The Salvation Army is celebrating a move to new, larger quarters in Howard County that leaders say will enable the agency to be open more days, serve more people in need and provide more after-school and summer care for children.
"This allows us to meet the needs," said Windy Kidd, director of the new 4,200-square-foot center at 9017 Red Branch Road, off Route 108. The old center in King's Contrivance was isolated, not on a bus route and less than one-third the size of the new one, she said. It was open only three days a week, and Kidd said staff and volunteers were confronted with up to 100 phone messages from people seeking help each morning they opened.
The new center is open five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The quarters, in a light industrial area, include a large room for storing Christmas gifts and donations, a separate food pantry stocked with canned goods, a computer room with three computers, a private prayer and consultation room, plus administrative space for the full-time staff of two and a large lobby for visitors and volunteers, she said.
Kidd said the Salvation Army also hopes to serve up to 30 children this summer, plus after-school tutoring out of the $370,000 annual budget.
Compared with the first three months of 2008, the Howard branch of the Salvation Army is seeing a 70 percent increase in the number of people seeking help, from 352 to 599 in the first quarter of this year. Of those, 245 used the Salvation Army for the first time during this past year as the recession worsened. That's more than twice as many new clients as during the previous year, Kidd said.
In addition, the demand for food aid in 2009 is double that of last year and is rising fast, Kidd said. People who need food may only get it once each month from the Salvation Army.
The center is served by the Yellow line of Howard Transit. The office phone is 443-656-3376.