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Examiner
  • Salvation Army copes with rising demands

  • Even as it struggles with a rising demand for services and tighter funding, the Salvation Army in Independence this week paused for special thank-you’s to some of those who sustain its work.

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  • Even as it struggles with a rising demand for services and tighter funding, the Salvation Army in Independence this week paused for special thank-you’s to some of those who sustain its work.
    The group, which operates the Crossroads Shelter at 14700 E. Truman Road, held its annual “Doing the Most Good Dinner” on Thursday, honoring those it calls the “heroes behind the shield.”
    Major Butch Frost said in 2012, the group, which also runs a food shelf, distributed some 66,000 bread items alone.
    The shelter housed a total of 825 people – 461 of them children.
    “Over half of the homeless population we serve are children,” Frost said.
    On Thursday, the group honored some of those who have helped it in its mission for years. The dinner was held at Ophelia’s, a restaurant on the Square. Ken and Cindy McClain, owners of Ophelia’s and several other businesses on and near the Square, sponsored and underwrote the event. Frost said it raised about $2,000 for the Salvation Army.
    The group honored several people:
    • Jim Gamble, a local architectural engineer who is president and CEO of the Gamble Company. He’s on the local Salvation Army board and has been active on its property committee. His service has been “exceptional,” Frost said, and he recently put in a garage behind the main facility on Truman Road.
    • Tom and Sue Waters, owners of Corporate Copy Print on the Square. Frost quickly adds that their daughter Amy deserves recognition, too.
    “They bend over backwards to do everything they can to help us,” he said.
    • Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet on Noland Road, which is heavily involved in the Christmas kettle campaign. The company lent the Salvation Army a brand-new truck for two months, used to deliver goods.
    “It was definitely a nice truck for us,” Frost said.
    Others – the Salvation Army calls them unsung heroes – got some surprise recognitions at the dinner:
    • Mary Anne Thompson, who works the bread line “every Monday in the food pantry,” Frost said.
    • Tim Mead, a long-time teacher at Independence Academy, who brings a busload of teenagers to the facility on Fridays to clean, stock shelves and generally help out.
    “He is a huge encourager of our clients and staff,” Frost said.
    • There’s a scholarship in memory of the late Marion Mayes, and a $500 scholarship was given to Danielle Crawford, a student at William Chrisman High School.
    Frost said government funding cuts have hurt, and he’s had to take steps such as reducing two full-time employees to part time – and looking for volunteers to make up the difference – to try to balance the budget.
    Still, he said, it costs about $685,000 a year to run the shelter, and just $59,000 comes from the federal government. The rest is raised locally. This year, is a make-or-break year for the local organization.
    Page 2 of 2 - Donations remain hard to come by.
    “We’re all seeing it, all the non-profits,” Frost said.
    The need for services continues to rise, too. For example, the Salvation Army’s after-school program served 14,244 youths in 2011 and then 28,080 last year.
    Frost stressed that even seemingly small gifts – $20, for example, to buy toiletries for a family – make a big difference. The agency has materials available to walk donors, big and small, through the idea of “shopping through the heart.”
    “I’m here to tell you,” he said, “a $10 donation will make a difference.”
     
     
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