The Salvation Army is an international, faith-based charitable organization with a simple mission: to help those in need without discrimination.
Headquartered in London --- from a building at the foot of the Millennium Bridge ---The Salvation Army serves in 126 countries and has an extensive presence in the United States. Adhering to a quasi-militaristic structure, The Salvation Army in the United States is divided into four territories, which are further subdivided into divisions. The Salvation Army Greater New York Division serves the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and seven counties in the lower Hudson Valley.
There are overarching initiatives that run throughout The Salvation Army's faith-based humanitarian efforts in the United States and beyond, such as relief for victims of disasters, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, and feeding and sheltering the disadvantaged and homeless. The programs and services that each country, territory, or division offers differ drastically depending on the populations they serve. For instance, programs in a third-world country might include a medical clinic or midwifery school, whereas a program in an urban region of the United States might attempt to remedy a lack of extracurricular education for youth by starting a basketball program or a music class.
Many of the more than 100 programs the Greater New York Division offers are operated out of 39 corps community centers (corps) overseen by corps officers --- men and women who have undergone a two year course in residence at a Salvation Army college where they study theology and field-practice courses such as sociology and administration. Officers --- who have titles according to rank such as Captain or Major --- are ordained ministers, as well as community-center directors. From building maintenance to deciding whether to start an ESL program or a choir, the corps officer is responsible for interpreting the needs of each community. Once needs are determined, officers work with more than a thousand Salvation Army Greater New York employees (development and finance staff, social workers, etc.) and over thousands of volunteers to create appropriate programming.
In addition to corps-based programs, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division administers a wide variety of social services which are largely made possible through contracts with government agencies such as the New York City Department of Homeless Services and the New York City Administration for Children's Services.