Salvation Army launches winter drive for homeless

TOP 09 deputy Donimik Feri is among the supporters of the coupon drive

The Salvation Army (Armáda spásy) has launched a new program where people can contribute Kč 100 so a homeless person can spend one night in a Salvation Army shelter.

Donimik Feri (TOP 09), the youngest member of the Chamber of Deputies, has been promoting the issue on social networks.

“It is starting to get rough [outside]. Friends, please let's make the winter easier for those who need it. Go and give the Salvation Army Kč 100. Please share this invitation further. Thanks,” Feri wrote on Facebook.

The Salvation Army runs a winter dormitory from December to May, as homeless people are at risk of freezing to death.

“By buying a Kč 100 coupon, you will support a specific homeless person who will be able to spend the night in warmth in the dormitory of the Salvation Army in Prague, Brno, Ostrava or Karlovy Vary. However, it is not just about overnight stays, a homeless person is also provided with soup, bread, and a warm drink, and they have the opportunity to take a shower and attend to personal hygiene. Warm clothing and shoes are also available here,” the Salvation Army website says.

People can also contribute a larger amount. Kč 100 will go to bed for a homeless person, and the rest will help the organization to organize and run hostels.

Homeless people normally pay a symbolic fee of Kč 30 to Kč 45 crowns for one night in a Salvation Army dormitory. But this does not cover the actual costs, which are between Kč 100 and Kč 200 per person.

People who contribute for a homeless person’s night's lodging will receive an e-mail from the Salvation Army telling them which specific person benefited from the donation.

The coupons will be applied throughout the winter until the end of May, and there may be some delay between when the donation is made and when it is used if the program is successful.

People who can’t contribute financially can help the homeless by donating warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, winter boots, caps, scarves and gloves to a Salvation Army branch or other charitable organization.

The Salvation Army started its work in Czechoslovakia in 1919 and ran homes for the homeless and other marginalized groups. The communist government restricted and eventually completely banned its activities in 1950 and imprisoned a number of its members and officers.

After the Velvet Revolution, the Czechoslovak government became interested in the Salvation Army’s experience in dealing with the homeless. President Václav Havel met with Salvation Army General Eva Burrows and direct contacts were made with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

The group in 1990 registered as a civic association, and after legal changes, it was registered as a church by the Ministry of Culture in September 2013.

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