Salvation Army opens disaster assistance facility
Published: Friday, June 8, 2012 at 3:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 at 3:41 p.m.
Upon opening the doors to its new 5,000 square-foot facility on South McDowell Boulevard on June 2, the Petaluma Salvation Army became the largest disaster assistance facility in Northern California.
The building houses 250 shelter kits that include cots and other essential supplies available when the city sets up a temporary shelter during a disaster.
Salvation Army board member Anastasia Schuster said the opening marked a triumphant moment for the organization that has been working to finish the new facility for more than 10 years.
“What we have there is emergency supplies for people, as well as our food stores for our regular distribution. If there were a really big disaster — like a major earthquake — we would have the supplies for the area,” Schuster said.
Half of the building is home to the Salvation Army's administrative offices where family services and assistance is available, while the other half is designated for the organization's warehouse for food and supply storage. People attending the opening were able to get their first glimpse at the massive warehouse and comprehensive administrative center.
The other feature of the newly opened facility that the public viewed for the first time is a ham radio center that can be used in place of the Internet to transmit emails through radiowaves. Schuster said that in times of emergency, if cell towers and internet access fail, the ham radio center can provide an alternate means to communicate.
Captain Scott Schneider, the corps officer who runs the Petaluma organization with his wife Barbara, said that he is pleased to finally see the facility come to fruition and is relieved that it opened before he and his wife are transferred by the Salvation Army to a new post in New Mexico later this month.
“I just am so thankful that we were able to get it finished,” he said. “It's been a dream for years to be able to put the city of Petaluma in a better position. I'm just happy that I can leave this as a gift.”
The one disappointment clouding the Salvation Army's opening is the low donations the organization has received this year. Schuster said that while the need in Petaluma for services has increased over the past three years, donations have decreased.
“We're 13,000 pounds of food short from two years ago,” she said. “Two years ago we didn't have as many people asking for food as we do now. The reality is we have more people getting food from us now than ever before.”
Schneider said that this growing gap between supply and demand is a real issue for the organization and that increasing donations will remain the group's primary concern, even after he is gone.
“This is such a great community and we rely on its support to do our work. The need is real,” he said.
This Saturday, the Salvation Army will be holding a fundraiser for their ham radio center, collecting radio equipment and necessary supplies like chairs and desks. The luncheon event will be held June 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and requests donations of $10 for adults and $5 for children.
In addition, the organization is looking to fill the 13,000-pound food gap with both nonperishable food and monetary donations.
For more information go to www.tsatoday.org/petaluma or call 769-0716.
(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at email@example.com)
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
You'll find a number of new technology features available from this site. With personalized news sent straight to your mobile device.
post your stuff
Petaluma360.com is here for you to post your comments, photos, news and events with the community. Post it now!
Have something to say? Join the conversation!
Upload your photos of community events, holidays, pets, cute kids, breaking news and more, and vote for your favorites!
Submit your area events to encourage others in your community to attend.