Amidst regional recovery, Salvation Army undergoes renovations

Published 6:14 pm Friday, November 9, 2018

In the days after Hurricane Florence tore through eastern North Carolina, The Salvation Army of Washington was among the organizations on the front lines responding to the needs of Beaufort County residents. From assisting with short-term meal and supply distributions to long-term recovery, the Christian nonprofit has played a key role in helping area residents get back on their feet.

Yet, in the midst helping others recover, the organization has also undergone a recovery of its own. When heavy rains battered down during the storm, the gutters atop The Salvation Army Washington Family Store failed, causing water damage throughout the store.

After closing last week for renovations, the store held a ribbon cutting on Friday in conjunction with the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce.

“From this, we’ll be able to continue to support our community as they support us,” The Salvation Army of Washington Lt. Karl Bush said. “Any profit that comes from our stores goes back into our social services. We’re able to pay utility bills, provide Christmas and all of the social services we do.”

All told, the cost of the renovations, which includes new flooring, duct and electrical work, painting and a complete overhaul of the store’s layout, was approximately $21,000. In addition to money recouped by insurance and the advisory board, the nonprofit also received a $60,000 grant through the North Carolina Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Fund to assist local families with mitigating storm damages.

When people donate to The Salvation Army, those items are priced and resold in the store. These funds in turn can provide utility assistance, emergency lodging and food boxes. With the store closed for a week and a half, The Salvation Army lost an average of $600 a day that could be used for those programs.

“That’s big, but now that this is done, we’re able to offer a nicer space to shop and a better experience, and to some extent, more items to sell to the community,” Bush said.

In addition to juggling its own recovery needs with those of Beaufort County, The Salvation Army has already kicked off its annual Christmas ministries at the same time. This week, the organization began its Angel Tree Campaign, which provides Christmas presents to children in Beaufort, Martin, Hyde, Washington, Bertie and Tyrrell counties.

Trees ornamented with each child’s needs can be found at Walmart stores throughout the organization’s service area. Those interested in helping fulfill those needs can also contact the organization directly at 252-946-2523.

“This year, we’ve seen an increase in need because families have lost everything,” Bush said. “With Hurricane Florence, it’s changed the perspective of what families tend to ask for during Christmas. Angels off the trees are going to make a huge impact this year, because the things listed are really needs.”

Also this week, The Salvation Army kicked off its annual Red Kettle campaign at locations throughout the area. Kettles will be out at Food Lion, Walgreens and Walmart locations in the coming weeks.