Gresham area Salvation Army needs your help

Gresham area Salvation Army needs your help


by Erica Heartquist

Bio | Email | Follow: @EricaHeartquist

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 8:14 AM

GRESHAM - The Gresham-based office of the Salvation Army is asking for your help.

The office is now faced with having to close its doors one-more day a week because it can't afford to stay open five days a week.

On average, the Gresham Corp office of the Salvation Army location gives food boxes to 200 families per week. If they're forced to close their doors another weekday, it's a big loss for everyone, said Major James Sullivan of The Salvation Army Gresham Corp.

Ever since the Salvation Army location, now at Southeast 194th and Stark, moved from downtown Gresham, people from Clackamas and East Multnomah counties have been going there for food. The demand for food boxes has grown so significantly, it has surpassed the supply.

Rod Lanpheare is married with three young kids and been out of work for three years.

"A lot of people are falling on hard times right now, it's just the way things are going," said Lanpheare, who was at the Salvation Army Tuesday picking up food for his family.

"We just kind of fell on some bad times. I was unemployed for awhile and now I'm just getting back into the job market. (This Salvation Army) has helped out quite a bit for awhile to put some food on the table," he added. Lanpheare and his family come to the Gresham Corp Salvation Army office for food boxes four times a year.

"We definitely rely on it, this and some of the other food banks definitely helps out. We were before getting food stamps and now we're not, so this makes a big difference," said Lanpheare.

The doors may not be open quite as often unless the Salvation Army gets some major help from the community.

"We're about $2,500 behind where we need to be in order to maintain the current level of services and so what we're considering is dropping one of our days. We're open four days a week and we're talking of going back to three days a week, which would be a 25 percent drop in services," said Major Sullivan.

Considering they help about 200 families a week, closing one more day means a lot of people will not get food.

"A lot of people can only get down on certain days and when it's shut, it's shut," said Lanpheare.

Major Sullivan said the need just keeps growing. In the past four years he said, there's been a 500 percent increase in families coming to the Salvation Army in the Rockwood area.

"We have a large service area; a large number of people that we're serving. Coming up with enough food and enough volunteers and enough staff time to cover all those has been a huge crunch for us," said Sullivan.

"It'll be mandated on us October 1st if we haven't found the resources to make it happen. We will close an additional day. It's not our choice, but just the reality. You have to pay the bills," said Sullivan.

If you'd like to help, drop off food or money to the Salvation Army located at SE 194th and Stark.