Seasonal Volunteer Opportunities Shortcut
Tis the season when we rely heavily on our volunteers! If you are interested in bell ringing or helping with Angel Tree, we have an assortment of dates and times available for volunteers.
Please click the buttons below to sign up for your preferred volunteer positions. More information about our volunteer opportunities is available under the Get Involved section of this website.
Serving Manatee County since 1923
The Salvation Army has been serving Manatee County since 1923. While the needs of the community have changed in the last century, our mission has not. If you were to ask about us, the answer would be we are “Doing the Most Good.” This may mean our free evening meal program, our emergency overnight shelters, our case management and social service programs or one of our Christmas assistance programs, Angel Tree or Adopt-A-Family. In addition, The Salvation Army is a church and we hold worship services every week, plus other faith-based and character building programs for adults and youths.
Our programs and services
We offer a free, community dinner each weeknight beginning at 5 pm. Anyone is welcome to attend, but we require dinner attendees to have a meal card. Cards can be picked up at 1204 14th Street West. Please call 941-748-5110 for more information.
In addition to feeding, we provide shelter. We offer shelter in the form of emergency overnight stays and associated case management programs. The Pathway of Hope (see info under the services heading) program assists motivated families seeking security and stability in their lives.
Angel Tree helps local, qualified families with Christmas presents. Each year, close to 1,800 children are registered for the Angel Tree program.
The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) bed program was formed in fall of 2021. Working in conjunction with local law enforcement, The Salvation Army provides temporary shelter and case management services to clients identified and brought to shelter by local law enforcement. The goal is to transition these clients to housing or other suitable accommodations based on their needs.
Emergency Disaster Services
Did you know The Salvation Army is involved with natural disaster relief efforts? The Salvation Army of Manatee County sent staff and volunteers to North Carolina to help respond to clean-up and recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence in 2018, as well as to Florida's Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. Learn more about Emergency Disaster Services.
We couldn’t do it all without you!
One of the most recognized faith-based charitable organizations spanning the globe, we could not help those in need without your support. The generosity of the local community through donations, volunteer efforts and those who host our Angel Trees every year help us Do The Most Good. Click here to get involved!
Each unit of The Salvation Army has its own volunteer advisory board, which holds monthly meetings (except during the summer months) and has committees for nominating, fund raising, property, finance, etc. If you are interested in joining the advisory board, please call 941-757-5773 for more information.
Current Board Members
Chris Williams, Chair
Dann Bauer, Vice Chair
Treasurer - Open
The Honorable Robert Farrance (retired)
Cynthia (Cia) McKoy
The Salvation Army provides employment opportunities for qualified individuals who are seeking to Do The Most Good for their community.
‘Soup, Soap and Salvation’ may sound a simplistic motto, but it addresses the heart of human need and is embedded into the fabric of The Salvation Army mission.
Because Not All Things in Life Go According to Plan…
The Salvation Army’s social services department in Bradenton provides case management, emergency financial assistance and basic needs to qualified Manatee County residents experiencing a valid crisis. We understand that hard-working families often make the decision of buying medicine and groceries or paying the electric bill.
Financial assistance is available for:
• Utilities, FPL and TECO, eviction prevention and other basic needs funds are available for qualified applicants.
• Rental assistance for qualified applicants only when funding is available.
• A limited number of applications can be accepted for financial assistance. Assistance is subject to approval and is not guaranteed.
• FPL, TECO and water assistance - You must have a valid crisis and past due balance or shut-off notice.
• Rental/housing assistance - You must show a valid crisis and/or a 3-day eviction notice.
Please bring current photo ID for all household members 18 and over and last 4-digits of social security number for everyone in the household. Once the referral is accepted, a case manager will contact you and provide instructions on which documents are necessary, as they vary for each service. These documents are also listed in the online application.
How to begin:
Complete our online application and after reviewing your file, a case manager will contact you.
Here is a complete list of services offered by the social services department
- Electric service payment assistance
- Water bill assistance
- Rental/Housing assistance when funds are available
- Personal financial counseling
- Christmas programs
- Life skills education
To learn more, call 941-748-5110.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
The statistics are startling:
- 43.1 million Americans live in poverty - that equals one in every six
- 15 million children live in poverty
- 11 million spend 1/2 of their income on rent
- 6 in 10 do not have enough money saved to cover a $500 emergency expense.
In Manatee County
- Approximately 46,374 (11.5%) of the population are living in poverty
- Approximately 84,683 (21%) of the population are children under the age of 18 living in poverty
- Most of those living in poverty spend ½ of their income on rent
- The majority of those living in poverty do not have enough money saved to cover a $400 emergency expense.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Manatee County
The Pathway of Hope initiative provides services to local families who need assistance on their path to self-sufficiency. These families desire to take action to break the cycle of poverty that repeats generation after generation. This begins in the initial case management meeting. The client and case manager discuss the client’s goals, strengths, and barriers; then together, build a case plan that will lead the client to success. The Salvation Army case manager links the individual with community resources to help meet the goals on the case plan, such as stabilized housing, legal assistance, subsidized childcare, or educational/job training services, among others. Future meetings track progress and help the client navigate any obstacles that may arise.
The Pathway of Hope Mission
Pathway of Hope addresses the root causes of poverty. By helping families overcome challenges like unemployment, unstable housing, and lack of education, we can lead families down a path towards increased stability and, ultimately self-sufficiency.
If you would like to apply to participate in the Pathway of Hope program, please click here to get started.
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”
The Salvation Army in Bradenton has both seasonal and year-round opportunities for volunteerism that allow you as an individual, your family or a group to “Do the Most Good.” While some may look for a face-to-face interaction with those we serve, others may prefer to be more “behind the scenes” in their volunteer efforts. Fortunately, we can accommodate both.
- Emergency Disaster Services
- Community dinner
- Youth enrichment for children at family shelter
- Youth programs (temporarily suspended due to COVID)
- Angel Tree toy shop sorting and distribution (Ages 15+ Please; December)
- Click here to sign up for toy sorting
- Click here to sign up for distribution day
- Ring bells at our red kettles (Any age as long as children are accompanied by an adult; November and December)
Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team
- This often means serving meals or passing out bottled water to first responders and disaster victims. EDS team volunteers can elect to receive short assignments, such as two hours in your community or a longer assignment that could require travel to another state for up to two weeks. Please visit our EDS website for more information on the EDS volunteer program, including training requirements.
- At times, we do have special projects that require the assistance of a volunteer. If you are already on our volunteer roster, you may be called to see if you are available to help.
Other ways to help:
- We receive calls from groups who would like to do a service project on our behalf. We welcome these calls and accommodate when possible.
- Sponsor a drive to support basic shelter needs.
- During the holiday season, host an Angel Tree at your business, club or church.
For more information on our volunteer opportunities or to complete an application, please call 941-757-5770 or click here for an application packet. Email your completed application to Carolyn Nielsen.
The fine print: In most cases, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Minors may volunteer when accompanied by a parent in some holiday positions. All new volunteers are expected to complete an application and meet with the volunteer coordinator for a one-on-one tour of our campus.
Thank you for your interest in Angel Tree
Angel Tree is a unique program designed by The Salvation Army to help struggling families fill the Christmas wishes of their children. Each year, Manatee County children are enrolled in the program and gifts for these children are provided by compassionate generous donors. In 2021, 773 families (nearly 1,800 children) received Christmas gifts thanks to this program. Angel Tree registration is now open. Once registration is complete (early October), Angels will be assigned and trees/tags will be delivered.
For more information, please contact Julia Showers at 941-748-5110 or via email.
Frequently Asked Questions
How it works
An Angel tag is created for each child and "Angels" are placed on trees. Angel Trees go on display at partner host sites in mid-late October. Friends and patrons of the host site pull Angel tags from the tree. The tag includes a child's first name and Christmas wishes. Purchased gifts are returned to the tree and picked up by The Salvation Army in November. Families of the Angels receive the items the week before Christmas.
What do Angel Tree hosts have to do?
The Salvation Army delivers the tree and Angel tags to your location. Each tag represents a child and includes the child's first name, age, gender and two or three items on their wish list. Once your tree arrives, inform your friends, patrons, club members or employees that they may select an Angel. The Salvation Army collects all of the trees and presents.
How many Angel tags will be on my Angel Tree?
You may chose the number of Angels based on how many you believe your team can support.
What should donors purchase for their Angel?
Each Angel tag includes a short wish list to use as a guide. However, the buyer decides what to purchase. We request new, unused items. The goal is to provided each child with a minimum of two or three toys, clothing and either shoes or a jacket. Angel tags are not duplicated and only one per child is sent to the community. Gifts received for the child through the Angel Tree program may be the only gift they receive this Christmas.
Is there anything that donors should avoid?
Yes, we prefer non-violent gifts – no weapons. We also ask donors to refrain from purchasing bikes and gift cards.
Should donated gifts be wrapped?
No. While we are very grateful for all of the gifts donated, we also respect that many parents enjoy wrapping gifts for their children.
What is a Forgotten Angel?
With so many families facing economic challenges, more and more families register their children. Despite our best efforts and the generosity of our community supporters, we average 400 Angels not selected from an Angel Tree. Gifts donated for a Forgotten Angel stock our toy shop and fill the wishes of these children.
How can I support the Forgotten Angels?
Instead of hosting an Angel Tree, your group can collect gifts for the Forgotten Angels Toy Shop. Gifts may include toddler toys to older child games. We need for both genders and in different age ranges.
Can I make a monetary donation to the program?
Yes! You can send donations to our office or donate online. Donations can be mailed to Angel Tree, The Salvation Army 1204 14th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205 or click Make a donation.
How can I volunteer in the Angel Tree Toy Shop?
Contact our volunteer coordinator, Carolyn Neilson at 941-757-5770.
Any other questions, please email Julia.Showers@uss.salvationarmy.org
Important Angel Tree Dates
November 17-December 3, 2022 – Gifts can be returned to the "Toy Shop" at 5328 24th Street East, Bradenton, 34203
November 28, 2022– We begin collecting tree and gifts from host sites
Make Christmas Special for a Local Child!
Adoption for families and angels for the 2022 Angel Tree Program is now open!
Our goal is to provide at least the following to each child.
- 2 Outfits
- Shoes or Jacket
- 1 ‘Larger’ Gift
- 2-3 Smaller Toys/Gifts
Once an “Angel” is adopted, no one else in the community can adopt the same child. People often partner with friends or family to fulfil their Angel’s Christmas wishes. Any item you buy for your Angel will be given to that child.
The Wish List provided for your Angel is a guide. Parents complete wish lists when registering their children to assist you with the Angel’s wants and needs. These are just suggestions and not all items have to be purchased.
If clothing sizes are provided, this reflects a family’s need.
Gifts should be new and unwrapped.
Please write the ‘Angel ID Code’ of the Angel you choose online attach it to the bag of gifts or place it inside. We want to be sure all items get to your ’Angel.’
Help Make Someone’s Christmas Memorable
Like so many other things in our daily life, COVID 19 impacted how we operate our Angel Tree and Adopt-A-Family programs. The 2020 program registration was conducted online and was done in the same manner in 2021. The software does not allow us to indicate if a family is Angel Tree or Adopt-A-Family. This does not impact you, our loyal donors. If you would like to adopt a family or multiple families, we will be able to meet your needs. Angel Tree donors will see an expanded ability to select angels online this year.
Be Part of the Legacy
The Red Kettle Campaign has a deep history in America. It began in 1891 in San Francisco when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to provide a free Christmas dinner to families in need. He used an idea originally developed in Liverpool, England where people could throw some change into a pot to help the poor. Six years later, it spread to the East Coast and continued to grow into the tradition it is today, spreading throughout the entire United States and across the world.
- Funds collected in the kettles support programs and services offered locally by The Salvation Army.
- The holiday kettle campaign is The Salvation Army’s largest fundraising campaign – and its worldwide!
- Apple Pay and Google Pay donation options were introduced in 2019.
About our bell ringers
- Bell ringers could be paid or volunteers who chose to donate time to The Salvation Army.
- Ringing bells as a family can become a fun, holiday tradition.
- Many civic, school and church groups have holiday bell ringing days.
Who can be a bell ringer?
In short answer, anyone can be a bell ringer!
- We encourage groups, families and individuals to participate in holiday bell ringing.
- People of all ages can ring bells, but we ask that student groups and children have adult supervision.
- Anyone with a few spare hours and the desire to spread the holiday spirit is welcome.
- What is the time commitment? It varies. Some groups ring daily, others just once during a holiday season. We ask you to commit to a minimum of 1/2 day. We ring from 10 am until 7 pm.
- Is there an expense for me? No! We supply the kettle, kettle stand, an apron and the bells.
- How long is the bell ringing season? This year, we will ring Monday through Saturday from November 28 until December 24.
- Can I pick my location? We have a list of approved sites and you can select your location from the list.
- Sing Christmas carols while you, your friends or family gather around the kettle.
- Develop a challenge among your friends, colleagues or even rivals to see who can raise more funds. (Think Team A vs. Team B)
- Dress up! Some of our volunteers wear fun holiday clothing!
Kids 2 Kamp Summer Day Camp
Registration is now open for the 2022 Kids 2 Kamp Summer Day Camp Program. Click here to register your child(ren). Kids 2 Kamp is at capacity. Any new applicants will be placed on a waitlist!
Kids 2 Kamp Includes:
- Arts & Crafts
- Character Building Exercises
- Recreational Activities – Outdoor Games
- Field trips/Special Guests
- Vacation Bible School
Camp will run Monday – Friday from June 6 until July 29, 7:30 am-5:30 pm
Children will need to bring a bag lunch, snacks will be provided.
All children will participate in reading and music programs.
Registration fee – $25 per family
Weekly tuition – $55/week/child
For more information, please call 941-748-5110.
Special Thanks Those Who Have Supported This Program
Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation
Bradenton Rotary Foundation
Green Family Foundation
W. Paul Hoenle Foundation, Inc.
Manatee County School District
The Patterson Foundation
All of the Golfers, Sponsors and Donors who participated in the Kids 2 Kamp Golf Tournament, March 26, 2022
Tune up your summer with a new Kids Summer Music Camp
Starting in June 2022, The Salvation Army will expand its summer camp program to include a special music camp! This camp runs from June 13 until July 29 (8 am – noon, Monday-Friday). Kids between the ages of 8 and 12 are welcome and will learn brass, percussion, strings or woodwinds.
Three sessions each day allow students select between the following:
1 – Brass instruments or Woodwinds
2 – Drumline or Violin
3 – Guitar or Choir
A $25 registration fee will be assessed to each child who enters the program.
The weekly fee is $75 per student.
The camp runs June 13-July 29. There will be no camp on Monday, June 20 or the week of July 4-8.
To apply, click here.