Salvation Army Canada - What is Community Family Services

Community Family ServicesWhat is Community Family Services

Community & Family Services is the second most recognizable face of The Salvation Army, next to our Thrift Stores in cities and communities across Canada. It is has been the open door to many individuals and families facing crisis for almost 130 years in Canada. These offices are often connected to a Salvation Army church and work alongside our Thrift Stores, as well they also work with our shelters, addiction centres and our corrections and justice programs.

Every Community & Family Services office will be unique as it fulfills our Mission, as every community is unique and different. Our holistic support programs will vary across the county as they meet the specific challenges in that particular community or city. To meet these challenges more effectively, we work in partnerships with other organizations and agencies to improve services as well as strengthen and transform the communities in which we live.  

Well known for our food banks, Christmas hampers and kettles, there are over 230 Community & Family Services offices across Canada today, providing over 50 different types of programs and supports to those who are vulnerable, facing challenges or in crisis.

Brief History of our Work

The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda has had a long history of providing support in local communities. In 1886, four years after it had started in Canada, The Salvation Army started its Social Wing, a full scale program of recovery and restoration.  1888 the first rescue home for girls opened and 6 more were opened 2 years later along with a children’s home. The first appeal for the needy was in 1890, a coal drive called Black Sacks. The first Christmas kettle was launched in 1903. Immigrant support was started in 1905 and in 1908 a salvage work was started that was the beginning of the Thrift Stores. 1910 was the first Fresh Air camp and 1917 was the first EDS response at the Halifax explosion. As The Salvation Army grew across Canada so did our engagement and commitment in social issues in local communities.

How we Support People and Communities

We provide a wide variety of holistic support programs, designed to meet the specific to the needs of the community where we live.

Nutritional Support: food banks, community meals, community kitchen and cooking classes, gardens and school based programs.

Financial: trustee programs, budgeting support, volunteer tax clinic

Social: drop in Café, conversational clubs, exercise programs, art or movie club, community choir

Outreach: mobile vans, hygiene kits, blankets, community events

Educational: life skills workshops, after-school programs, English second language class

Seasonal: Christmas supports, children’s camp programs, coat and boot programs

Spiritual Care: Alpha and Messy church programs, community memorial service, mentorship

Cultural: immigrant and refugee support programs