Salvation Army addresses transportation

NILES — The importance of having transportation to get adults and children to different Salvation Army programs and services was stressed at the annual benefit of the agency held at Ciminero’s Banquet Centre in Niles.

Mayor James Guest, NEOSA Divisional Secretary from New York who has served 29 years as a core officer for the Salvation Army where he served as director of curriculum, and Major Lois Guest, education officer, shared the need for having transportation to serve the public.

“The programs and ministry of the Salvation Army provides are so vital. We take children and adults to different places and programs through transportation,” Guest said.

He said they take children to summer camps and after-school programs.

“We were taking children who have lived in the city all their lives when we were heading to camp and a boy saw a horse and asked “Is that a real horse? We stopped so the children could see the horse. Many have never left the city,” Guest said.

He said transportation is also needed to take Christmas kettle ringers to different locations.

“They tell me they held with the kettles to give back to the Salvation Army which helped them,” he said.

Guest said whether a bus, van, SUV or car, transportation is essential to the mission of the Salvation Army.

Brian Becker, director of the drop-in program at the Salvation Army, said mentally challenged adults are brought to the agency for programs and activities. He said without having transportation people could not get there.

Fred Ebinger, advisory board member, said the transportation is needed six days per week at the Salvation Army. He said the current vehicles are getting old and need replaced. A fund has been established for donations.

Elyse Ramsey, who participates in the children’s program, said without vehicles, she and other children could not get to the Salvation Army.

Majors Michael and Dianna Morales, who will leave Warren at end of June, said the summer offers camps, field trips and other programs.

The Moraleses will be replaced by Kyle and Christy Williams in July.

Statistics for 2018 at the Warren location include:

• Food assistance to 1,693 families, utility assistance to 853 families and school supplies to 45 individuals;

• Programs offered include homework help, troops, music and art, hot meals programs, shower program and drop-in center;

• Christmas assistance included food and toys to 796 families, 1,785 children age 15 and younger served, 12,495 toys and clothing distributed, 3,576 clothing items distributed, 58 children provided shoes and 63 people helped with rent.