Donations to the Topeka Salvation Army have simply not lived up to expectations over the summer months and the Topeka Salvation Army now finds itself in dire financial straits.
“We’re a real humble organization,” said development director Shelley Robertson. “We don’t spend dollars or donor dollars on advertising. We still have a lot of needs here. A lot of people may not realize some of the programs we have. We have the supportive services for vets. We actually have a contract with the VA. We help vets that are homeless or transient. We also have a Pathway of Hope program. That’s designed for folks that were on the system and are off. As you know, when you get off the system, you’re not eligible for anything. We help those folks because we want to keep them in viable employment. We help them in between paydays get food. We help with gas cards. We also go out and we visit nursing homes, we give out blankets to those folks. We have a pantry with items on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have children’s clothes closets.”
Also, a big draw of late for the office at 1320 SE 6th Street has been their nightly meal Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
“We spend, on the average, $500 to $600 a week, just providing for that meal,” said Robertson. “We do get donations from Project Topeka and Harvesters, but it’s still the other stuff that we need. We’ve seen a real spike in the amount of people that we’re serving nightly too. We’re up to about 125-130 people a night.”
The average in past years has been 65-75 a night.
“The nice thing about our community meal program, we don’t ask for any kind of criteria,” said Robertson. “If you’re hungry, you eat. It’s open for anybody.”
Individuals can donate by either coming into the facility at 1320 SE 6th Street or by calling in with a credit card to (785) 233-9648.