GRESHAM — Sometimes, all it takes to do more is to have more space in which to work.
With that thought in mind, The Salvation Army Gresham Center for Worship & Service broke ground May 16 on Phase 2 of its building at 473 SE 194th Ave.
The Phase 2 expansion will increase program space by 240 percent from the existing 9,378 sq. ft. to a total of 22,543 square feet. A new Social Services Center will include a commercial kitchen and 100-seat dining room, increased food storage and distribution areas, and case-management and family services offices. A covered outdoor gymnasium will create the ability for increased recreational activities for children and families.
“We are beyond excited to see this expansion happen,” said Major James Sullivan, corps officer at The Salvation Army in Gresham. “We are strategically located in a community that needs our services. In fact, more than 90 percent of the students in the two closest elementary schools to us receive free or reduced lunches. By expanding the size of our building, we will be able to do so much more in the community itself, provide more activities for youth, and feed more people, God willing.”
The Social Service Center will provide space for regular meals to be served to those in The Salvation Army’s after-school, evening and summer youth programs; expansion of services to seniors including a weekly meal; and space for a “shopping style” food pantry delivery system, allowing those in need to “shop” for their food-box items. This will increase self-esteem in those served, while eliminating unnecessary waste, according to Sullivan.
The covered gymnasium will allow the after-school youth program to expand its recreational programs. A full court and two half-court basketball floor with six hoops provides space for the students in the program to “get outside” more often, even in the rain, while in a safe, coordinated, controlled atmosphere. It also wil lprovide activities for teens in the early evening in coordination with The Salvation Army’s at-risk teen program. And, after hours, it will offer a safe place for families to go for outdoor recreational activities.
Family Services currently assists approximately 200 families (about 450 people) per week or about 840 families (about 1,890 people) per month. In the new facility, an increase up to about 300 families per week (about 675 people) per week or about 1,260 families (about 2,835 people) per month is anticipated.
The increased space in Family Services will also allow for a shopping style pantry model. that allows each family to choose each items of food they receive.
The Youth Center currently serves 50 to 60 children and youth per day. No significant increase in the number of students served is expected, however, there will be an addition of a healthy recreational element to the program. Youth meals will increase by 400 percent in the new kitchen.
Currently, about 150 seniors are served per month with a special distribution of fruits and vegetables, a monthly nutritional lunch program, and fellowship activities. In the new facility, the corps is estimating an increase to 550 seniors per week in these areas, with the largest increase coming in the senior meal program, moving from once per month to once per week.
For more information or to make a financial donation, contact Sullivan at 503-661-8972, ext. 201.