Salvation Army Facts, Questions

Do you have a question about Salvation Army Thrift Stores? Take a look at these responses to some frequently ask questions to find the answer you need! If a response to your question is not provided below, please feel free to send us a message at


1. Who owns or operates Salvation Army Thrift Stores?

The Salvation Army in Canada owns and operates all Salvation Army Thrift Stores and has done so for more than 100 years.  In urban communities across Canada, the majority of Thrift Stores are overseen by the Salvation Army’s National Recycling Operations (NRO) division.  Those not operated by NRO are overseen by Salvation Army ministries such as the local church or Family Services unit. All Salvation Army Thrift Stores, are 100 per cent charity-based and exist to generate funds to support Salvation Army programs and services that help residents in the areas in which they operate. Donated clothing and other goods are efficiently and ethically recycled and sold to offer practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life.

2. Who do I contact to receive help from The Salvation Army such as food, clothing and household goods?

Please contact the local Salvation Army Family Services in your community to find out how they can help you. You can check the local phone directory for the nearest location.

3. What are the programs and services supported by The Salvation Army Thrift Stores

The Salvation Army Thrift Stores support many programs and services provided by The Salvation Army, including food banks, shelters, children’s camps, addiction treatment facilities and many other community programs. In fact, the Salvation Army is Canada’s largest non-governmental provider of social programs.

 How much of the funds generated by Salvation Army Thrift Stores are directed to charity?

Once operating costs are covered, 100 per cent of all proceeds go towards supporting the charity. The Salvation Army’s most recent audited financial statement indicates that 86% of all monies received by The Salvation Army go directly to the charitable work – only 4% goes to fundraising and 9% to administration.

5. How can I donate clothing, toys and other household items?

All Salvation Army Thrift Stores gladly accept donations daily during store hours. Donors can drop off their gently-used clothing, shoes, used electronics, bric-a-brac, and a wide assortment of everyday household items directly in-store. After hours donations can be dropped at the donation centre offered by some Thrift Store locations.

For more details on where you can donate and a complete list of what we can and cannot accept, please visit the “Ways to Give” section of our website.

6. How does the Salvation Army recycle clothing items that are not sold in Thrift Stores?

Salvation Army Thrift Stores often receives donated clothing that cannot be sold in stores because it is torn, stained and/or overly worn.  The Salvation Army is still able to generate funds from these clothing donations and divert them from local landfills by selling them to cloth graders. The cloth graders re-sort the materials; turning some into rags, selling other parts for the fibre content used to make things such as upholstery stuffing and carpet padding, or resells the items in foreign markets.  This results in a win-win situation for the environment and for The Salvation Army as these clothing items stay out of our landfills and generate funds to help our organization provide community programs and services such local food banks, shelters, daycare programs and children’s camps.

How does the Salvation Army Help to Divert Waste from Local Landfills?

The Salvation Army makes every effort to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The recycling of unsellable goods, or parts of goods like scrap metal stripped off an appliance, is a large part of our intake and review process for donations. Unsellable books and shoes are sold by the pound, corrugated cardboard is baled and sold reground and reused, and damaged clothing is baled and sold by the pound as textiles. We also sell plastic, metal and soft toys to recyclers.  Salvation Army Thrift Stores also act as collection sites where consumers and businesses can drop off broken or unwanted electronics. We ensure that all of these unsellable items are recycled ethically and that none of them end up in our landfills.

8. How do Salvation Army Thrift Stores determine the value or price of items?

All Salvation Army Thrift Stores take the same factors into account when pricing items for sale. These include quality and condition, seasonality, style, brand name, uniqueness and rarity.  Items that are in superior quality and condition will be priced at a higher price point than those that are in fair to good condition.  The brand recognition or fashionable appeal of an item also helps us to determine the price point.

9. Does the Salvation Army Thrift Store only sell used items?

Salvation Army Thrift Stores sell gently-used clothing and other household items donated by the public. However, Salvation Army Thrift Stores also receive donations of brand new product including clothing, toys, furniture and other items from businesses. In addition, Salvation Army Thrift Stores also offer a line of brand new affordable and high quality mattresses for sale. These mattresses are produced by a third-party manufacturer to be sold only at Salvation Army Thrift Stores.