The new worship and service center opened recently in Blount County by the Salvation Army is more than bricks and mortar.
For the clients who need it, the new facility “feels like home,” says Salvation Army Blount County Administrator Sgt. Jared Martin.
“One thing I really like about it is that a lot of our clients love it so much,” Martin said of the facility at 1414 Sevierville Road. “They see it as theirs. People coming in for help feel at home. It puts them at ease.”
The clients are showing a sense of ownership and pride in the new 5,000-square-foot facility, said Martin. A lot of social work environments can be sterile and official looking, he said. “The general feeling that kind of sterile environment gives someone who needs help is that they’re just another cog in the wheel of paperwork. That can be de-humanizing,” he said. “Here, they can breath a sigh of relief and know they’re safe when they’re in the Salvation Army.”
Martin was pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm from those who dropped by for the July 30 event.
“It went very well, and we had a very warm welcome from the community. We had a big turnout. Mayor Ed Mitchell was there, the Maryville Kiwanis had an amazing showing, and there were a lot of clients from our social services program who came,” Martin said. “That was really exciting. We had our volunteers and board members there, and it was like a party. I was very glad to show off the place.”
Martin said currently the biggest social program they are doing is the fuel assistance program Gas for Go-Getters. “We have gas cards for people looking for work,” he said. “They are able to fill their tanks so we can fill their hearts with hope. They go to job interviews, pick up applications, get back to work and back on their feet thanks to this program.”
The other staple social work program at the new center is Celebrate Recovery. “This is a Christ-centered 12-step addiction recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. People come in going through all sorts of life issues,” Martin said.
The Salvation Army provides counseling and group support programs for addicts and family members of addicts. There is also childcare available to make the programs available to those with young children, he said.
“No matter what it is that has gotten a-hold of someone’s life, they can find hope and healing through Celebrate Recovery. The meetings are held on Thursday at 7 p.m.,” he said.
Martin said another service is beginning this week for Salvation Army clients. Credibility, a non-profit organization in Blount County, is offering financial counseling to Salvation Army clients, Martin said.
“They will have experts to help them go through their budget problems and help them get out of debt and be stable financially,” Martin said.