Serving up charity – Group raises $1.2 billion

The Salvation Army helped a record number of Americans last year providing food, lodging and other services to 33 million victims of natural disasters, the Associated Press reports.

The charity also served nearly 29 million meals to the hungry and gave nearly 8 million homeless people a place to sleep.

“Amid the atmosphere of this robust economy, there are still millions of Americans in need,” Salvation Army national commander John Busby told AP.

“Our greatest challenge is to continue to develop relevant programs and services that address the emerging spiritual, social and economic needs of our communities.”

The total number of people served last year topped the 1998 total by almost 1.4 million, according to the charity’s 1999 service report released today.

Roughly 18 million people were helped through local centers that provide clothing or groceries.

The group plans to present its report to members of Congress on Wednesday as part of National Salvation Army Week.

The Salvation Army is one of the largest charitable and service organizations in the world.  A November survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that for the seventh year in a row the Salvation Army was the top choice among the nation’s charities, raising $1.2 billion in cash and donated goods.

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