An increased demand for help from the needy during the 2012 holiday season has infused a local ministry’s new-facility fundraising and building plans efforts with renewed vigor.
For three-and-a-half years, the Salvation Army has been planning to build a brand-new facility, designed to consolidate all of its programs, and as the corps nears the midway point in its $1 million capitol campaign fundraiser goal, an end may be in sight this year.
The new facility is expected to “alleviate the ongoing costs of leasing space,” streamline operations and provide “adequate space” to facilitate increased “programs and services in the Owens Valley,” Public Relations Director Laine Hendricks said.
“We’re making great progress,” said Major Gift Officer Laura Whitehead, who is in charge of fundraising. As of Feb. 28, approximately $428,000 has been raised.
“Every dollar raised in Bishop stays in Bishop” as do dollars raised from Topaz to Olancha, the area served by the ministry’s Bishop service hub, said Whitehead, who has worked on this project since its inception when “a local individual gave a sizable cash donation” to buy the MacIver Street lot.
The completion of the new 9,000 square-foot facility would come right upon the heels of a substantial increase in people seeking help “in recent months,” said Corps Officer Lt. Cathie McCulley, “a sign that expanded services in the Eastern Sierra are greatly needed.”
“The facility will hold three main functions of The Salvation Army: our church, which includes a chapel and classrooms; our social services office, including our Cup of Cold Water Pantry; and our thrift store,” Hendricks said.
The new facility “will allow us to infuse” funds spent on leasing two properties “into our programs and critical safety-net services, which help the poorest of the poor and those families struggling to make ends meet … basic human needs such as emergency food, clothing, health services and shelter,” Hendricks said. “Secondly, a new facility would provide us adequate space to meet expanding/evolving needs of the community.”
The Salvation Army also serves the community with a stand-by disaster-response-trained team, volunteer job training and youth programs, personal counseling, rehabilitation program referrals and holiday meals, clothing and toys. According to Hendricks, since the campaign’s launch in October 2012, the ministry has served 71 percent more individuals during the 2012 holiday over 2011.
Therefore, “if 100 people each donate $1,000, we’ll reach our goal and will be one crucial step closer to securing this much needed community resource,” said Advisory Board Chair Tom Hallenbeck.
Whitehead said smaller donations and pledges, starting at $1 per month for a year, are welcome, too.
For interested individuals and businesses that want to display them, contribution flyers are available at The Salvation Army service hub office at 621 W. Line St. office, the thrift store at 1180 N. Main St. and KIBS/KBOV Radio, located south of town on U.S. 395. The public can also donate at www.SalvationArmyBishop.org .
Whitehead said that additional fundraising efforts include applications for regional grants from large corporations with local offices and approaching individual donors as well local service agencies. All of the monies raised for this capital campaign will be used toward the construction of this facility.
“We are really humbled by the community’s positive response so far,” said Hallenbeck.
The new, prefabricated building will cost $1 million, Whitehead said. However, “we can break ground when we have raised $500,000” because the Long Beach territorial headquarters has agreed to float the Bishop service hub a long-term, internal $500,000 redemption loan. “They are saying, ‘You raise half and we’ll match it.’ The important thing is that the local community is showing the willingness to support the (new building) which shows that it will be sustained.”
Hallenbeck said, “We are eager to have this new facility in place soon to help those in need in the most efficient and effective way we can. But, that depends on continued support and contributions.”
It also depends on paperwork. The Salvation Army submitted an environmental review application to Public Works in January. Public Services Officer Gary Schley said it was returned for needed site-plan redesign work. “Currently, we’re working on identifying appropriate solutions,” Hendrick said, “and will submit to Public Works very soon, in hopes that everything will be ready to go before the city Planning Commission on April 30.”
The next steps will include obtaining a conditional use permit, then drawing up architectural plans but Whitehead said she hopes the facility will be up and running by Christmas.
For more information, visit the Salvation Army at 621 W. Line St., www.SalvationArmyBishop.org  or on Facebook, or call McCulley at (760) 872-2124.