Founded in London in 1865, The Salvation Army quickly circled the globe, going into the streets to minister to the poor and destitute and now serves in 127 countries.
Five local churches worked together to bring the Army to Memphis and services began on October 18, 1900.
Over the next several decades, The Salvation Army grew rapidly. Programs evolved to meet changing needs but remained focused on “Sharing God’s love by serving others” and continue to meet critical needs at the point of need.
How and where we serve
A residential work therapy program, the MidSouth Adult Rehabilitation Center opened in 2009 at 2649 Kirby Whitten. Family stores provide meaningful job training and proceeds keep the Center self-supporting, as 140 men and women work toward sobriety and rehabilitation with their families and careers. Combined with Renewal Place and an Intensive Outpatient Program at the Purdue Center, The Salvation Army is the largest provider of alcohol and drug recovery programs in Memphis. With spiraling addiction rates crippling city’s resources and families, The Salvation Army is again at the point of critical need.
Finally in 2013, maximizing the Joan Kroc bequest with a capital campaign chaired by Meg and Scott Crosby, The Salvation Army opened the doors of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at 800 East Parkway South. Here, on 15 acres in the heart of the city, in 100,000 square feet of innovative space, the Kroc Center provides arts, education, recreation and worship to people of all ages and backgrounds – 10,000 members and 260,000 guests a year. This proactive schedule builds individuals, families and neighborhoods and ultimately a more positive city, lessening the needs for critical services downstream. Another worship center at Winchester Corps continues to provide life-enriching programs as well.
Because of Memphis’ long-term and interrelated problems of poverty, homelessness, addiction and violence, The Salvation Army has committed its resources to Heal Memphis with long-term solutions.
The Salvation Army’s commitment to Memphis – 3 major campuses on 33 acres with $150 million in capital investment – makes this one of the only cities in the US to have all 3 signature programs in one location, working together throughout the year to stabilize lives for the children of tomorrow.
Services were provided in donated space until the 1970s when Abe Plough chaired a capital campaign to repurpose a building for dormitory space at 200 Monroe. When that was sold to make room for AutoZone Park, the Kemmons Wilson family led the campaign to build the first specially designed Purdue Center of Hope at 696 Jackson.
Opened in 2000, with 3 shelters housing 122 people each night, today it is the largest provider of shelter and services to homeless women and children in Memphis. Addiction recovery, job placements and permanent housing are just some of the outcomes. Additionally, the Angel Tree program brings Christmas joy to 5500 children and seniors in need each Christmas, often preventing eviction or utility cutoff, and a canteen ministry and disaster relief continue to bring caring assistance to the front lines.
It takes an Army!
To Heal Memphis, it takes an Army! Recognized for its iconic Red Kettles campaign which provides a vital portion of budget dollars, The Salvation Army continues to rely on local monies throughout the year.
Only with local support – over 10,000 volunteers, 20,000 donors, and 200 congregations, civic groups and companies – are ongoing services possible. Thank you, Memphis, for helping us provide 116 years of service. We invite each of you to join this critical work, serving the hearts of many in the heart of the city.