The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is offering assistance for Oakland County residents who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is offering assistance for Oakland County residents who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo provided by Tracy Wolf


Grant money helps Salvation Army provide assistance to Oakland County residents

Volunteer opportunities available to be an online virtual Red Kettle bell ringer

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published October 23, 2020

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OAKLND COUNTY — The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is helping to provide relief for Oakland County residents who have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release, the Salvation Army’s Oakland County financial assistance initiative began after the nonprofit received a $500,000 grant through the United Way of Southeast Michigan in collaboration with the Oakland Together Community Response and Recovery Fund.

Through the end of this year, individuals living in Oakland County are eligible to apply for past-due bills or financial needs.

Financial help can include any of the following:

• Mortgage/rent payment assistance.

• Hotels/motels/lodging.

• Utility assistance.

• Medical expense assistance.

• Automobile maintenance/repair.

• Child care expense assistance.

• Burial/cremation services.

• Home repair and household supplies/furniture.

Tim Meyer is a major with the Salvation Army and operates through the metro and divisional headquarters in Southfield.

“This is such a blessing and so wonderful to be able to offer Oakland County residents,” Meyer said. “We have been helping throughout the pandemic with food, with all kinds of assistances, normal. But this is especially helpful.”

To receive assistance via this particular initiative, Meyer said, people will be asked to verify their address and that they are a resident of Oakland County.

To inquire about receiving assistance, call 877-sal-mich or visit salmich.org.

As a lieutenant with the Salvation Army, Anil Kumar is part of the Farmington Hills Corps Community Center.

“We have seen families come and get assistance, and they never knew something like this (was) available,” Kumar said. “And once they receive it, the joy in their life, it’s satisfactory for us. It’s like, ‘Wow.’ It’s priceless. We are very glad that we get to be part of helping our community, helping our families, and being there to walk with them during this tough time.”

Meyer expounded on some of the reasons people can use assistance during this time period.

“The pandemic has brought about some very specific and deep needs for folks,” he said. “For instance, normally, if someone lives in a house, we would not be helping with hotel or motel costs. Because of the pandemic, some people have had to be displaced from their own homes, so they have to make rent and mortgage payments, as well as utility payments. And then, in addition to that, they have to quarantine off-site. There are other people who’ve had additional child care expenses in order to keep their job.”

Kumar said, “We want to send a good message to our community, that we love our community. We are here to support them.”

He and his wife moved to the area from Chicago about a year ago and were appointed to the Farmington Hills location.

Kumar said he is a third-generation officer and that his parents are officers in India.

His role with the Salvation Army puts Kumar in a position to impact lives.

“We see every day families needing help,” he said. “We see reward with families. We don’t necessarily say, ‘OK, let me help and be done with you.’ We want to walk with these families, to see success, to ensure that these families are able to live by (themselves) and to impact other families, as well.”

Aside from assisting during the pandemic, the Salvation Army is also carrying on with what has become an annual tradition, only with a different twist this year.

“We are allowing people to do their own online Red Kettle to become a virtual bell ringer,” Meyer said. “And of course to volunteer to ring the bell at the traditional Red Kettles, which will be in front of stores this year.”

Meyer discussed what the funds collected can help with.

“The same sorts of things that we are helping folks with through the COVID crisis are not new to the Salvation Army,” he said. “We do everything from rent and mortgage assistance, food pantry; we do utility assistance yearlong. We also have programs for children, senior citizens. We have a clinical drug rehab program. … There are numerous things we do throughout the year, and that’s what these Christmas funds are used for.”

Those interested in being a bell ringer can visit registertoring.com.

Meyer has been a Salvation Army officer for more than 25 years. Prior to being appointed to Michigan just over a year ago, he was with the Salvation Army in Wisconsin.

Meyer said, “I love to do what I’m doing as a Salvation Army officer.”

Additional services may be available by contacting one of the three Oakland County corps community centers:

• The Farmington Hills Corps Community Center, (248) 477-1153.

• The Pontiac Corps Community Center & Wallace E. Holland Community Center, (248) 334-2407.

• The Royal Oak Corps Community Center, (248) 585-5600.

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