Salvation Army's Changing Lives Campaign

When construction started on the Kroc Center in Quincy a few years ago, it essentially left the Salvation Army's Emergency Shelter homeless.

The Salvation Army headquarters was torn down to make way for the nearly 30 million dollar Kroc Center.

From there, the Salvation Army started renting space in the old St. Boniface School for its headquarters and part of Quincy University's North Campus for its Emergency Shelter.

Now that the Kroc Center is nearing completion, one final piece of the puzzle has to be laid to bring everything back together.

Arthur Mitchell says, "I didn't realize how bad homelessness was until I became homeless. There are so many different ways that it can happen that I didn't know about."

Arthur Mitchell and his wife Jane started their life in Quincy with a backpack of clothes a piece and five to ten dollars in their pocket. They moved here on a wing and a prayer from Chicago on May 24th of 2008. By June 9th and 10th, they both had jobs. They didn't have a place to stay, but Arthur knew the Salvation Army would help. The Mitchell's stayed in the Emergency Shelter until they got back on their feet.

Mitchell says, "It gave me structure. Rules. It taught me to express myself as who I am and not who I wanted to be."

On face value, the Salvation Army shelter got the Mitchells off the street and pushed them to find jobs. What you can't see is what it did for them on the inside. It let Arthur know there are people out there who care for complete strangers.

Three years later, the Mitchells have their own apartment, and they are looking into becoming foster parents. Still, the Salvation Army shelter continues to house men, women, and children every night. By this time next year, the Salvation Army will renovate the old Inman's Art Gallery to be the new shelter and family services center. It's a two million dollar project, and most of that money is accounted for. However, there's about 75 to 80 thousand dollars that needs to be raised, and the Salvation Army is counting on you to help.

Major Dan Jennings says, "With this beautiful new Kroc Center, none of the funds that are used for the Kroc Center can be used for the traditional Salvation Army services including family services and the shelter."

Major Dan Jennings says there's a misconception in the public that people think everything Salvation Army is going to be under one roof at the Kroc Center, and that's not the case. Day to day Salvation Army services have to be separate from the Kroc Center.

Jennings says, "We think with about 95 percent of funds raised, we really are looking good. But, this last five percent is important too. And it's important for the public to be partners with us and get a chance to make a contribution to help."

Hopes are to have this campaign wrapped up by the end of July, and have the Inman's building renovated and opened by June of 2012.

If you'd like to donate to the campaign, you can send a check for the Changing Lives Campaign to the Salvation Army at 732 Hampshire Street in Quincy (62301).

You can also pledge as little as a dollar at many convenience stores around town.

And later this month, KHQA is taking part in a shelter blitz with other media outlets in hopes of topping this fundraising goal.

Stay tuned for more information on that.

For more on the campaign, click here.