The Salvation Army's stated purpose is
to perform evangelical, social and charitable work and bring the Christian message to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs.
The organization provides charitable relief to millions of people around the world each year. One poll showed that it was the 4th most popular of all charitable organizations, and it currently operates in 122 different countries. In addition to its paid employees and army members, the Salvation Army utilizes at least 4.5 million volunteers worldwide. The organization provided more than $2.5 billion of social aid in 2004, and it is the largest non-governmental social services provider in the U. K.; it is the second largest charity in the U. S.
The Salvation Army is always at hand during natural disasters. They had workers arrive immediately after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the 9/11 attack on New York City; they allocated $365 million for aid to Hurricane Katrina victims. They operate thrift shops with proceeds going to charity and provide a Family Tracing Service for missing persons.