AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Salvation Army in Amarillo is launching a new program for the community to help the homeless.
It is called “Tokens of Hope,” and the Salvation Army is hoping it will bring more homeless off the streets and get the help they need.
“Our hope is to get people in the building, then once they get here, then we can try to get them into one of our programs,” said Quintin Marquez, the public relations manager at the Salvation Army in Amarillo.
The idea is simple. When you see someone who looks like they need help– food or a place to spend the night, you can give them a “token.”
“Whenever you see someone out in public that maybe looks homeless or is panhandling or on the corner looking like they were asking for money from people,” said Marquez, “you can hand out as many as you’d like.”
Marquez said some may not feel comfortable handing out cash, so this is a better way to show support.
“I think this is a better way to express not only your care for them, but it helps them know the Salvation Army is here to help them out,” said Marquez.
The tokens are exchangeable for two consecutive night stays and two free meals with the Salvation Army.
“This card is a good way for people just to feel a little safer about coming to Salvation Army. Maybe they’ve never heard of Salvation Army. Maybe they didn’t know how we work, how we do things around here. So it’s a good way for it’s just an invitation for people to come in and find out what exactly we do at Salvation Army,” said Marquez.
The tokens have the Salvation Army’s address and a map to help the recipient find their way if they do not know how to get there.
Community members can pick up tickets by stopping by the Salvation Army (400 S. Harrison). Marquez said the tokens are currently free to pick up thanks to a large donation.
“Eventually, if this program keeps on going on, which we hope it does, they could come up to $10, maybe a piece. So instead of handing someone $10 or a meal, this ‘Token of Hope’ would be two meals and two nights stay. So I mean, imagine going to a motel or hotel and stay for two nights, it’s pretty expensive. Or giving them $5 or $20, these will be a lot better deal for them,” said Marquez.
Marquez said they hope this will lead people to enroll in their programs to help get them back on their feet.
“While you’re here, Maj. Hall or even some of our caseworkers will do some casework with you to figure out what that next step in your life is so once they get here,” said Marquez. “The Salvation Army is all about is helping people out getting to the next step in their life, helping them be not just a homeless member of the society, but your neighbors again.”
It can all start with just a small token to give hope.
“You’re giving them more than just food or money, you’re giving them a future. You’re giving them a chance at a different way of looking at the Salvation Army in a better life eventually,” said Marquez.