Salvation Army launches ‘Summer in the City’ campaign

Donations will assist those enduring financial hardships

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published July 17, 2020

 A Salvation Army client receives a sealed, pre-packaged box of food from a Salvation Army of Metro Detroit employee. The nonprofit organization will hold a fundraiser from July 13 through Aug. 7 to raise money for those affected by COVID-19.

A Salvation Army client receives a sealed, pre-packaged box of food from a Salvation Army of Metro Detroit employee. The nonprofit organization will hold a fundraiser from July 13 through Aug. 7 to raise money for those affected by COVID-19.

Photo provided by the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division

METRO DETROIT — With so many people struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit and Toyota have joined to help out those in need.

On July 13, the Salvation Army kicked off its Summer in the City fundraising campaign presented by Toyota. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to raise $250,000 for families experiencing financial hardship because of medical issues or lost wages.

The Summer in the City campaign will provide food assistance, utility bill payments, adequate access to medications, prescriptions and transportation assistance.

The four-week fundraiser will be chaired by Alva Adams Mason, director of multicultural business alliance & strategy for Toyota Motor North America and Salvation Army National Advisory Board member. Donations from the public are welcome until Aug. 7, when the campaign ends.

Donations of any amount made to the Summer in the City campaign are appreciated. All gifts up to $77,777 will be doubled and fully matched, dollar-for-dollar by Toyota, a $1 donation becomes $2, $25 becomes $50, $100 becomes $200, etc.

“At Toyota, we want to build more than just great cars and trucks,” Adams Mason said in a prepared statement. “The success of our communities is key to a healthy nation. We are proud to continue our support of the Salvation Army and its mission of helping families and individuals in need, especially during these uncertain times that have been brought on by the coronavirus. We’re all in this together, and we must combine our resources to help those in need, no matter where we live.”

There are several ways to donate. Donors can text SUMMER to 24365. Donations also can be made by visiting www.salmich.org and clicking DONATE. Calling (877) SAL-MICH is another way to make a donation. Checks made payable to the Salvation Army can be mailed to: 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield, Michigan 48075.

“So many people are out of work. The pandemic has had a disruption on our society and our ability to earn a living and pay utility bills,” said Lt. Colonel John Turner, divisional commander and regional chief executive officer of the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “There is high unemployment. Some are receiving benefits, but not everybody has that.”

Turner said that, when people visit one of the Salvation Army’s 13 sites, representatives are wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Along with helping people financially, the Salvation Army also provides emotional and spiritual support.

“People might feel emotionally vulnerable right now,” said Turner, who works out of the Southfield site.

It’s common for people to return to the nonprofit organization more than once for aid.

“People have come back again and again,” Turner said. “We try to help them overcome their circumstances.”

To be able to do that is “very rewarding,” he said.

“This is our life’s work. Our calling,” Turner said. “You just feel good coming to work.”

Jillian Ricucci, 35, knows first-hand the benefits of receiving assistance. In October 2019, the Salvation Army helped the Warren resident with her rent money.

“I was two months behind. I was off work one-and-a-half months,” she said. She also ended a relationship, assistance from another organization fell through and a job she landed did not work out. “I was three days (away from) losing the home. It was a big nightmare.”

However, the mother of six children between the ages of 2 and 19 found another job and was able to pay back one month’s rent. The Salvation Army stepped in, offering $1,000 for the second month’s rent.

Ricucci found help at the Salvation Army site on Mound Road in Warren. She had filled out paperwork to qualify for assistance.

“They were very nice and understanding,” Ricucci said. “They said they would help again if I needed it.”

Ricucci is “doing OK now.” She encourages others who need help to contact the Salvation Army.

“It never hurts to ask,” she said. “If you don’t qualify, they try to find someone who can help you.”

Ronnie Samuel has also received financial aid from the Salvation Army. Samuel, 61, has diabetes and high blood pressure. In December, his doctor told him he would have to start dialysis. In February, the Detroit resident underwent a kidney transplant “so that put me out of work.” His wife’s insurance covered the medical expenses at the time.

But another health issue struck in 2020. Although he didn’t have any symptoms, Samuel tested positive for COVID-19 in May. He stayed in quarantine and made sure to follow the advice of medical staff while recovering. He remained out of work from his security job. Because of not working and his health issues, Samuel missed several utility bill payments.

“I was quite a bit behind,” Samuel said. “About $4,000. It was a mess. I was stressed.”

When Samuel reached out to the Salvation Army, he was helped by a representative who told him, “Everything is taken care of. Don’t worry about it.”

“She was very professional. She was helpful,” Samuel said. “The Salvation Army grabs you and pulls you back in. It was a huge help to me. It was awesome. I just want to thank them so much.”

For more information on the 2020 Summer in the City Campaign, including a list of corporate champions, visit www.salmich.org/SummerInTheCity.

Additional information about The Salvation Army’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at www.salmich.org/CO VID19.