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Dan's story

After weeks of living in freezing weather and lonely squalor, Dan thought he didn’t have a friend in the world. Dan is just one of thousands of people who turned to The Salvation Army for help last Christmas. 

“If it wasn’t for The Salvation Army, I don’t know where I’d be now.”

For nearly 20 years Dan earned a good living running his own window-cleaning business, but he suffered a series of disasters. His baby daughter died from meningitis and the tragedy affected his mental health. His marriage broke up, and his wife took their two young sons away from him. Then he had a series of bad falls which meant he couldn’t do his job any more. Finally he lost his home for non-payment of rent.

Dan was so ashamed of being homeless that he didn’t want anyone to know – least of all his children. He found an abandoned car in a remote spot to sleep in. Then a passer-by spotted him. This kind-hearted lady was distraught at the terrible conditions Dan was living in, and worried that he would not survive in the bitterly cold weather, so she phoned Major Heather at the local Salvation Army and asked her to help. 

After weeks of living in freezing weather and lonely squalor, Dan thought he didn’t have a friend in the world. He couldn’t believe it when Major Heather turned up with packets of sandwiches and flasks of soup and sat down to have a chat with him and to offer him help. 

In just a few weeks Dan’s life totally changed. He told us: ‘Hope – that’s what Major Heather gave me. She made me see that people do care. If it wasn’t for her and The Salvation Army, I don’t know where I’d be now. There was a time when I thought about ending it all, but Major Heather listened to me and convinced me I still had a life worth living.’

This year, Dan will be spending a happy Christmas with friends – at The Salvation Army. He’ll be a guest at our special Christmas lunch. And the good news is that, after so much grief, he is starting to rebuild his life. It will take time to recover from his mental and physical health problems, but he is already thinking about finding a permanent home and a job. Best of all, he is back in contact with his sons, which means the world to him.

For The Salvation Army it is unthinkable that people like Dan should be left out in the bitter cold, especially at Christmas. No one should have to go hungry. No one should have to grieve alone. That’s why we won’t rest until we’ve reached out to as many suffering and vulnerable people as we can.

Your Christmas donation to The Salvation Army can help us bring comfort to many other homeless, hungry, frightened and lonely people.

Please give what you can: donate so we can help more people like Dan



The case study reflects the true stories of people that we help every day. The name has been changed and a model used in the photograph to protect the privacy of the people concerned.