National Salvation Army Week, week honoring The Salvation Army for its work, was initially established in November of 1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower. Now celebrated in May of each year, this week is set aside to highlight the rich history of The Salvation Army, as well as the contributions of those who have made the Army’s work possible.
The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida has served the first coast for 127 years. The Army’s location in Jacksonville was the first in Florida. When the Army first started operations in Jacksonville the organization put in place programs that would help the poor including a child care center, summer camp outings for low-income children, free ice water in the summer and fuel for fires in the winter, feeding the hungry, and a Christmas cheer program.
Today The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida has programs that address similar needs: the Red Shield Lodge women and families shelter, affordable housing for men coming out of homelessness, the Child Development Center (ages 6 weeks-VPK), summer camp for low-income kids (Camp Keystone), Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance, the food pantry which serves 250 households each week, and the Meal Ministry program which serves a hot meal for anyone who is hungry 365 days a year.
From President Eisenhower’s 1954 declaration: “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood. In time of war, the men and women of this organization have brought to those serving their country far from home, friendliness and warm concern. In the quieter days of peace, their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”