, the Lilly Endowment through the Summer Youth Program Fund and the Shaw Burkhardt Brenner Foundation.

A huge thank-you for all the gracious grants The Salvation Army has received so far this year. The programs supported by these grants are an integral part of helping the community and fulfilling the mission of The Salvation Army.