Volunteers of America

General Information

Branching off from the original Salvation Army based in England, the Volunteers of America became the first religious - social - welfare organization devoted to aiding the needy in the United States. Founded in 1896 in New York City's Bowery section by Ballington Booth (a son of the Salvation Army's founder, William Booth) and his wife, Maud, it now serves nearly 1 million people each year through its more than 400 programs in about 200 US communities.

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The Volunteers of America offers both spiritual and material help through individual counseling, group religious activities, and its social - service organizations. Assistance is provided to the homeless and the hungry, to prisoners in prerelease centers and halfway houses, to alcohol and drug abusers in residential homes and out - patient clinics, and to the mentally and physically handicapped in group homes. For the young and elderly, the organization operates day - care centers and nursing and retirement homes, and provides job - search assistance and home - feeding programs. The Volunteers of America is governed by a national board of directors elected by its commissioned ministers.

Henry Warner Bowden

J P McMahon, The Volunteers of America (1971); S E Welty, Look Up and Hope! (1961).

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The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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