Salvation Army seeing budget strains

PLATTSBURGH The Salvation Army of Plattsburgh finds itself in need of extra dollars as it provides a dramatic increase in services. In a mid-year report to the community, Laurence Goodman, director of the local Salvation Army, said requests have increased exponentially for assistance with medical bills, rent , fuel for home and transportation, utility bills, bus tickets, numerous ferry fares and rides to the ferry for the homeless, and temporary emergency hotel/motel accommodations for the stranded. As resources are rapidly depleting, we have to be very, very diligent in our screening, Goodman stated. In addition, Goodman is seeing a 22 percent increase from last year in the number of people using the organizations food pantry. The number of people seeking help with clothing is up 25 percent from last year, he said. The Plattsburgh Salvation Army is now providing an average of 200-plus hot meals per week to the homeless and working poor. We provide an additional 50 bagged lunches per week to individuals who have just begun working through Labor Ready, but have not yet received a pay check, he said. Other active programs, he said, include assisting the elderly, making hospital and prison visits, and sponsoring children to summer camp. At the same time, we have had to make necessary repairs to facilities, Goodman said. He noted in particular renovations to the buildings exterior, the addition of exterior lighting to minimize vandalism and dumping, and the patching of roof leaks. Interior improvements in the main building included the installation of new emergency lighting, repairs to a drinking fountain and restroom, relocation of eight refrigerators and freezers, minor electrical work, and building of a new conference room which serves as a classroom, senior craft center and youth activity center. Sunday school has seen a 1,000 percent increase since the addition of the conference room, said Goodman. In the Salvation Army thrift store, repairs were made to lights and a drop ceiling. With the demand for services and the necessity for repairs, our budget is very tight right now, Goodman said. Were trying very hard to avoid cutting services, so we are appealing to the public and the business community for help. Donations to the local Salvation Army may be mailed to the organization at 4804 S. Catherine St., Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901 or may be made on-line at www.redkettles.org. For more information or to volunteer services, contact Goodman at 561-2951.

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