Ten years later, The Salvation Army’s response to the 9/11 attacks

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On Sept. 11, 2001, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks on passenger airliners left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands more in need. The Salvation Army was closely involved with the recovery process for survivors in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., following the tragic events of 9/11.

Arriving within a half-hour of the first plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, The Salvation Army was one of the first relief organizations to arrive on the scene at “Ground Zero” and provided extensive support for relief workers and volunteers. The Army continued to support recovery efforts throughout the months-long clean-up process. In the months and years that followed, The Salvation Army assisted thousands of people impacted by the September 11 attacks with practical assistance as well as spiritual and emotional care.

Greater New York

The Salvation Army continued to serve the immediate needs of those who were displaced following the attacks in a variety of ways, including rent and utility assistance, job placement and referrals for health care needs.

  • For instance, the Army worked directly with landlords, utility companies and other vendors in New York City to pay necessary bills for survivors, ensuring they were not evicted and that the lights and phone were kept on.
  • Allocated resources toward long-term assistance programs, including an extensive $4 million crisis counseling program for nearly 6,000 people impacted by the tragedy.
  • At its peak, the Army was working with 1,400 open cases at any given time. The program remained active until Jan. 1, 2007.

In total, the Greater New York Division of The Salvation Army served more than 59,000 people through 9/11-related, long-term assistance programs.


Services provided by The Salvation Army’s World Trade Center Recovery Program included:

  • Clothing and food assistance
  • Crisis counseling and group therapy
  • Child care
  • Employment training and placement
  • FEMA filing assistance
  • Final expenses: funeral/burial
  • Financial assistance and counseling
  • Healthcare referral assistance
  • Housing and utilities assistance
  • Homelessness services (Homeward Bound and other programs)
  • Immigration assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Public benefits assistance
  • Small business services
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Transportation assistance

In response to the simultaneous attack at the Pentagon, The National Capital and Virginia Division of The Salvation Army:

  • Provided aid and comfort to relief workers and survivors at the Pentagon site, serving meals and drinks while offering spiritual counseling and support.
  • Assisted more than 17,000 survivors and their families with direct social service aid, allocating in excess of $7 million.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Division of The Salvation Army played a major role in relief efforts in New York by:

  • Setting up temporary shelters, feeding stations and pastoral counseling services.
  • Assisting in the Liberty State Park Family Assistance Center.
  • Running warehouse operations for delivering supplies into New York City.
  • Providing a mobile canteen at the NYC Medical Examiner’s Office.

Overall, from 9/11/01 until 3/30/02 the New Jersey Division served 10,198 people (3,096 households).

Following the crash of United Flight #93 outside Shanksville, Pa., The Western Pennsylvania Division of The Salvation Army responded to the needs of relief workers and victims’ families at the crash site by:

  • Serving nearly 20,000 meals
  • Performing 5 worship services
  • Providing a total of 13,000 volunteer hours
  • Because The Salvation Army already provides all of these services 365 days a year throughout the country, it had a ready and willing pool of social workers and counselors available to assist with the needs of the community in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The American public donated $86 million to The Salvation Army to respond to the 9/11 attacks. The majority of the money was used within the first year and a half following the attacks to provide practical items and services including: food for rescue workers and volunteers, steel-toed boots, socks, eye drops, rest stations and other items related to the recovery and clean-up at ground zero. Remaining funds were allocated to provide for longer term needs of victims’ families and others affected by the tragedy.

Meals and relief services were also offered at the Pentagon and at the crash site of United Airlines Flight #93.

From a national news release.

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