The case against The Salvation Army — and who should replace it
I think I speak for everyone when I say this year has been rough. On top of the COVID-19 crisis, the political vicissitudes we’ve witnessed have raised awareness about supporting nonprofits and charities who share our principles.
Notwithstanding the many holidays in the upcoming weeks, the end of the year as a whole has been associated with giving back. So if you are able to contribute to a charity, I have one request to make: don’t donate to The Salvation Army, and don’t shop at their stores.
Over the years, The Salvation Army has been at the centre of every possible kind of accusation. Their conservative mission has caused many to call them out on their abusive and discriminatory practices.
Most notoriously, they have vocally been against gay and trans issues. They have refused or forfeited housing to homeless LGBTQ people and maintained their religious stance against same-sex relationships and have a history of refusing to comply with anti-discrimination policies. They even held campaigns encouraging gay people to seek out conversion therapy.
The list of this organization’s wrongdoings goes on and on. Their workfare programs in the United Kingdom, a form of welfare in which people have to work in order to continue receiving benefits, have been heavily criticized for forcing people with disabilities — or anyone, really — to work in order not to lose their means of survival.
A homeless woman who stayed at a Salvation Army shelter has described the insalubrious conditions she lived in and the horrific behaviour of employees, calling out an environment that fosters abuse of power from the part of the organization’s workers.
All this under the pretext of the benevolence of Christianity.
This being said, if you would like to contribute to important causes, here are some other charities, both local and international, that you should consider helping out:
This charity is a good alternative to The Salvation Army if you want to fund a homeless shelter. They provide mental support, food, and medical resources to the community, and if you’re unable to give money, they sometimes collect donations of clothing and food. Native Women’s shelter is a branch of Resilience that specifically gives support to vulnerable Indigenous women.
This is another women’s shelter with a similar mission to Resilience. They also offer legal services and advice to those who may not have access to a lawyer.
This centre provides support and encourages the emancipation of immigrant and racialized women in Montreal. They hold classes, workshops, communal activities, and even daycare services to help women integrate into their community and regain their independence.
The Yemeni crisis has left millions in urgent need of shelter, food, and even clean water. Mona Relief works directly with communities to respond to their needs, and ensures the least amount of resources are wasted on administration and intermediaries. They’ll also periodically send email updates and pictures from their projects, so you can really follow who your money helps.
Through preventive measures, 3 Angels works to fight human trafficking in Nepal, where mostly women and children are smuggled across the border to India. Their projects ensure the safety of victims, and provide resources like microcredit and education to help victims reintegrate into society independently.
These are my personal picks, but I hope they help you look for organizations that speak more to your personal values, and encourage you to support important causes.
Graphic by @the.beta.lab