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McClure: Salvation Army needs prayers, hearts

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Captain Doug McClure of the Salvation Army of Albany did not ask the Albany Rotary Club members for money Thursday at Doublegate Country Club.

He asked for something more important.

"People ask me all the time 'what do you need from us'?" the local SA Corps director said. "I tell them 'first off, we need your prayers.

Secondly, we need your hearts and minds.'

"If we have those two things, everything else will take care of itself."

The Salvation Army's Albany branch was established in 1919 and currently operates a 42-bed shelter, provides food and rental assistance and operates a family thrift store among other services.

The Army recently added a new service to its offerings.

"Due to the downturn in the economy, last fall we were awarded an $890,000 grant (through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs) for a two-year program to help keep people in their homes," McClure said. "The HPRHP (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program) has had an impact on the local economy. Over the past five months we've given out more than $35,000 to help keep people in their homes.

"That money has helped families, and it's also helped landlords."

The local SA also operates a mobile kitchen and helps with mundane tasks like assisting families with budgeting.

"You'd be surprised how many people don't know how to balance their checkbooks or what it's like to set a budget," McClure said.

McClure said the organization is in the process of launching two new community initiatives.

"In August we plan on starting an outreach center for the homeless," McClure said. "More people in Albany qualify as homeless than most know. It is part of a huge collaboration to end homelessness in Albany.

"We are also about to provide transitional housing for single men. It will be a four-bedroom home. We'll start small and build from there."

McClure urged people to drop by the Salvation Army's shelter.

"Come down and meet the people we serve," McClure said. "I think most of you would leave with a whole different perspective."