Why Has America (And The World) Stopped Giving The Salvation Army So Much Money?

The Salvation Army isn’t just feeling the hurt in Washington D.C.: In Chicago coins, bills, and candy wrappers tossed into the organization’s signature red kettles are down 13 percent — while food requests are up 200-400 percent. In Denver, donations are on track to come up $1 million short of Sal’s goal. In the Twin Cities, it’s over $500k behind. And in all of New Zealand, donations are down 10 percent. It’s too bad Sal’s can’t feed the needy on bias. But Sal’s will take your donations via text message. Sending “ANGEL” to 85944 makes a $5 donation, while “SHINE” to 85944 makes a $10 donation. “FAGS R PPL 2,” alas, donates nothing.

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    I used to toss coin into those kettles. Until I was with an older friend of mine and he told me that in NYC when they were fighting for the Gay rights bill in the 80’s the three groups who fought hardest in an unsuccessful bid to derail the bill were the catholic church, ortohdox jews, and the salvation army………..

    Gay karma is a bitch, bitches

  • Fitz

    In SF, the SA held the only county contract for medially based alcohol detox. Translation: the only place someone could go without any insurance, and get medical help while they dried out. (often this is required before they are allowed to enroll in a program). When SF said that you coudn’t discriminate against glbt patients (family visits) had to provide Domestic Partner Benefits to employees (if you offer it to the straight ones) , the SA responded by closing shop… effectively eliminating any alcohol detox beds for a year until a new provider could bid for the contract. They would rather see people die (literally) than be pushed to accept fagots. I give people AT LEAST a dirty look when they drop money into the kettle, and if I have time, I talk to them. I have also talked to the manager at my local small grocery store, to ask him to remove them and explained why.

  • scott ny'er

    @Fitz: that’s terrible. good info. Spread the word.

  • Cam

    We have purposely sent money to other local area charities, there is no way I am going to give money to an organization that will turn around and try to use my own money against me.

  • Gregg

    I donate quite a bit to charities directly via check. I cannot stand being panhandled in any manner on the street or at my door.

  • holla

    Noone is operating services for the homeless and poor on the scale that the Sally Ann is. Yes, they are not crazy for gays, but they have made some moves to make their services accessible to everyone, even people whose “lifestyles” they disagree with. In Toronto they operate one of the only shelter spaces for trans folks. They may attempt, politically, to limit the rights of queers, but they explicitly no longer discriminate in their service delivery. Just as they don’t refuse service to Muslims, even though they consider them to be misguided as well. I’m not saying go out and drop money in the kettle, but I am saying that there is more nuance to this than we might like to believe.

  • TimBo

    I don’t think donations being down is a sign of people turning their back on the Salvation Army if you look at Charities over all they are all down, it is a sign of the economic times.

  • Daez

    @holla: Oh come on, this is Queerty. You are being a “straight” apologist if you don’t kiss the ass of every gay poster here. How dare you defend an organization that is actually getting out there and helping people? Seriously, you are supposed to bitch about them while doing nothing to help people yourself simply because they tend to be anti-gay sometimes and they were anti-gay in the 1980s when so was 95% of the country.

    Seriously, some day the LGBTQ community will realize that just because someone or something is anti-gay it doesn’t make them evil incarnate. When that day comes maybe we can sit down with those people instead of bashing their heads into oblivion and accomplishing nothing.

  • Pygar

    Glad to see the tide has turned. I remember when a majority of the commentators on gay message boards defended these homophobes, making elaborate rationalizations about why we should support them anyway. For those of use who have known about the SA’s policies for 10+ years this is good news.

  • scribe

    @Daez: OKAY DUDE I WARNED YOU… YOUR Gay card is pulled…. seriously though.. a lady in Michigan doing internship in social work is currently suing them. The DETROIT NEWS REPORTS: She had a 3.96 grade point average and applied for the internship to complete her school requirement. SHE claims she was LET GO of the internship because she is with child without a husband. That’s all sorts of wrong!!! I normally give to them every year, but rethinking that now.

  • Benjamin

    I’m surprised that the Salvation Army’s offensive behavior is news. I’ve know about this for years and years and assumed everyone else did too. I never give to them – EVER.

  • Fitz

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I am calling someone who discriminates against me and my people evil.

  • Ronbo

    @Daez: Who is paying you to spout this drivel? No one here is buying your line that (to paraphrase) just because they hate you, work against your rights and deny you equality, they aren’t evil.

    Dude, go back to Redstate and Drudge and FoxMews. They appreciate your dark passenger. We have a soul.

  • Kev C

    I’m sure the economy is one reason donations are down. But socially, I think people are so taxed and overburdened by solicitors, they’re annoyed when they see these street beggars.

  • Daez

    @scribe: No! You can’t take it. I couldn’t be a card carrying member of the closed minded bigoted gay community then.

    Seriously though, I’m not saying the SA is a saintly organization. I would much rather not be giving to them; however, if you find me one organization that has done as much as the SA for people in poverty I will gladly donate to them. However, unfortunately there isn’t one.

    I do try to give to my local church or food bank much more than the SA, but the SA is still doing good work even if they are doing it while being closed minded and bigoted.

  • Daez

    @Ronbo: Its Faux News. GET IT RIGHT DAMMIT! I get my whole income from them after all.

    Seriously though, believe it or not the whole fucking world and yours and my existence isn’t summed up in good/bad, gay/straight, right/wrong.

    Is the SA a bigoted, close minded organization? Hell yes. Do they still do more to help the poor and disenfranchised than any other organization? Unfortunately, yes.

    I’m more than willing to put myself aside to help others, and I believe that choosing who you can marry may sometimes take a back seat to rather someone else can actually afford to eat and has a place to live or not.

    I’m not saying that gay people aren’t in the situation where they are homeless or hungry, but guess what most of them do in that situation. They turn to the SA because its the only organization in many communities that is doing anything to help the poor and disenfranchised.

    If you want to start another organization, by all means please do so, and I will gladly donate to you.

  • Fitz

    @Daez: Putting yourself aside isn’t the issue. Cosigning onto bigotry against your own is disgusting. You want to be a sub? Go to Folsom. But don’t package it as some BS altruistic stance. The REASON SA is able to be so helpful to the poor is because of the donations and government money which, if SA wasn’t funneling it off, could go to an organization that didn’t embrace bigotry as a policy.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @Daez: GIVE YOUR MONEY TO THE ALI FORNEY CENTER, it provides shelter to homeless gay kids in NYC…there is no better cause and they need the help.


    The Salvation Army uses much of the money it receives on political operations including donations to the Yes on H8 campaign and against marriage equality across the country.

    Why would any gay/lesbian give a penny to fund an Army, and yes they are an army Christian fundamentalists, spewing their hatred of others on the poor they serve.

  • scribe

    @Mike in Asheville: Going to write them the check that I normally give to SA… Thanks for the information

  • Joseph

    Religion is the root of all hate, war and descrimination in this world! Religion poisons everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • James

    @holla: Zinnia Jones has a very good series of vlog posts on the problems with saying “The Salvos do a lot of good so I’m going to support them in spite of theeir discriminatory practices. is a direct answer to the “They are the largest operator in the field of homeless charity.” argument.

  • Brutus

    @Joseph: No. Greed for money and power poisons everything, including religion. Religion is just a construct, a tool. It can bring people together into communities willing to help each other and share and share alike — or it can turn people into dogmatic, xenophobic bigots.

  • jacknasty

    personally I don’t give because those bells are damn annoying. There used to be one right next to the coffee shop where I’d get coffee before work. I’m sorry but I’m not going to reward you for ringing a bell over and over before I’ve even had a little morning caffine.

  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    Here in the East, The SA has gotten a bad reputation for having a poor ratio of good works to the money-raised…just as the Red Cross has of-late. Too much of the overall donations get spent on salaries, overhead, real estate and fund-raising…and very little on actual “charity”. The Society of Friends’ and the Mennonites’ charitable groups have much higher ratios.

    One unsavory allegation is that the SA now hires homeless and unemployed persons to work the Red Kettles, who get get to keep a percentage of what goes into their Kettle. Not like the old days when only uniformed SA members manned the Red Kettles.

    …Plus, those damned bells are really annoying.

  • Mac McNeill

    I give NO MONEY to religious based charities. Most of them, Salvation Army included, won’t help you unless you committ to God and the religions. To me, helping someone is helping with no strings attached. Help shouldn’t come with sipulations.

    Happy Holidays.

  • Black Jack44

    there was one outside the grocery store i went to tonight and i conveniently ignored them on the way in and out.

  • Ken S

    For my part I just don’t donate to any religious charity that has a secular counterpart I could donate to instead. UNICEF instead of World Vision, local food bank and women in transition house instead of the Salvation Army, and so on. I’m a humanist– I prefer that my giving not get entangled with worldviews that I find absurd on good days, and abhorrent on bad ones.

  • ait10101

    My downstairs neighbour in the 80s was on a suicide watch line, but told me she stopped referring people to the SA because they required total abstinence, which many homeless and desperate people could not do, in her experience.
    A friend in Australia working for gay rights in New Zealand prior to his move to Melbourne (in this case overturning an old British law condemning homosexuality) told me that the SA was their major opposition, and that they were funded by the US. This was confirmed by my office mate, who was a major proponent of the overturn of the previous laws (like me, he is a professional philosopher, and he got the whole department involved in the process). I have little sympathy for the SA, despite the undeniable good that they do achieve. Please find other charities to give your money to.

  • mischa

    boohoo the poor evangelical homophobic jerkwads aren’t getting enough money to funnel to their ads, upper management, and buying off anti-gay rights government officials and bills. I feel so bad for these people who don’t ACTUALLY care about people just their sexuality and their faith. The SA isn’t doing the most good. If you want your money to mean something there are hundreds of charities out there that actually do the most good with the donations they receive. Do the right thing and continue to allow them to feel the hurt. Maybe they will figure out what having real compassion for all people is all about. They brought this hurt on themselves, the acceptability of homophobia is dying out and so will the SA. All of the nut jobs who are so entrenched in this twisted and narrow-minded prejudice will have their voice reduced to a whisper. Good riddance. They (homophobes) will join the ranks of their faded and widely hated brethren – the Nazis, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK.

  • Jeffree

    The Salvation Army deserves not one cent due to their record on LGBT issues.

    That said, it stands to say that the person ringing the bell or standing by the red kettle doesn’t deserve any scorn. Many of them are homeless or close to it. Some of them may be LGBT themselves.

    If we want to stand against their policies, it’s better to let the organization itself hear from us directly.

  • BeFairAlways

    Why didn’t Mischa include the New Black Panthers and the Soviet Communists along with his list of homophobes?

Comments are closed.