Salvation Army, café join to feed hungy Kingmanites
KINGMAN - The Salvation Army has added its name to the short but substantial list of local organizations that offer the homeless and others facing hard times a hot meal.
New Director Troy Palmer has entered into a partnership with Sirens Café to provide breakfast on Tuesday mornings and lunch on Thursdays.
The meals are served from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.
Palmer, 48, said the hot food program has fed about 100 people over the past two weeks, about 25 at a time.
"We're doing this along with Cornerstone (Mission)," he said. "I'm very proud of this program." Cornerstone is Kingman's homeless shelter.
Palmer said he hopes to pick up where the former director left off - growing the Salvation Army in Kingman and expanding the organization's social services.
"Bill (Ward) really helped us grow and I've watched it become a stronger presence in the community," said Palmer. Ward recently left the Salvation Army to take over the Boys & Girls Club of Kingman.
Palmer has expanded the Salvation Army's food distribution program. In addition to giving families food and other items once a month, the Salvation Army hands out bags once a week to the homeless.
"We can't give them what we give families who have a home, obviously, but we're giving them a healthier variety. They can't refrigerate anything so they don't get dairy, but at least they're getting healthy food," he said.
St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix is the Kingman Salvation Army's primary food supplier. Palmer said the church will take a more "hands-on" approach.
"Hopefully," said Palmer, "we'll hit all the food groups."
The Salvation Army in Kingman serves about 300 families a month and about 160 homeless people. Palmer estimates about 11 percent of the city's population is helped with everything from food commodities to paying utility bills.
Walmart provides food items through a special program and many residents donate to the organization.
"The need here is very high," he said.
Palmer said he hopes to get the community more involved in the Salvation Army, pointing out all donations, whether merchandise for the thrift store or money, stay in Kingman.
"Many little things help us out in a big way," he said.
"I'm grateful for the thrift store. It helps keep the doors open."
The organization's workforce is comprised of two full-time employees, three part-time workers and several "dedicated and amazing" volunteers, said Palmer.
Today, the Salvation Army is on solid footing. The same couldn't be said two years ago when the doors almost closed down for good.
"Bill was a fixer," said Palmer. "He was very good at building in efficiencies and streamlining things and I want to continue that."
With spring upon us comes spring cleaning. Palmer encourages anyone clearing out closets or garages to bring their gently used items to the Salvation Army at Third and Beale streets. People who want to donate larger items can call and the Salvation Army will come pick it up.
There are things the organization can't accept.
"We don't take pianos, organs, exercise equipment doesn't sell very well, or mattresses, mainly due to health reasons, but we take pretty much everything else," he said.