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The Salvation Army Celebrates 121 Years of Serving Greater Chattanooga!

Sunday, March 16th is the 121st anniversary of The Salvation Army officially beginning its life-changing ministries in Greater Chattanooga.  District Officer J. C. Smith arrived in the Scenic City that evening.  The next day he greeted Chattanoogans with these timely words, “We (come) with peace, charity and goodwill toward everyone, and we trust we shall succeed in doing good.”

All these years later, The Salvation Army is serving in 127 countries, and its Red Shield is one of the most recognized “brands” in America.  Moreover, the words of Adjutant Smith’s introductory remarks still ring true today in Chattanooga and around the globe for The Salvation Army’s promise is “Doing the Most Good for people in need with donors’ contributions of money, time and resources.”

On the occasion of its 121 birthday, the Greater Chattanooga Salvation Army wishes to express its sincere gratitude to our friends whose prayers, gifts of time, talents and treasures have blessed us and selflessly served the needs of our less fortunate neighbors throughout the area.  Together, the community and The Salvation Army have been providing shelter, food, clothing, furniture, disaster relief, Christmas assistance, physical, spiritual and emotional care for 121 years!

Chattanooga Salvation Army History Facts:

  • The first Open Air meeting was held on March 18th at the corner of Ninth and Market Streets.
  • The first indoor service was held in the Methodist Church’s Carter Hall at 105 Carter Street where it meets Frank Street.
  • The first Salvation Army leaders in Chattanooga were Captain Harry Roe and Lieutenant H. Henington.
  • Corps officer, song leader and guitar player in those first days, Captain Annie Glosser, was known as “Shouting Annie.”
  • The Army’s first shelter – a four-story workingman’s hotel – opened November 18, 1903 at 532 Market Street.  A meeting room and a dining room comprised the first floor and the local officers lived on the second floor.  The hotel began on the third floor where apartments rented for 25 cents and dormitory beds rented for 15 cents.  The fourth floor dormitory beds cost 10 cents a night. sa hotel
  • The Army purchased its initial property on McCallie Avenue in June 1975. This property still houses an innovative church program and the ReCreate Café for the homeless.

Today, the local Salvation Army offers church and community center programs for all ages in Brainerd, East Lake and Cleveland, and a Family Thrift Store in East Ridge.

Other local Salvation Army programs include:

  • The Social Services Ministry in East Lake, which empowers individuals and families to work toward self-sufficiency by providing emergency utility assistance, food boxes and vouchers, and clothing items.
  • Disaster Services, which feed, hydrate and shelter disaster victims. In recent times, The Salvation Army has assisted in relief efforts for those affected by the tornado outbreak in 2011 and 2012, and the 2013 Patten Towers fire.
  • Holiday Assistance Programs, which share the joy of a Christ-filled Thanksgiving and Christmas to thousands of families and individuals whose needs would not otherwise be met. 5,445 Angels were provided with Holiday Assistance in 2013.
  • Volunteer Opportunities in our community saw nearly 10,000 volunteers donate time valued at over $940,706 in 2013.

A convert from an earlier Salvation Army mission in the area was quoted in the March 18, 1893 Chattanooga Times, “Yes, sir, I tell you there are dozens of men and women in Chattanooga whom have been inestimably benefitted by the Salvation Army. It is a body of common people working among the common people.”

The Greater Chattanooga Salvation Army still strives to fulfill Adjutant Smith’s words of March 17, 1893 – doing the most good!

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