In honor of the 62nd annual National Salvation Army Week, the Lodi Salvation Army held its annual open house on Monday afternoon to highlight the services and programs offered.
Created by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, National Salvation Army Week is for observing and celebrating the national nonprofit’s volunteers, donors and program beneficiaries.
The Lodi Salvation Army offers services aimed at combating food insecurity, fighting addiction, and developing job skills through an extensive culinary program.
For more than two decades local Berry Crall has led a culinary school for graduates of the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Sacramento.
The 16-week culinary arts training program allows students to master skills that help them become employable and transition back into long-term housing.
“The Salvation Army is always open to residents that are in need of a hand up, not a handout,” Salvation Army Major Mark Thielenhaus said.
Through its donor network, the Salvation Army has managed to provide assistance for people on the brink of poverty through its job training and financial assistance programs.
The programs are supported through charitable donations and grants, according to Thielenhaus.
In the past year, the Salvation Army has offered support to 235 people with utility assistance, 15 with rental assistance, and distributed 666 bus passes to individuals that need them.
Through the donations received, the Salvation Army has been able to provide 100 students with school supplies, as well as 116,566 meals and 16,027 food boxes to Lodi’s community.
“We are open 365 days a year, and we distribute close to 300 bags of food a week to our community members that have to choose between paying for groceries, rent, or medication,” Thielenhaus said.
The Salvation Army applies for local grants and receives close to $100,000 to help maintain the services offered to the community, according to Thielenhaus.
The operating cost for the Salvation Army is approximately $2.4 million annually, and half of that money comes via local donations. The other portion is donated through items that help keep the center and its kitchen available.
“Through the open house, we wanted to bring public awareness about the work we do in the community and the services we offer. We also wanted to show our donors the effects of their contributions,” Thielenhaus said.
The Salvation Army offers tours and visits throughout the year in an effort to let community members see their donations in action and to provide insight into what their donations provide to Lodi’s vulnerable communities.