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Charity has new home: Salvation Army celebrates opening of new facility

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Salvation Army Major Connie Morris enters the administrative offices and social services receptionist's area inside of the new Salvation Army facility Thursday, May 24, 2018.


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Friday, May 25, 2018

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the Salvation Army will be able to help more people and offer more programming now that it’s squeezed four buildings into one.

The storied Christian charitable organization and its supporters celebrated the opening of its Craig F. Goess & Family Corps Community Center with a Thursday ribbon cutting ceremony outside the renovated space at 2718 S. Memorial Drive.

“This has been a long time coming. It’s a vision the board and the community has had for several years and we are excited to have this first phase completed,” said James Earl Jones, advisory board chairman.

Goess and his family attended Thursday’s ceremony. Goess said he wanted to help an organization that helps the Greenville and Pitt County community.

“I want to make somebody who is not happy a little happier. That’s why I did it. It’s just that simple,” Goess said.

The 27,000-square-foot facility has allowed the organization to combine services once housed in four buildings, including the old headquarter off of Dickinson Avenue Extension.

The new location houses a temporary chapel, administrative offices, food pantry with refrigeration, classroom space, a new kitchen, a dining/multipurpose space, a lounge area, male and female bathrooms with showers and a conference room.

Once a new pair of washers and dryers are installed, the organizations breakfast program will moved from the old Tom’s Diner building on Dickinson to the new location, said Major Connie Morris, who along with her husband, Major Ken Morris, leads the local unit.

The breakfast program offers homeless people a simple meal and place to wash clothes. Starting in July, an after-school program for children in first through sixth grades a will offer crafting and reading tutoring.

“We are thrilled to be here. We are in a good space but as we finish this project we’ll be in better shape,” Major Ken Morris said.

The extra space is allowing organization to implement a performing arts program that will teach youth music theory along with voice, brass instruments and guitar. The organization is hoping to secure a grant to establish a keyboard lab where students can practice piano.

It also is starting introductory computer training to teach individuals the basics of applying for jobs, creating resumes and other uses, Ken Morris said.

The local organization, known for its charitable assistance programs that provide support for the poor and people who have fallen on hard times, also is receiving assistance from the Salvation Army of Wake County to work with victims of human trafficking, Ken Morris said.

“This building is completely paid for, this building is solid, no debt, but the project is not complete,” Ken Morris said.

The work was funded through the sale of the organization’s previous property on Dickinson Avenue, where the thrift store still operates, along with raising $3.5 million in pledges and cash.

The organization has an additional $1.3 million in donations pledged over the next five years, Morris said. It will cover the costs of building a new thrift store on the Memorial Drive location and partly cover the costs of a new chapel and gym.

Ken Morris said the organization needs an additional $200,000 in cash before moving forward with the thrift store construction.

Along with more space, the new facility’s location will increase The Salvation Army’s visibility, said Robert Frye, who served as the organization’s business administrator for 12½ years.

“There have been times people said, ‘I didn’t know you were here,’ because we were hidden over on Dickinson (Avenue) off the main tracks,” Frye said.

Thursday’s ceremony was especially touching for Frye, who is retiring from the organization next month.

“It was my goal to make sure we got into the new building and settle down so we can continue the project and finish the vision we have in Greenville,” Frye said.

“God has his own plan and we have to follow his plan, not ours,” he said. Whatever his plan is it will happen here for Greenville because Greenville is just a wonderful place to be.”

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com and 329-9570.