Bil Browning

Salvation Army donations down dramatically this year

Filed By Bil Browning | December 07, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: anti-gay organizations, bell ringers, red kettles, Salvation Army

While I'd love to think I helped do my part with my post, "Why You Shouldn't Give to the Salvation Army this Holiday Season," it seems that the Giant Food supermarket chain is the reason why Salvation Army donations are down dramatically this year in Washington, DC.

salvation-army.gifIn the 16 days that ended Dec. 1, Washington-area Salvation Army ringers collected $404,894, or about 15 percent less than in the same period last year, said Kenneth Forsythe, a spokesman for the organization. It collected $68,271 outside Giant stores, a 75 percent drop from the same period last year, Mr. Forsythe said.
"We're uncomfortable turning families away right now," he said. "And it's not going to get any better in January."

Why are donations down? The supermarket chain decided to allow other charities the ability to dun shoppers for donations instead of giving those rights exclusively to the Salvation Army. Kudos to Giant Foods for helping the other organizations who don't have a history of discriminating against LGBT people.

The Salvation Army might be "uncomfortable turning away families right now," unless it's a queer family, of course. Then they have no problem saying, "It doesn't get better."

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If you want to help people, there are many authentic local charities. We don't need Christians to handle the money.

I think that someone at Bilerico ought to contact the head of the Salvation Army (do they have a Pope?) and ask for an official statement regarding their willingness to aid GLBT people, including gay couples.

I agree that if they discriminate against GLBT people, then they deserve to be avoided -- notice I said avoided, not boycotted -- but I also don't want to misrepresent them via a low-profile counter-campaign, and thus hurt an organization whose primary goals are laudable.

Lynn Miller | December 8, 2010 4:06 AM

AJ, yes, the Salvation Army does much good. The comments which have been posted here and at other LGBT sites seem to suggest that the organization does not exclude homosexuals or transgender from its services. However, the Salvation Army does seem to require that gay and lesbian couples not be treated as such and that transgender individuals be treated according to their genitals. And if persons are unhappy with such treatment, they are free to go elsewhere.

If you want to read their official policy statement on homosexuality, you can read it here:

Personally, I choose to donate to other causes. But there is no denying that the Salvation Army provides a great assistance to many persons.

How about quantifying "Salvation Army does much good." As a "religious organization" the SA does not file any financial information with the IRS and is never audited.

The Salvation Army is not a charity - it is a $3 billion religious organization.

@A.J. Have you ever heard of Google? If you use it, you would know that the Salvation has never been a friend of the queer community. They routinely deny services to people who are not heterosexual and willing to say they believe in the baby jebus.

@thehawke: Are you a regular reader at Bilerico? If you were, you would know that a previous post developed an extensive comment thread. Most comments were against the Salvation Army, but some were GLBT people who had good experiences being helped by SA, and a few others were SA volunteers or workers who claimed that they never knew of their particular chapter being less than supportive of the GLBT folks who came their way. Others OTOH, including Bil Browning himself, reported specific bad experiences.

So, Google or no Google, there is some controversy on this point. That is why I suggested we refer to some official -- because regardless of what is posted on the web as their "official position" there still appears to be a range of inconsistency here.

And BTW, let's leave Baby Jesus out of this.

please see this link: - Cached

There are so many organizations that give help the way I would like to offer help myself- and isn't that the reason for giving?

Just because it's convenient is no longer a good enough reason. And Bil, I think your post helped make that point....

It is easy to conclude that the SA takes in $3 billion a year and is not held accountable like other registered, regulated "charitable" organizations. It is a "religious" organization and that should give all donors pause.

For instance, SA raised $20 million in the 6 months following the earthquake in Haiti. Almost a year later they have only spent one-third of that money and Haiti now has a cholera outbreak - one that may kill more people than the earthquake did. What is the SA waiting for? Instructions from God?


Salvation Army

Amount raised: $20,500,000
Amount spent: $6,800,000
Where the money went: Managing a camp for 20,000 people in Port-au-Prince, providing food, water, and medical aid and supporting cash-for-work programs. Plans to build more than 4,000 transitional shelters.

Andrew, I am not familiar with Salvation Army's relief actions in Haiti and am surprised to find myself in the role of defending the organization. However, the link you cite is from July 9th. Not only that from five months ago, but we don't know how old the data was even then.

It only makes sense that donations would far exceed services during the first few months of a disaster. Individual donors have notoriously short memories. Once the TV cameras have moved away, donations plummet. International NGOs know that, and if they are providing services for the long term, plan for this feast and famine of donations. The needs of those affected by disaster do not go away simply because individual donors no longer care.

As of December, 2010 Salvation Army is still managing relief camps in Haiti, and yes, providing cholera aid too. Again, I don't know the details of their aid, but there seems no reason to think that they are withholding funds intended to help the people of Haiti.

That article was written 6 months after the Earthquake. SA hasn't provided an update and it is now 11 months later.

But, Sarah Plain just made a visit to Haiti and as reported in the Guardian:

Earthquake. Cholera. Political strife. And now Sarah Palin.

The former US vice-presidential candidate is visiting Haiti's refugee camps on a mission variously described as bringing great comfort to the people of the Caribbean country and an attempt to bolster her weak foreign policy credentials ahead of a possible run for the White House.

Palin arrived at the invitation of Franklin Graham, a leading evangelical preacher who has drawn criticism for calling Islam a "religion of war" and for saying that Barack Obama has "the seed of Islam" in him.

So, it gets worse.

Earthquake. Cholera. Political strife. And now Sarah Palin.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Haven't Haitians suffered enough already?

Carol Hunter | December 21, 2010 1:28 PM

I have been to many stores where the
BellRinger are and I refuse to give a donation.I have yet to have one of these people wish me a Merry Christmas.Instead I get good evening or good morning,Salvation Army is suppost to be a christion organition,so where is the Merry Christmas.Remember Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ,So salvation Army were is your christanity