With local shelters at capacity, the Salvation Army asks for community support heading into coldest months of the year

Bell ringing season is over, but the non-profit operates year-round

MADISON, Wis.– 2021 is expected to be another challenging year for many people. But for those without a place to sleep or food to eat, challenging doesn’t even begin to describe the anticipated struggles ahead.

“During Christmas, we take advantage of people’s generosity and the visibility of the bells,” said Steve Heck, Director of Operations for the Salvation Army of Dane County. “But the need is there, the need is growing, and with COVID, the need isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

The Salvation Army operates Madison’s only shelter for single women and the only emergency shelter for families. It also runs programs many people don’t know about.

“We also run a diversion program where we have folks that call in and think they’re going to come to the shelter, and we try to find options for them,” said Heck. “A shelter is just a temporary fix. We want to get them in permanent housing. That’s the answer.”

But for people who need help right now, shelters are the fix they’re counting on this winter.

The Salvation Army is currently housing a record number of women and families at its Madison shelters and is relying on local generosity to continue making a difference in the new year. Since the start of the pandemic, the non-profit has been serving three times the number of homeless families it typically does and providing a safe place for twice the number of single women at its overnight shelter. That shelter is now open 24/7 and is the only one of its kind in the county.

RELATED: Why the Salvation Army’s services are especially needed this year

Giving money, donating unused items, and sharing your time are three of the ways you can give back to the Salvation Army of Dane County this winter. You can learn more and help the Salvation Army make a difference in our community here.