The Salvation Army does more than just sell discounted clothes and collect change during the holiday season.
Salvation Army of Augusta
disaster canteen volunteer Lonnie Davis looks over a disaster in Miami, Fla., following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Providing emergency relief in such disasters is just one of a number of services offered by the Salvation Army.
During National Salvation Army Week last week, Tracie Parker, the development director of Salvation Army of Augusta, said she wanted to make people aware of its many services.
"The Salvation Army's red shield logo has 90 percent recognition throughout the world - we're in 109 countries - but you ask those same people what the Salvation Army does, and less than 20 percent know," Parker said. "We're recognized for the thrift store and the red kettles, but because we don't have the money to advertise, nobody actually knows what we do."
Services by the Salvation Army of Augusta, which serves eight surrounding counties in Georgia, include the providing of shelter, food, clothing, groceries, rent and utility payment, help to disaster victims in floods and fires, counseling, GED classes and life skills and vocational training, Parker said.
"Richmond and Columbia are our biggest (counties) in terms of people helped," she said. "We have four shelters: the emergency lodge for transients, the family shelter, single women shelter and the substance abuse shelter for men."
The group shelters every night an average of 116 to 120 people, who receive breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We serve more than 377 meals every day. And we don't just take them in and send them on their way," Parker said. "We teach them how to survive from the ground up, how to become productive members of society again."
As director of the substance abuse rehabilitation program, Dennis Harrison runs six-month programs for the men in the substance abuse shelter. Harrison said that some of the men are walk-ins, but the majority are referred by the Department of Corrections' parole and probation.
"We have a maximum of 32 residents who live in our residential facility on Greene Street," he said. "We're always full and have a waiting list because we offer very good services."
The services include a 12-step program, individual and group counseling sessions, life skills management, a GED program with a teacher from Augusta Technical College, drug education classes and work therapy assignments in the thrift stores.
"Normally, they're able to complete the program in six months, but if not, they can stay an additional two months," Harrison said.
Nearing completion, the residents receive assistance with job searches.
"We help them prepare resumes, fill out applications, get them ready for interviews and assist them in helping them find employment," Harrison said.
Parker said the Salvation Army currently operates 15 programs and services, and three more will be added this year: a vocational training program for residents in the substance abuse program, a youth summer camp and an after-school program.
The organization always is in need of monetary, clothing and automobile donations, Parker said, and 90 percent of every dollar goes back into its free programs and services.
"Everything we do is free," she said.
For more information, call 826-7933, ext. 104.
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