Salvation Army Birmingham Area Command
The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command is a unit of the Salvation Army, a Christian denomination and charity mission which is structured along military lines. Its mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus and to meet human needs indiscriminately. The worldwide Salvation Army movement was founded in 1865 in London by a one-time Methodist minister, William Booth and his wife, Catherine.
An initial foray into Birmingham was led by Milton Light in 1889, but the offshoot group that he led was later dissolved. The first official Salvation Army Birmingham command was established in 1899, and became part of the Salvation Army's USA Southern Territory when it was established in 1927.
The Birmingham Area Command is the largest social service agency in Central Alabama, serving over 100,000 residents each year.
In the early 1900s the group operated a Salvation Army Rescue Home at 33rd Street and Avenue E. In 1925 its social service department was headquartered at 1516-1518 5th Avenue North. Later it operated from the Pilgrim Congregational Hall on 19th Street North, and then from a combined office and Social Services Center at 2126 11th Avenue North near the BJCC.
In addition to continuing services to the homeless the Salvation Army provides education and life skills program to at-risk individuals, distributes gifts to needy children at Christmas, sponsors community programs, and responds to disasters with trained volunteer support workers. The organization raises funds through several programs, the best known of which are the "red kettle" bell ringer posted outside stores during the holiday season. The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program solicits donations of toys and other gifts for specific children.
On July 21, 2016 the organization broke ground for a $25 million new headquarters campus, dubbed the "Center of Hope" at 2015 26th Avenue North in Druid Hills, north of Finley Boulevard and east of I-65. The 4.1 acre campus is centered on the renovated former Lewis Elementary School building, and houses administrative offices and emergency relief services, including overnight accommodations for homeless men, women and children. Construction, performed by Brasfield & Gorrie, was completed in late 2017. A second Youth Services center is located at 6001 Crestwood Boulevard.
- Luther Smith, 1971-1979
- Mr & Mrs Ralph Morell, 1979-1985
- C. Mark and Susan Brown, -2008
- Todd and Christine Smith, June 2008-
- Bob and Kathy Parker, -2017
- Roger and DeeAnn Glick, 2017-
Three churches, known as Corps, are supported by the Command:
- Salvation Army Alabaster Corps, 108 Plaza Circle
- Salvation Army Bessemer Corps, 525 13th Street Bessemer
- Salvation Army Birmingham 614 Corps, 2410 8th Avenue North
- Birmingham Salvation Army website
- Fulman, Lynn Grisard (July 1985) "Hard to leave city, says 'Army' couple." Magic City News Vol. 2, No. 10, p. 8
- Satterlee, Allen (n.d.) The Battle for Birmingham: 1899–1980: The History of the Salvation Army in the Birmingham, Alabama Area". The Salvation Army
- Garrison, Greg (August 2, 2008) "Salvation Army leaders are 9/11 vets." The Birmingham News
- Phillips, Ryan (April 2, 2015) "Birmingham Salvation Army gets approval for a new home." Birmingham Business Journal
- Garrison, Greg (July 21, 2016) "Salvation Army breaks ground on $25 million new headquarters in Birmingham" The Birmingham News