The Salvation Army


Founded in London in 1865, The Salvation Army quickly circled the globe, going into the streets to minister to the poor and destitute. Five local churches – First Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian, First Congregational Church, First Methodist and Central Baptist – worked together to bring the Army to Memphis and services began on October 18, 1900.

Over the next several decades, The Salvation Army grew rapidly. Programs evolved to meet changing needs but remained focused on “Sharing God’s love by serving others” and continue to provide Relief: immediate assistance. Renewal: long-term growth. Response: many ways to serve.

How and where we serve

Services were provided in donated space until the 1970s when Abe Plough chaired a capital campaign to repurpose a building for dormitory space at 200 Monroe. When that was sold to make room for AutoZone Park, the Kemmons Wilson family led the campaign to build the first specially designed Purdue Center of Hope at 696 Jackson. Opened in 2000, with 3 shelters housing 122 people each night, today it is the largest provider of shelter and services to homeless women and children in Memphis.

Relief, or immediate assistance, continues to be provided through disaster relief, a canteen ministry and the Angel Tree program which brings the magic of Christmas to 5,000 children and seniors in need each year.

A residential work therapy program, the MidSouth Adult Rehabilitation Center opened at 2649 Kirby Whitten in 2009. Family stores provide meaningful job training and proceeds keep the Center self-supporting, as 140 men and women work toward sobriety and rehabilitation with their families and careers. Along with the Renewal Place program and Hardin House outpatient services, The Salvation Army is the largest entity addressing alcohol and drug issues in Memphis. With spiraling addiction rates crippling city’s resources and families, The Salvation Army is again at the point of critical need.

Finally in 2013, maximizing the Joan Kroc bequest with a capital campaign chaired by Meg and Scott Crosby, The Salvation Army opened the doors of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at 800 East Parkway South. Here, on 15 acres in the heart of the city, in 100,000 square feet of innovative space, the Kroc Center provides arts, education, recreation and worship to people of all ages and backgrounds - 10,000 members and 260,000 guests a year. This proactive schedule builds individuals, families and neighborhoods and ultimately a more positive city, lessening the need for critical services downstream. Another worship center at Winchester continues to provide life-enriching programs as well.

Because of Memphis’ long-term and interrelated problems of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, addiction and domestic violence, The Salvation Army has focused its resources on long-term stability, not quick-fix “solutions.”

The Salvation Army’s commitment to Memphis - 3 major campuses on 33 acres with $150 million in capital investment - makes Memphis one of the only cities in the US to have all 3 signature programs in one location, working together throughout the year to stabilize lives for the children of tomorrow.

It takes an Army!

Response offers many ways to help. Recognized for its iconic Red Kettles campaign which provides a vital portion of budget dollars, The Salvation Army continues to rely on local monies throughout the year. Only with local support - over 10,000 volunteers, 20,000 donors, and 200 congregations, civic groups and companies - are ongoing services possible. Thank you, Memphis, for helping us provide 116 years of service. We invite each of you to join this critical work, serving the hearts of many in the heart of the city.

To donate, volunteer or find out how you can help meet the needs of Memphis, call 901-543-8586, or visit