The Cranbrook Salvation Army welcomed in dozens of townsfolk to take part in the grand opening of their new addition to the building at 533 Slater Road Friday, August 11.
Major Kirk Green, who has been looking after the Salvation Army in Cranbrook for the past ten years, addressed the crowd of staff, volunteers and members of the community. Also in attendance were Mayor Lee Pratt, Councillor Ron Popoff and MLA Tom Shypitka, who sits on the community council and spoke to the crowd. Green also acknowledged Ktunaxa Elder Herman Alpine who gave a blessing in his native language to the audience.
“We need to acknowledge that we are not alone in this endeavour,” said Green. “We need to acknowledge first and foremost that we are on Ktunaxa land. We need to acknowledge that and we need to respect that. We need to respect that because the Ktunaxa people are a very proud people and they have a lot of agencies here in the community and around the area and we work in partnership with those agencies and we are proud to do so because of what they bring to the table.”
Green also thanked numerous business who contributed to the Salvation Army and the creation of the new addition, with special thanks going to New Dawn Developments who presented him with a cheque for $28,000.
Green said that nationally the Salvation Army provides 6000 shelter beds daily and 2.8 million meals. He said that last year the Cranbrook Salvation Army offered over $350,000 in services such as advocacy programs, an emergency winter shelter, an emergency food bank and that they serve over 12,000 last year provided over 24,000 lunches for children in need.
“But we don’t do it just for the sake of doing programs, programs in and of themselves are fine but we do it for people like this,” he said, gesturing to the young child who had run up while he was speaking and leaped into his arms. “This little girl, her name is Cynthia, and her mom is a single mom, she has three children, and a few years ago we met them through a tax program and we invited them to become part of our family.”
He said that the new addition will be more than just a new warehouse, or a place to find bargains or to “leave behind that Christmas gift that that aunt gave you that you can’t quite figure out.”
“Every time that the Salvation Army has moved to a new location, the expressions of assistance that we give to the community have changed and they have grown,” Green said. “It’s not just a place to find bargains but a central force in making this community a better place for a whole lot of very deserving people. This warehouse and new kitchen will allow us to expand what we do in this community and continue to grow and to help more and more people as we move forward.”