The Bishop Salvation Army is one step closer to a new home, with a groundbreaking ceremony to be held Wednesday, June 19 at the site of its new facility on MacIver Street behind the Pizza Factory. After an Environmental Review before the Bishop City Council, and approval of an initial use permit by the the Planning Commission, the project is that much closer to a probable completion date in early 2014.
The Salvation Army has worked for more than three years toward the new facility, which Salvation Army Public Relations Laine Hendricks explained would help consolidate and expand current services. The Salvation Army needs the new space more than ever, considering this past winter, from October to February, Hendricks reported that the Salvation Army provided services to some 1,400 people, including 400 families. This number was the same as the total number of people served by the Bishop Salvation Army the prior year.
Constructing a new facility would also reduce Salvation Army expenses, considering the organization currently pays the leases on two separate buildings, splitting its services between a thrift store on Main Street, and the Bishop Corps Community Center on West Line Street.
The new space will be larger and “more functional,” Hendricks said. She observed that while the current staff at the Bishop Corps Community Center “gets a lot of use out of the multi-purpose room,” which provides a space for ministry and community events, the new building will allow expanded, separate spaces for the Salvation Army’s many different services.
These services include distributing food, clothing boxes, and toys for children during holidays, a Sunday meal program, emergency disaster services program, including a mobile kitchen to provide food to survivors and first responders, worship services, a community care ministry program, fellowship groups for men and women, and character building programs.
Hendricks noted the overwhelming community support for the new facility, which kicked off a $1 million capital campaign fundraiser last October and has almost reached its goal to date. “It’s amazing how much the community has stepped up,” she said. “We really haven’t had any opposition, which is a huge blessing.”
Hendricks praised Lieutenant Cathie McCulley, who joined the Bishop Salvation Army last summer, for increasing exposure to the Salvation Army services through community outreach. “She would love to have the new facility in place by the end of the year,” Hendricks said, but added that the Salvation Army has yet to go through the bid process. However, with the momentum of the past eight months, Hendricks said, “Hopefully we’ll have a new facility in early 2014.”
The groundbreaking event will begin at 1 p.m., welcoming the Salvation Army’s Golden State Divisional Commander, Lt. Col. Stephen Smith, and is open to the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about plans for the new building, as well as current services offered by the Bishop Salvation Army.