Salvation Army to revitalize Pathway of Hope in Marathon County

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program was started in 2011 in response to the Great Recession. It matches up families in need with social workers to set goals and find ways to meet those goals, improving the lives of the family members.

“The Pathway OF Hope program is six to nine months, it can be shorter than that, and some of them may go longer as well, but that’s kind of the focus we have because we want to help people more on a long-term basis,” said Salvation Army Major Barbara Logan.

In Marathon County, no families are currently using the program. But according to the 2018 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, the county has a 35% ALICE and poverty level.

“They want to set goals for themselves, and get out of intergenerational poverty, or they want to be self-sustaining as far as their own financial abilities. It’s really just to help them find resources, or add resources that they may not have available to them right now.”

It has been difficult for the Salvation Army to connect with families during COVID-19 because the initial meetings with the social worker are more efficient if they are in person.

“It differs from person to person in how we interact with them, how we help them how they help themselves, so we’re really excited it can be a really flexible thing. But we also want people to take advantage of it because it’s really a great opportunity to be a part of.”

Major Barbara said she grew up in poverty and knows it can be difficult to ask for help. But she said families do not have to go to the Salvation Army to start the program.

“So, we are really open to meeting people where they’re at, as far as home or other places we can meet with other people so we can talk with the Pathway of Hope program,” she said.

Pathway of Hope strives to be relaxed, and even fun. In a previous district the Logans organized a dinner party where each family made a slow-cooker meal and then got to take the cookers home.

Another success story involved a young mother who they helped graduate high school, enroll in college and earn her LPN degree.

“It helps them to, again, have that hope that they have. There’s a better day ahead,” said Major Paul.

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