Salvation Army seeks help with building

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald New building: A sign advertising the Salvation Army’s newest community service project sits on an empty Bank Street lot. The organization is making a last-minute push for tax-deductible donations today.

With the clock running out today on the 2010 tax benefits for charitable giving, the Salvation Army is making a last-minute push for people in the community to step forward and support its plan for a new Physical, Health and Educational Building.

Both tax deductions and tax credits could be available to individuals and businesses making such donations by the end of the day, according to Bobby Harrell, treasurer of the Salvation Army’s advisory board in Suffolk and chairman of its capital campaign.

The Salvation Army can always use financial donations, but the organization is especially engaged lately in raising the $1.95 million it will need to construct its new building and maintain and operate it for the next three years.

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“The spacious new addition will provide school-age youth, seniors, families and single adults with a facility where they can participate in planned programming, focused recreation, health care, prevention and physical well being,” a recent grant application states.

“This is going to be for the community and help the community,” Harrell said this week.

During 2010, the Salvation Army of Suffolk served more than 45,000 cases, filled more than 18,000 food orders — almost triple last year’s number — and fed 173 lunches per day to school-age children in poverty this summer, Harrell said.

“We are raising money each day to try and provide food, shelter and energy to the less fortunate and to provide services to the families, youth and seniors of Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Franklin, Smithfield and Sussex,” he said.

Surveys, he added, have shown that there are 1,900 children and teens within a mile of the building at 400 Bank St. who “have nowhere to go for organized activities.”

“There’s a nice facility in East Suffolk [Recreation Center], but they’re not going to go that far,” he said.

The new 22,500-square-foot building, which is planned to be located adjacent to the Salvation Army’s existing Suffolk headquarters, will include a gymnasium and locker rooms, three classrooms, a computer room and a wellness center where medical providers can offer inoculations, exams and other simple health services, Harrell said.

According to the grant document, the facility’s programs will aim to address three community problems that are particularly prevalent in the community around the Salvation Army facility: overweight/obesity/poor nutrition; lack of community recreational facilities; and a high concentration of poverty.

The project already has garnered significant local support, Harrell said. Part of the credit, he added, goes to the tax incentives that have been offered.

“These credits have been very helpful in raising money in a down market,” he said.

To take advantage of those tax credits, checks must be dated no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

For more information about how to contribute, contact Harrell, Gail Pruden or Joe Webb through the Salvation Army at 539-5201.