NASSAU, BAHAMAS — For ninety years, the Salvation Army’s iconic crimson and white shield has been a symbol of help and hope in The Bahamas, and the organization’s services and volunteers a vital lifeline for those most vulnerable. On May 3, 2021, the Bahamas Salvation Army, one of the largest non-governmental direct providers of social services in the country, celebrated 90 years of being a pillar of support in the community.
“As we look back on 90 years, we celebrate God’s faithfulness and the kindness of the Bahamian people in helping those in need,” stated Major Clarence Ingram, Salvation Army divisional commander. “As we look to the future, we pledge to continue to provide support and ‘Do the Most Good.’”
Daily, thousands of lives change for the better because The Salvation Army reaches out to help. Whether providing swift relief in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters or fulfilling its daily mandate to feed the hungry, provide comfort to children in need and shelter for the homeless, the organization, powered by hundreds of local volunteers and donors, continues to make an indelible impact.
The organization’s programs and services meet people right where they are, providing practical and relevant help, empowering them to overcome their specific challenges. The Salvation Army’s community programs include:
- The Salvation Army Erin Gilmour School For The Blind;
- The Workshop for the Blind;
- Grants Town Learning Center (after-school education);
- Grants Town Seniors Club;
- Women & Children’s Emergency Shelter;
- Mackey Street Learning Center (after-school education);
- Mackey Street Seniors Club;
- Mackey Street Thrift Store; and
- Freeport Welfare and Family Services.
The Salvation Army’s rich history in The Bahamas began in 1931. Colonel Mary Booth, then the territorial commander for the Salvation Army in the Caribbean, was on her way to Bermuda from the Territorial Headquarters in Jamaica when the ship she was sailing in made a brief stop at the port in Nassau. Booth disembarked the vessel, and a quick tour of parts of Nassau, coupled with passionate pleas from several residents, were all it took for her to decide the work of the Salvation Army was needed in The Bahamas.
On her return to headquarters in Jamaica, she quickly sent two Salvation Army officers to begin the work, which officially commenced in Nassau in May 1931. The Salvation Army started its religious and social service programs in Governors Harbour, Eleuthera, in 1932, and Freeport, Grand Bahama, in 1985.
The organization has been making an impact since then. In 2019 alone, the Salvation Army assisted more than 46,000 people in need, served more than 38,000 meals, donated more than 7,000 grocery parcels and vouchers and provided counseling and referrals for more than 1,600 people.
The critical work of the Salvation Army in restoring hope and dignity to men, women and children would not be possible without the help and support of its volunteers and generous donors. In 2019, 528 volunteers donated more than 10,000 hours of their time to do the most good for their community.
Felix Stubbs, chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, expressed gratitude to the Salvation Army’s donors and stressed the importance of unity in ensuring those who are less fortunate receive much-needed assistance.
“The Salvation Army is proud to celebrate 90 years of service to residents in The Bahamas. The critical work of the Salvation Army in restoring hope and dignity to men, women and children would not be possible without the help and support of our volunteers and generous donors. Together we can better understand and meet needs, ensuring that all vulnerable people have a chance to make their lives a little better.”
One of the reasons the Salvation Army can do what it does is because of the support and generosity of its many friends. Here are some of the ways you can help:
Become a volunteer;
In-kind donations of food, clothing, books, furniture or anything else;
Service donations; or
Financial contributions of any amount.
To learn more about the Salvation Army or make a difference in the lives of those in your community, visit salvationarmybahamas.org or call the Salvation Army at 393-2340.