Traverse City Record-Eagle

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September 6, 2013

Another View: Salvation Army faces own tough times

It’s disappointing to see a nonprofit committed to helping the less fortunate fall on its own hard times.

But saddled with a debt load of more than $400,000, the Salvation Army of Marquette has been forced to pull back from its mission.

The organization is planning to close its K.I. Sawyer operation — an effort that would save roughly $80,000 annually.

This deficit has put the Salvation Army in a tough position. The need for assistance in the K.I. Sawyer area is clearly high, but it’s also apparently the source of much of the organization’s operating deficit.

Officials cite trying to maintain their program at the youth center in K.I. Sawyer — in the face of expensive utility bills and operational fees - as a major factor in putting the group’s entire Marquette operation at risk.

It’s an operation with a noble mission.

The Salvation Army, an evangelical Christian movement established in 1865, strives to support those in need — without discrimination.

Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a wide range of social services: providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.

Perhaps with renewed support from the community, the Sawyer program can be revived. Other belt tightening measures are being taken, which may help put the group back in the black and bring services back.

The local Salvation Army will get help in its long-term plan from the organization’s regional headquarters, which has promised a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000 for any funds donated through the end of September specifically target for debt relief.

Then, starting in October, the regional HQ will provide a one-to-one match of up to $30,000 for similar donations. Combined with the Sawyer savings, that could help the Salvation Army get back on track quickly.

In the meantime, the group is pledging to redouble its efforts at community involvement and outreach.

We hope the plan works and the Salvation Army survives and thrives, as our entire community would be much poorer without it.

The Mining Journal, Marquette

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