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Gresham Salvation Army receives $250,000 gift

The Murdock Foundation has awarded $250,000 to The Salvation Army Gresham Corps, as it strives to build a social services center and youth recreation area.

This gift will go toward the start of Phase II of the center’s capital campaign to expand the center at 473 S.E. 194th Ave. in Gresham’s Rockwood neighborhood.

Phase II will consist of a 6,500-square foot social services center and an outdoor gymnasium that can be used for youth recreation. The next phase calls for eventually turning the outdoor gym into an indoor gymnasium.

With $1.54 million needed to start Phase II, the foundation’s award puts the Salvation Army just about $116,000 shy of its goal, said Teresa Engel, Salvation Army spokeswoman.

The capital campaign began in March 2002, Engel said. The corps had outgrown its site in downtown Gresham and also faced a long list of repairs.

After raising money to build a new facility, the Gresham Corps completed the first phase of its capital campaign in October 2008 when it dedicated the new building in Rockwood, one of the neediest neighborhoods in the Portland metro area.

Fourteen percent of Rockwood residents have incomes below the federal poverty line; 33 percent of adults have less than a high school education and 42 percent are children under the age of 18.

The Salvation Army saw an immediate increase in demand for services after moving to its new building. Before leaving its downtown Gresham facility, the Gresham Corps provided basic food and clothing assistance to an average of 40 families.

Last September, that figure had grown nearly 500 percent to an average of 200 families served a week.

By autumn 2010, the Gresham Corps began fundraising for Phase II to raise $1.5 million for a new social service center and a covered outdoor gymnasium for expanded youth, sports and community recreational activities.

Phase II will include a commercial kitchen and dining room, providing resources needed to offer weekly senior meals. More storage and distribution space, including a walk-in freezer and refrigerator, will expand food variety and nutrition for clients, allowing them to make their own selections for their food boxes.

These improvements will give the Gresham Corps the capacity to serve up to 250 families or 1,000 people a week, as well as provide a wide variety of services.

Last year, the Gresham Corps family services helped 38,000 individuals with services. This number is expected to grow to more than 50,000 in the new facility, a 20 percent to 25 percent increase.

Once the remaining $116,165 is raised, construction on Phase II is scheduled to begins in November. It could be open by June 2014.



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