The Salvation Army’s services of evangelism and social action began in East London, England in 1865 by Methodist minister William Booth and his wife, Catherine. The Booths’ desire to share the gospel took shape amidst a city ridden with poverty and despair. They quickly set aside their conventional church methods to meet the people where they lived and toiled – on the streets. Their socially-conscious work was aggressive and innovative, venturing where few churches were willing or able.
In March 1880, George Scott Railton and Captain Emma Westbrook, accompanied by six female soldiers: Alice Coleman, Rachel Evans, Emma Elizabeth Florence Morris, Elizabeth Pearson, Clara Price and Annie Shaw, brought The Salvation Army to the Greater New York area.
The Salvation Army has a long history of providing services to adults in the Greater New York area. In 1891, The Salvation Army opened its first men’s food and shelter depot in Greenwich Village, and an equally large shelter for women, The Daybreak, opened in the Bowery. From these two facilities, the Army’s adult programs have grown and developed to meet changing needs.
Currently, The Salvation Army Social Services of Greater New York (SSGNY) manages an extensive network of 46 social service programs designed to assist vulnerable adults, families and children: community centers, homeless shelters and outreach programs; soup kitchens, food pantries and mobile street feeding; foster care, group homes and adoption services; residences and programs for the developmentally disabled; AIDS casework centers; employment training and many other programs.