Calling it “a historic moment” — held on Random Acts of Kindness Day — local leaders teamed with the Salvation Army to announce new ways to help those who just need a hand up to get their lives propped up.
County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry and Captain Ken Chapman, area commander of the Salvation Army of Orange and Osceola Counties, announced the opening of the area’s first Salvation Army Resource Center, and the donation — well, the sale for $1 each — of two buses for use by the Osceola Council on Aging, and the donation of $6,000 in county betterment grants to three local charities — so it was a busy Monday morning.
“This has been a long journey for me,” said Choudhry, who has been working on centralizing help for the county’s homeless for most of her commissioner term. “Let me be clear, this does not happen with one person. It is done with the help of many amazing people and organizations. This is only Phase I, and we’ll need everyone involved for it to be a huge success.
While the Salvation Army has been providing emergency services, shelters, food and clothing at its Orlando headquarters, it will now also work out of the Osceola Christian Ministry Center in downtown Kissimmee, offering all that plus medical, dental, educational, housing and career opportunity needs.
Chapman said it’s been a struggle for a year to get to Monday, but that “the sky is the limit.”
“So we need a bigger sky in Osceola County, because this is a great community, the future of Central Florida is right here in this county,” he said. “This facility has been open for 20 years with its own resources. Tens of thousand of people have been served by this ministry by it’s vision. Our vision is to make it bigger and better — the first ever one-stop emergency services center in Osceola County. It happens standing on the tall shoulders of the First Baptist Church of Kissimmee. The idea is to get hope to the lost to get to their feet, and that they can do this and change history.”
Local info on the Salvation Army can be found at a new website, salvationarmyosceola.org.
Three local organizations also received betterment grants. The Access Community Awareness Center ($1,000), the Overflowing Fountain Outreach Ministry ($2,000) and Fighting For Our Heroes ($3,000), who will all work with the Salvation Army at the new Osceola complex.