Salvation Army Needs a Helping Hand
Without the community’s help, the Salvation Army in Pascagoula could face making some major cuts or worse: shutting their doors. This comes after they suffered a pretty big blow to their budget.
Weldon Blackmon would like a place to call his own, but for now he’s working hard to find a job and counting his blessings for what he does have: a roof over his head at a Jackson County shelter. “The Salvation Army has helped me a lot and I thank them because if it wasn’t for them, I’d probably still be out there on the streets, probably dead or end up somewhere worse,” said Blackmon.
This is one of the only shelters on the Coast that also provides temporary housing for families, including children. Now, it’s the shelter that needs a helping hand after not making the cut for a $90,000 federal grant they usually receive each year. Lieutenant Brian Hicks with the Salvation Army said, “With that money we were able to help people get into permanent housing that were staying with us here at the shelter. People would come to us with notices that they were going to get evicted and we were able to help them keep their housing so they wouldn’t become homeless.”
Lt. Hicks says while they have not received a definitive answer about why they did not receive the grant this year, he believes it could be from the wear and tear of the building from serving thousands of people 365 days a year. “If our guess is right and it’s the upkeep of the building, we’re looking for people that are able to come out and donate their time. If it’s fixing a wall or maybe it’s plumbing work, even companies that are willing and able to donate the supplies we need to be able to actually get the job done,” said Lt. Hicks.
Now the Salvation Army says without help from the community they could have to cut back on staff, turn away people looking for shelter or, worst case scenario, shut the doors for who knows how long. Salvation Army Social Service Program Coordinator Marilyn Brister said, “If they close this place here, I don’t know what we would do. I don’t know what the community would do. It would be a lot of people on the streets and as well as children. It would be a lot of people out there.”