Salvation Army moving to ACTION

 

 

Volunteer Carl Bogen from Federated Covenant Church with Jan Nowak, director of caring ministries/social services, Maj. Bill Walters, commander of Niles Salvation Army, which serves all of Cass and southern Berrien counties, outside ACTION, 301 Main St.

Volunteer Carl Bogen from Federated Covenant Church with Jan Nowak, director of caring ministries/social services, Maj. Bill Walters, commander of Niles Salvation Army, which serves all of Cass and southern Berrien counties, outside ACTION, 301 Main St.

 

With the move set Friday evening, The Salvation Army’s longtime Dowagiac location at Federated Covenant Church, 202 Center St., shifts Tuesday to the more visible ACTION Ministry Center at 301 Main St.

 

It keeps its telephone number, (269) 782-2631. Hours are changing. Historically, The Salvation Army was open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 to 2:30; now it will be expanded to Tuesdays and Fridays, noon to 3 p.m.

 

In its new home, The Salvation Army is counted on to anchor a one-stop buffet of services and to attract other agencies into the fold with its brand recognition.

 

“We need to let the public know not only that we’re moving,” Jan Nowak, director of caring ministries/social services at The Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 424 N. 15th St., Niles, said Wednesday, “but that as the anchor store, it will allow us the opportunity to do more one-stop shopping like we do here. You can come in and meet with other agencies and get linked up to other assistance. Our prior location in the Federated Church was sustained for like 30 years. Judy Bogen, one of our volunteers” along with her husband, Carl, “helped start it. She’s gone full circle.”

 

“It’s funny to be moving because we’ve wanted better visibility,” Nowak said. “I’m so excited! I feel like we’ve been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, and we get to come out now. We’ve been praying for a better location to fix our desire to increase our support to Cass County and here it is in a network with other people. This takes the ministry out to the street.  That’s huge. I can walk to Laurie Anne’s from there. I love that place.”

 

From the church office The Salvation Army dispensed utility and rent assistance and some pharmaceutical assistance, according to Maj. Bill Walters, plus occasional grocery vouchers.

 

With this “new creation in a new location,” as Nowak refers to it, “We’re trying to treat more of the whole person than, ‘Gee, I need groceries’ or, ‘My electric’s going to be shut off.’ That way we can meet more than one need in evidence right then. We couldn’t do that in that location, so being able to have more impact really is an answered prayer.”

 

“We hope to find more volunteers,” Walters said, “so we can serve more.”

 

“We could easily double the contact hours,” Nowak said.

 

The move “benefits both ministries,” agreed Chad Benkert, Federated Covenant youth pastor and an ACTION board member. Besides the 10 a.m. to noon food pantry on Saturdays, Benkert said beginning May 17 there will be a “tithe your garden” from 2 to 4 p.m. to donate fresh produce.

 

Benkert said having a regular presence by The Salvation Army, plus two other agencies in negotiation, “just opens all kinds of doors.”

 

The building is owned by funeral director Brad Yazel.

 

Gene Staples, pastor of Second Baptist Church, is leading ACTION, with Jen Lowe, co-pastor of Federated Covenant, as vice chair.

 

It has considered changing Area Churches Together in One Network to Area Christians Together in One Network to reflect involvement of lay people, such as Carol Heflin of Foodies.

 

The Salvation Army’s Niles home in a former church is for sale. It purchased the old American Legion hall at Miller and 17th which it intends to demolish for a new home eventually. Walters is finishing up his eighth year, Nowak her sixth.

 

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