OSWEGO, NY – With a new building awaiting renovations and an energetic staff and board of directors, the Oswego Salvation Army is re-energizing their ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI BelieveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â campaign to help fund a new infrastructure and services that will be offered at their future location at the New York State Labor Department building (previously home to the Super Duper grocery store) on West Second Street.
Seven years ago, the Salvation Army began looking for a larger space to accommodate the services and community members they serve on an everyday basis.
Several options were investigated extensively including the expansion of the existing space at 85 W. Third St., when opportunity knocked and the West Second Street building became available.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œFinding this space when we did was perfect timing for us,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Salvation Army board member Bernie Henderson. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œUnfortunately, the number of people served by the Oswego Salvation Army has more than doubled in the last five years. More than doubled! We desperately needed a new, larger facility and when this space is fully renovated and a kitchen completed, we will be able to better serve those in need of our services.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The increased need for services was reiterated by Oswego Salvation Army Captain Kenneth Hayes.
When he took over in 1999, the Army in Oswego served anywhere between 700-1,200 meals a month. Today they serve about 2,100 meals a month.
Captain Hayes also said that the number of families served by the ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s food pantry has doubled in that time to about 120.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe have been in need of additional space for quite some time,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe number of people we serve has been on a steady increase since my arrival. This new building is a much better fit for the Army. It accommodates what we do now and what we want to do in the future.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
With the new building comes the need for community support to ensure that the new facility will be able to provide needed services.
Although the Oswego Salvation ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI BelieveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â campaign has been active for several years, a new effort is being started as the building begins its facelift.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe have been active for many years as we investigated different possible sites and facilities looking for the right fit,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Oswego Salvation Army Capital Campaign chair Mercedes Niess. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWith our vision set with our new home, we are ready to kick our efforts up a notch to enlist the support of the community to make this new building live up to the potential it has to serve the community.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Although renovation planning is under way for the new building, the Army has already begun to utilize portions of the space.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are doing some things in the new building so we can free up space here,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Hayes said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe have set up game tables; created space for the womenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sewing club and other activities in the new building. We are trying to take some of the things that we have had to set up and tear down with every use in our old building and set them up in the new building where we can leave them up. This not only saves some time, but allows them to be utilized throughout the day instead of bring restricted to certain times.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Captain Hayes said many other new features will be possible in the renovated center as well, including: Additional educational program offerings; expanded food storage, preparation and eating areas; a renovated fellowship hall and worship area; wheelchair accessibility; a private interviewing area, classrooms, conference rooms and staff offices.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe number of people that utilize Salvation Army services in our community has risen astronomically,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Salvation Army Advisory Board President Barbara Bateman ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere are programs and resources like computers that we could be utilizing but we canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t because we simply do not have the space. These issues brought our board together to make this transaction possible. Community support will be critical as we move forward to expand our services.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
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.
For more information about the Oswego Salvation Army and progress updates on the new facility, visit http://oswegosa.com or call 343-6491.