For over 20 years, The Salvation Army has served the residents of SE Calgary from its storefront location in Forest Lawn. While the facility has served the organization and community well, it is now time to expand because of increased demand upon The Salvation Army programs and services in recent years.
More storage capacity is needed for emergency food hampers and supplies for families in need. Meeting rooms for resource specialists and referral services are in demand, and the current space is too small as staff work diligently to meet with people in a timely manner. There simply isn’t enough space to meet the growing needs of the community. All this is about to change.
The Salvation Army is now developing a 50,000-square-foot community resource centre in the vacant Target store on International Avenue and 52nd Street SE. The centre will become a focal point providing new and expanded services to the community.
“This allows us to expand our services in Forest Lawn by being able to increase the capacity of our current programs as well as add new programs to meet the ever-changing needs of the community,” says Cliff Wiebe,executive director, Community Service in Calgary for The Salvation Army.
Wiebe says that the centre will also provide space and opportunities to partner with other community agencies. “Our overall focus is to connect with families who are barely getting by and walk alongside them to provide the supports they require to move to a place of health and stability.”
The resource centre will support the growing list of clients by providing them with essentials like food hampers, accessing government assistance programs, spiritual care and more. “We will also focus on helping people gain more independence through a host of literacy programs, such as language learning, financial literacy, system navigation literacy, technology literacy for increased computer skills, cultural literacy for being able to connect and better understand the cultures around us,” says Wiebe.
The Salvation Army adds that there is strong community support for the facility and that the new centre will be a welcoming and safe place for people to come to connect and get the support they are looking for.
Fundraising is underway, kicked off by a $1 million dollar donation from long time The Salvation Army Calgary Advisory Board member Gerry Wood and his family.
“It’s our family priority to give back and support the community,” says Wood. “The Salvation Army is on the front line of providing services to those in need, and we know how hard they work to deliver programs and services in the most cost effective and efficient way. Every dollar goes right into programs and services.”
The community resource centre is set to open in the fall of 2022.
To learn more about The Salvation Army please visit Salvationarmy.ca.