By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Richmond’s Salvation Army is taking steps to provide more services for those in need, but the number of people they can serve is up to the community.
Plans to operate a “day shelter” in addition to the existing overnight shelter and preparing for the holiday months are keeping Capt. Sallie Love and volunteers busy.
“We need a place for people to be during the day if they don’t have a place to be,” Love said. “We’ve already started to do some additional programming. We’re working with Kentucky River Foothills on providing job training and working with the Madison County Extension Office to do some training with folks on using food stamps wisely, maintaining good nutrition and showing people better ways to live their lives.”
Aside from a small grant from the United Way, all of the services provided by the Salvation Army in Richmond are made possible through money netted from the thrift store and other private donations, Love said. The nonprofit organization also serves residents in need from Rockcastle, Lee and Estill counties.
“I think that when people think of thrift stores, they think of Goodwill,” said Salvation Army Volunteer Carol Sisman. “But every dime made at the Salvation Army Store goes back into this community.”
The Salvation Army provides overnight shelter for men and women but does not have accommodations for children, Love said.
“The men and women can come to the shelter, all they have to have is a picture ID,” she said. “They can stay up to 30 days at no charge. We feed them breakfast and dinner, and if they want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, we’ll do that too. They do have to leave in the morning and come back in the evening. We try to help them find a job. If they have a job, then we try to find them a place. We just really give them stability so they get back on their feet.”
The shelter has the capacity for eight men and eight women and is in the process of minor renovations that “will increase the number we can take in the shelter,” Love said. “We’re excited about those changes that will make us more effective.”
The day shelter is in the design phase, she said.
“It will be in the space above the current (overnight) shelter,” Love said. “There’s already space there that’s being underutilized. Right now, we use it for storage and our Christmas program. We want to transform that into more useful space. We have some local folks who are helping us with different parts, but we’re getting close to needing to fund-raise. We’re not waiting for that, though. We’re already beginning to envision.”
The day shelter will provide showers, a washer and dryer, and residents will have a place on-site to do online searches for job opportunities and place applications.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, the nonprofit agency is beginning to see more requests for food, she said.
Based on the community’s need, between 600 and 700 Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners will be given out this year, Love said.
Those wanting a hot, homemade meal any time of year can visit the shelter’s soup kitchen on Mondays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Angel Tree program provides Christmas gifts for children ages birth to 12 years old, and registrants can choose to receive a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal bag.
Families that wish to participate in the program and/or receive a holiday meal (choose Thanksgiving or Christmas) can sign up Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. There also will be an opportunity to register Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The deadline for all registrations is Friday.
All applicants must provide a photo ID, government-issued identification for all household members (birth certificate, photo ID, etc.), a current food stamp eligibility letter listing all family members and eligibility qualifications or proof of all house income (pay stubs, SSI, disability, etc.) and all home expenses (rent, electricity, gas, water, cable, phone, etc.) and provide the clothing sizes for children.
Anyone needing services offered by the Salvation Army or who would like to donate items or their time should call 624-5826.
The Salvation Army is at 1675 E. Main St. and can be reached by calling 624-5826. Volunteer opportunities include:
• Soup kitchen workers
• Thrift store workers
• Food donations
• Emergency disaster response team
• General maintenance/lawn care
• Women’s Auxiliary projects
• Donations to the thrift store
• General donations to be used where needed
And during the Christmas season ….• Angel Tree Program
• Food basket donations
• Christmas stocking donations
• Bell ringers