1-800-SA-TRUCK Expands to Local Corps, Makes Donating Goods Easier
By: David Ibata
When the 1-800-SA-TRUCK phone number was introduced nationwide several years ago, its purpose was to make it easy for potential donors of clothing, furniture and other household goods to call a toll-free number and connect with the Adult Rehabilitation Center Family Store closest to them.
Yet most of country is beyond the typical 50-mile radius served by an ARC and its fleet of trucks.
“We had a report that showed the missed zip codes, donors who tried and failed to get service,” said Darrien Johnson, donor service coordinator for the Southern Territory.
About 18 months ago, Lt. Colonel Mark Bell and Major Gary Wilson, respectively ARC commander and general secretary in Atlanta, approved expanding the 1-800 number beyond the rehabilitation centers.
Now, Johnson said, “a donor calls the 1-800 number and, based on the zip code they provide, their call is automatically routed to a destination – to an ARC or, if outside ARC territory, to a corps that’s registered the donor’s zip code.”
Southern Territory Donor Services is now routing roughly 10,000 callers a month to the enrolled corps. The corps are responsible for making the pick-ups for their own Family Stores.
“Historically, corps had their own, local phone numbers for people to call, so this is added-on,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, because of this expansion, a corps goes from having a few calls a day to maybe 50.”
Most of the Southern Territory has the 1-800 service now available to them, Johnson said.
The Central Arkansas Area Command in Little Rock is the first in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division to sign on.
“We are recommending that our corps use the 1-800-SA-TRUCK number for continuity and consistency,” said Cindy Fuller, A-OK divisional communications director. “It’s an easy number to work with, and the ARC has been awesome to work with once we give them the zip codes and phone numbers they need.”
“We think it will help every Salvation Army Family Store across the board,” Fuller said. “The public views The Salvation Army as one Army. We want to represent one Army to our donors. Whatever makes it easier for the public to reach out to The Salvation Army, that’s our goal.”