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Thieves In The Salvation Army

Updated on July 12, 2011

A Shocking Thought

It’s a shocking thought to think there might be thieves in the Salvation Army, a Christian charity. What happens to your hard earned money you donate to this organization? Supposedly, it goes to help the needy. But does it?

For the most part, The Salvation Army is a fine organization which provides loving care to less fortunate’s around the world. This article is not intended to give a black eye to the majority of honest Salvation Army members striving to provide essential services to the disadvantaged. Its’ purpose is to alert the powers that be and public at large, that certain improprieties may exist in certain places. And by all means, they’re not the only charitable establishments which have problems with dishonest employees. You’ve seen reports of this nature in national media. I’ve worked in other Christian nonprofit organizations in a managerial capacity and observed similar offenses.

I am a witness to some of the following incidents and others have been told to me by reliable sources. And I realize the allegations to be made here are hearsay. Many allegations come under this heading, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth to them.

Although I’m not an employee of the Salvation Army, I do work in one of their social services office through a senior citizen employment program. I’ve been there about two years. The exact location, I prefer not to disclose, but perhaps an alert, responsible member of the Salvation Army may take notice and instigate appropriate action. The chapter in question is in South Carolina and not in the southern districts or along the coast line.

There are several honest employees at this facility who have also witnessed outright theft and are sick and tired of it. So, why hasn’t anyone stepped forward and reported it? They have, at the local level and also higher up the chain of command. The higher level management in Atlanta did acknowledge the reports and sent a memo to the commanding officer in charge of the facility in question. That’s where it stopped. Why, could that be where the problem is? You be the judge.

Certain employees have verbally reported these acts to the commanding officer. One was told she was “overstepping her boundaries’” and another “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Nepotism runs rampant through the social services and human resources departments, which may be a violation of hiring practices. Notwithstanding that possibility, close family relatives are the only ones being hired in these departments regardless of numerous applications submitted by persons unquestionably as well qualified, if not more so, than the ones hired. Out of at least 100 applications received for the last social services manager position, only three were interviewed…one being a relative who was hired. The outgoing social services manager retired after many years with the Salvation Army. Her granddaughter presently holds the human resources manager position. The previous human resources manager also had the same last name as the retiree. It has become a monarchy.

Favoritism is shown in dispensing some services such as emergency food assistance. Prepared boxes of food items are made in advance. Different sizes are prepared according to the number of persons in a household. But, not for their relatives, who basically come in and pack their own, taking whatever they desire. This I have personally witnessed. Others have seen them backing their car up to the food pantry after hours and loading it with boxes of food. It has become their private grocery store.

Annually, anonymous individuals donate grocery gift cards around Christmas time for senior citizens. It was related to me by several honest employees only a few of them reached their intended destination. The phrase “They don’t need that many.” was overheard.

What about productivity? These managers sometimes leave early, usually when the officers aren’t there. Recently, on a Friday, they both left about 20 minutes early from work. About three minutes afterwards a client needing rent assistance phoned in. They had completed the required actions needed for the Salvation Army to make their pledge to the landlord. The social services manager knew this individual didn’t finish work until 4 pm, according to the client. It’s not known at this time whether the client was evicted. It’s obvious, these two employees care little about the people they’re hired to serve. I’m sure I could add to this list, but these transgressions should be sufficient.

As referenced before, this article is not intended to get anybody fired or reprimanded. It’s written without malice or intent of personal gain, hopefully, so someone might investigate the situation.

Your hard earned money, especially in this economy, shouldn’t be squandered on unscrupulous people having jobs that can support themselves and not take from the poor.

Hearsay? Maybe, but don’t you think the possibility might bear some scrutiny?


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    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 5 years ago

      Kattywho - Wow, it's amazing to me that you ended up being terminated for exposing such an obvious wrong by the Captain and his wife. Keep up the good work your doing. I hope you find great legal counsel.

    • profile image

      Kattywho 5 years ago

      I worked for a Salvation Army in Ohio. I knew the Captain was embezzeling money. After months of personal investing and recording conversations, I took my info to the police. Charges were pressed against the Captain. Both husband and wife were transferred to another SA location. They will be out as Captains for 1 year, only to return as Captains at another location. I was terminated. I am now seeking legal counsel.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 5 years ago

      I've donated to the Salvation Army for years and have shopped in the stores as well to support them. This is so disheartening to read about, but not totally surprising.

      Sometimes people who get a little bit of power begin to feel entitled to the services they are supposed to be providing to the less fortunate. I've seen it in other jobs. This is a great hub and the more it's talked about the more likely action for changes will occur.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Hmmm...I wasn't aware of that Esther. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      ESTHER 6 years ago

      That is Salvation Army for you it is the samething everywhere.They employ their family members even if they dont have a clue about the job

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      LOL Myth,

      Since I wrote this, as far as I know nothing has changed there. However, fortunately I'm not working there anymore. I am now working with a local nonprofit soup kitchen. The people there are great and very caring individuals. I'm much happier working with this group. Also, no theft.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      What the phark? lol I have had similar experiences as you mention here, JY3502. I ask a LOT of questions at local low-income agencies and shelters now (and get a lot of dull or pointed stares, sometimes sneers lol). I don't have a single problem with the accusatory statements you put forth, Sir! *nods* We need to get you a foghorn soon and never mind the whistle!


    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      The incidents were reported to Divisional HQ. As stated, they sent a memo to the unit commanding officer, who was the one allowing the practice. He ignored it. The incidents were witnessed by myself and several honest employees.

    • Chaotic Chica profile image

      Chaotic Chica 7 years ago

      I am very glad that you wrote this. My husband used to work for them and he said that one would be shocked to see how well off the 'upper management' were in relation to their reported income status. Eventually, he could not take it anymore and left but then he moved here and saw some of the same things happening in the local branch. There is still some suspicion regarding the fire that destroyed it two years ago. Either way, there is some serious investigation needed into these allegations. Great hub!

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Somebody has to be a whistle blower. Thanks for your comments.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from idyllwild ca.

      This is just wrong! It puts a bad taste in my mouth. I stopped giving to this charity for similar reasons. I prefer to give to those that I can trust. Thanks

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina


      Good idea. I also have seen similar situations at the SA here. On a smaller scale of course. Big bags of potatoes stacked up in a HOT pantry. Rotting because the people in charge didn't care enough to tell someone to open them up and put them on a shelf or something to keep the moisture out. My job is only supposed to be as a receptionist, and I work through AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program. But they saddled me with working the Pantry also. I don't mind since if I didn't do it it would be in a huge mess.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      This is why I mostly give ,sometimes anonomously, to families or individuals that God puts on my heart.If given directly to the family, whether it is food, diapers, or paying a bill for them, I KNOW my money got to the person in need.I would like to do much more than I do for those in underdeveloped countries, and I do give to a particular charity. I'm just not trusting enough when I see huge flats of food rotting because of no plan to distribute it.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I know it does. I managed a Christian men's home and had to get rid of dishonest people on many occasions. I just hope they don't try and frame me for writing this. That's what usually happens to whistle blowers. But in a way, I sort of hope someone does try. I have more than one ace up my sleeve this time. I learned you got to cover your butt in matters like this. I just got sick of watching it happen.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 7 years ago

      It does happen, too often I'm afraid and makes folks think twice about donating to worthy charities.