Family Services

Family Services- a photo of a mother and her young child.

Community and Family Services (CFS) is the second most recognizable face of The Salvation Army, next to our thrift stores, in cities and communities across Canada.

CFS has served individuals and families facing crisis for over 130 years. Our offices are often connected to a Salvation Army church and work alongside our thrift stores, shelters, addiction treatment centres and corrections and justice programs.

Every CFS office is unique as it fulfills the mission of The Salvation Army to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world. Our holistic support programs vary across the country as they meet the specific challenges in that particular community or city. To meet these challenges more effectively, The Salvation Army partners with other organizations and agencies to improve services and strengthen communities.

Well known for our food banks, Christmas hampers and kettles, there are over 230 CFS offices across Canada, providing over 50 different types of programs and supports to those who are vulnerable, facing challenges or in crisis.

History of Family Services

The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda has a long history of providing support in local communities. In 1886, four years after The Salvation Army began its work in Canada, it developed its Social Wing, a full-scale program of recovery and restoration. In 1888, the first rescue home for girls opened and six more were opened two years later, along with a children’s home.

The first appeal for the needy was in 1890, a coal drive called Black Sacks. The first Christmas kettle was launched in 1903. Immigrant support began in 1905 and in 1908 a salvage work started that was the beginning of our thrift stores. In 1910, we held our first Fresh Air camp for vulnerable children and in 1917 the first Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team responded to the Halifax explosion. As The Salvation Army grew across Canada, so did our engagement and commitment to social issues in local communities.

a man sitting at a table eating food off of a green lunch tray

Programs and Services

The Salvation Army provides a wide variety of holistic support programs, designed to meet specific needs of the community where we live.

Food banks, community meals and kitchens, cooking classes, gardens and school-based programs

Trustee programs, budgeting support, volunteer tax clinic

Drop in cafés, conversational clubs, exercise programs, art or movie clubs, community choirs

Mobile feeding vans, hygiene kits, blankets, community events

Life-skills workshops, after-school programs, English as a Second Language classes

Christmas supports (food hampers and toys), children’s camp programs, coat and boot programs

Alpha and Messy church programs, community memorial services, mentorships

Immigrant and refugee support programs