Posted by Chuck Chase
Pattie introduced fellow board member and chair of the Salvation Army, former Adrian Noon Rotarian, and an investment counselor in Adrian, Bryan Bowers who spoke about the good things the organization does in our community. He’s been a board member for 22 years, is a grad of MSU, is married with 3 sons and very active with the Boy Scouts, and is a church board member.
Here is what he shared with us today. The SA was founded in England in 1852 and this local agency has served Lenawee County for some 122 years! They are actually an Evangelical Christian Church with a chapel who hold weekly services and youth programs as well as a “social welfare organization", he said. A social worker is on staff there.
The SA has a canteen, a truck with a kitchen built into it that feeds many in need following natural disasters. Their truck has also traveled out of state to help with hurricane relief efforts specifically with food and shelter. SA’s social service area is their primary focus. They feed some 140 people twice to three times a week out of their facility here in Adrian. Their Fresh Food Initiative provides fresh produce to over 600 people each week on Tuesdays in the county.
Pathway to Hope is another SA program that provides families with the necessary education and tools (i.e. learning finances, how to apply for a job, family relationship skills, etc.) that are so critical to assisting them in breaking the cycle of poverty and social welfare dependence, Bryan said. Another big SA program is their annual Toy Drive in conjunction with Wagley Funeral Home in Adrian and Blissfield.
The SA provided space for Share the Warmth until 2017 because they are now in their own building. SA also coordinate with area churches to shelter nuclear families in particular at local hotels and have spent over $28,000 this past year. SA helps families with their utility bills. Overall, various assistance, he said, is provided to between 1,800 and 2,400 people per month. SA has a resale store, of course, and staffed by 7 people. This store provides half of SA’s revenue to provide assistance to those in need.
The SA is looking to expand their existing store on Church Street by adding a rag processing facility which will take clothes that cannot be resold and bundling them and sending them overseas. The SA will also be upgrading and expanding their kitchen facility for a cost of $400,000 due the increasing numbers of people they feed each week and to prepare for a natural disaster when they might have to feed up to 1,000.
Bryan closed by saying that another Annual Kettle Drive is being planned in addition to a Kettle Kickoff event on November 9th at the First United Methodist Church at 7am to build community awareness about the organization. Hope you will be able to attend!