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Salvation Army shelter opens up single-parent family units

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Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:46 am, Wed Jun 6, 2012.

When Capt. Dan Williams stood before the Lodi City Council and told them about the Salvation Army’s plans to build three units for single parents and their children in early 2011, he was not sure where they would get the money.

But after leaving the podium, City Clerk Randi Johl handed him a $100 bill, saying that as a single parent, she understood the need and wanted to be the first donor.

“I just knew at that moment we were going to do it one way or the other, because I knew people in this community would donate and make it happen,” Williams said. “Her gesture meant a lot to me.”

At noon on June 20, the Salvation Army will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the four phases of the Lodi Salvation Army. The nonprofit started building the shelter in 2003, with the first section for men opening in 2004.

The final phase, which was completed in May, included the three family units, a classroom for the culinary program and a workout room for the staff at the shelter.

The final phase cost $380,000, with $194,000 coming from city of Lodi Community Development Block Grant Funding, $118,000 donated by the public, $33,000 coming from San Joaquin County CDBG, a $10,000 donation from Meehleis Modular and a $25,000 donation from the Michael David Foundation.

Williams said they started the project before they had received the Michael David Foundation grant, and he told the contractor they did not have all the money yet, but he was confident they would somehow find a way.

“I knew that God wanted this to happen, and that he would provide the last of the money for us,” he said.

In what used to be a cold, dark warehouse, three freshly painted units are ready to welcome either men with children or women with boys older than 11 years old. The first family to stay in the shelter was a man with three children.

Before the shelter built the single-family units, they received about two calls a week from families that could not stay in the normal shelter, but had no were else to go.

“We knew there was still a group missing that we could not serve,” Williams said. “We are now able to cover all of the bases.”

The freshly painted rooms include a bed and dresser for adults in the main room, and then a second room with bunk beds for kids. There is a closet and individual bathrooms for each unit. One is handicap accessible.

Across the hallway is a weight room with a stationary bike, an elliptical, a bench press and other equipment. All of the equipment was donated from another Salvation Army that was replacing a new youth center.

“We want to work on people physically, mentally and spiritually. ... Even with our staff, if they are healthy, they are more productive,” Williams said.

There also is a new culinary classroom where aspiring chefs can learn the basics, including how to serve fresh food, learning recipes and seasoning food.

The room will also be used for parent and nutrition classes and to hold staff meetings.

Williams said he always knew they would reach the day when the shelter was finally complete.

“I know this community trusted us to build a shelter to take care of the people, and we did what we said we would do,” Williams said. “From day one, the community has been a partner with us.”

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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