OSWEGO, New York -Ã‚Â In this season of giving thanks, the Oswego Salvation Army has reason to be particularly grateful for the generosity of the Central New York community.
A recent anonymous bequest to the Oswego Chapter of the Salvation Army, has taken their $1.6 Million I Believe Capital Campaign past the halfway mark, allowing the much needed renovation construction to begin on its West Second Street headquarters.
In fact, the first phase, which included the installation of a new roof at the facility, has just recently been completed, according to Oswego Salvation Army Captain Kenneth Hayes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Seeing the construction actually started and people working at the building site has been a considerable boost for all of us,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Hayes. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a blessing to continue to see the generosity of this community, as well as all the hard work coming to fruition, and the plans that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve envisioned for years becoming a reality.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In addition to the new roof, the campaign will help create expanded dining and kitchen areas in the recently purchased building. The areas are currently unusable, which forced the non-profit to rely on the generosity of St. MaryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Catholic Church for dining and food prep space over the past six months.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The new building was never designed with a full-fledged kitchen and dining room, which is a key element,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Ned Waterbury, member of the Advisory Board and property committee. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have citizens who are in need of a hot meal, and St. MaryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Church has been a considerable partner. Their generosity for these many months has permitted us to serve an average of nearly 2,000 meals every month in Oswego, uninterrupted.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Equally exciting, according to Hayes, is the creation of classroom space for training courses related to education, career and life skills. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will be able to help these people rebuild their lives,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to just be about clothing and meals.Ã¢â‚¬Â
According to Chuck Rinoldo, Salvation Army Advisory Board Member and chairman of the property committee, the gift and the many others that have come in are answers to their prayers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The generosity has pushed us over the halfway point, allowed us to get started on our construction, and moved us closer to our goal of meeting the increased needs of this region,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rinoldo said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“With the economy the way it is, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen the need grow and people coming forward who normally wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come forward, so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to come at a very important time for the community.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Step One Strategic Giving, an Oswego-based company that specializes in fund development and capital campaigns, and the sister company to marketing firm Step One Creative, began overseeing the capital campaign in July 2008 with a two-year plan to raise the necessary funds.
According to Jeff Wallace, a representative of Step One Strategic Giving, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s encouraging to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“right on trackÃ¢â‚¬Â at just over $900,000.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To me, passing the halfway point sends a real strong message, and that message is that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to complete this, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be an exciting new chapter for the Oswego Salvation Army,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wallace said.
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.
To inquire about the Salvation Army building campaign or ways to help, contact the Ã¢â‚¬Å“I BelieveÃ¢â‚¬Â campaign office at (315) 216-4161.