Salvation Army prepares to grow

Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Salvation Army of Greensboro says demand for emergency financial services, shelter and food has grown 60 percent this year from last year.

To address that rising demand, and the need for more space at the six Boys & Girls Clubs units and the Family Store thrift shop it operates, the Salvation Army is set to assess its overall needs and the feasibility of undertaking a capital campaign to address them.

“This year we’ve seen a dramatic increase” in clients because of the slumping economy, says Major Paul Egan, corps officer in Greensboro for the Salvation Army.

And with four of the Boys & Girls Clubs units located in facilities owned by the Greensboro Housing Authority, he says, the Salvation Army needs “more space to do the quality programs that we’re capable of.”

Operating with an annual budget of $4 million and a staff of 60 employees, with additional employees during the year-end holiday season and in the summer to handle a day-camp program, the Salvation Army provides a range of services.

It provided emergency financial assistance and food to over 8,000 people last year, for example, and provided nearly 22,500 nights of lodging at its 96-bed shelter, fed people who stayed in the shelter and provided them with services to help them get back on their feet.

Each shelter resident is assigned a case manager who provides assistance ranging from plans to overcome their homelessness, save money, build character, find jobs and attend classes leading to the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The Salvation Army also served 600 youngsters through its Boys & Girls Clubs, including 400 who attended its summer day camp, and it served nearly 100 more who attended its overnight summer camp in the town of Denton in Davidson County.

Helping to support all those programs is the Salvation Army’s Family Store at 307 West Lee Street.

Selling donated apparel and reusable household goods such as home furnishings and appliances, the store generates over $600,000 a year in revenue.

Now, the Salvation Army is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the store, and is considering opening a second store in a location more convenient to donors contributing the items it sells.

“My dream would be we would be able at the new year to start moving into a second store,” Egan says.

And next spring, the organization likely will begin a study to test the feasibility of a campaign to raise money, either for a larger central facility that would consolidate its Boys & Girls Clubs units, or for a large facility in addition to those units.

In addition to the four units at public-housing facilities, the Salvation Army operates two Boys & Girls Clubs, including a teen program, on Neal Street in the Glenwood neighborhood.

The campaign also might raise money for any new programs the Salvation Army might undertake to serve homeless people as a result of its assessment of community needs.

“We want to see what other types of services need to be provided,” Egan says.

The Salvation Army raised $3.5 million in 1998 for its current shelter, known as the Center of Hope.

Sources of support for the organization include roughly $600,000 in donated gifts; contributions from mail appeals; a year-end Red Kettle drive that last year raised over $200,000; a spring gala that this year netted $100,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs, mainly from businesses that sponsor tables; and funds from United Way of Greater Greensboro that account for 15 percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget.

Central to the services the organization provides is its church program, which includes a service every Sunday, Egan says.

“It is the motivation for our assistance to individuals,” he says.

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