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All invited to Saturday opening of Salvation Army centre in downtown Trail

Renovations at the Cedar Avenue locale took two years

Three branches of Salvation Army community services — food bank, soup kitchen and thrift store — will be consolidated under one roof in downtown Trail starting Saturday.

After a two-year overhaul of the church-owned building at 1460 Cedar Ave., the public is invited to the grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 12:30 p.m.

“We are excited to finally be able to provide all our services to the community under one roof,” says Pastor Eric Olsen, Trail Salvation Army ministries.

“The Salvation Army has been giving hope in the Trail community since 1918 and we are looking forward to this new chapter.”

Renovations include the installation of a commercial kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, big enough to seat and feed hot meals to 50 patrons at a time in the newly dubbed “Sally’s Place.”

A dedicated soup/stew pot even has its own water line and drain, meaning less strain for workers/volunteers helping with weekday lunches.

(The Salvation Army kitchen and food bank on Rossland Avenue will close by the end of October.)

The Thrift Store shares the main floor with the kitchen, though doors separate the two services as hours of operation differ.

Downstairs is the food bank, where secondhand furniture and kitchen goods were once sold.

The new space is complete with plenty of storage, two big walk-in freezers, and a room to provide applicants with privacy.

The Salvation Army provides food hampers to 60 households and serves 800+ meals through their kitchen each month. Olsen says he expects these numbers to grow.

“We have seen an increase in need throughout the past year — no one sector seems to be spared,” he told the Times. “In some cases, we are seeing families with dual incomes that can’t put food on the table.”

When family services are fully operational in the updated building, staff/patrons will have access to a new elevator to move from the basement to the first and second floor.

The top story (second floor) has been a wide-open warehouse since 1963, when Sears occupied the building. The church bought the locale in 1998, and used the open floor space mostly to store donations.

Interestingly, Olsen says Friday, Sept. 22 marks 60 years to the day when Sears first opened doors to the place. This came up during the Times’ tour because a feature remaining in the top story is the original wood floor that Sears had installed.

What has changed over the past two years is the layout. The top story has been re-designed to house offices for management, private washrooms, a meeting room with two newly installed windows, and a “rag” room to manage clothes not suitable for re-sale. The latter is cut into rags and shipped off to various corners of Canada to be re-used for insulation, protective sheets for painters, and more.

While the updates are obvious and impressive, the bones of the building are modernized as well, including new plumbing with the “Cadillac ” of water heaters, a pumped up power source with all new electrical, and a security system with cameras keeping an eye on all 2,114 square-feet.

All are welcome to the opening on Saturday, beginning with the 12:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting. The grand opening offers an opportunity to meet the team and learn about programs and services.

There will be two prize draws and 15 per cent off Thrift Store goods.

While all community services are merged at the Cedar Avenue hub, church services remain in East Trail, every Sunday, 10:30 a.m., at the Salvation Army Church.

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began work in Canada in 1882, and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country.

“Giving Hope Today,” the Salvation Army supports vulnerable people every day in 400 communities across Canada and more than 130 countries around the world.

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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