Salvation Army, as the name suggests, is a charitable Christian organization that is highly structured. It is a worldwide organization, sending missionaries all around the globe. They are perhaps most visible around the holiday season when one may see Salvationists ringing their bells for their cause in front of mall entrances. Thrift store purchases and charitable donations to the Salvation Army support numerous drug and alcohol programs, shelters, churches, and outreach outposts known as, “the Corps.”
In this article, we turn our focus to the Salvation Army shelter and soup kitchen based out of Central Square in Cambridge. It is a large facility with a newly renovated cafeteria area. Many people receive aid at this location, benefiting from services such as the day center with visiting nurses and counselors, Bible studies, and a hospitality room with a television.
The structure of the organization is very top-down and centered on Biblical principles. The staff is trained in the standard Salvationist program and has quite enough experience to handle the social, mental and emotional problems accompanied by homeless individuals.
Recognizing that many people who come through the door are in the same predicament, Salvationists in Central Square foster a general atmosphere of acceptance and helpfulness. One may notice a certain camaraderie with respect to the residential program, as the center promotes a mutually beneficial community among those who serve and those whose needs are met. There is casual conversation amongst the residents and passer-bys, chatting about what’s on television and what’s on the menu. Deep spiritual conversations oftentimes bubble up as well, as people reflect on the Bible studies and speak about their lives at some length. On the whole, the Salvation Army center in Central Square offers a welcoming community for those who are comfortable in an explicitly Christian service atmosphere.