The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

March 31, 2014

Mission statement

Salvation Army feeds souls, meets real needs

SHENANGO VALLEY — As he works through his days as the director of the Sharon Salvation Army, Capt. Scott Flanders said he’s getting a sense that people recognize the organization as something “valuable” but without any clear idea of what it does.

He’d like to change that.

“I went to see the city manager in Sharon last week to ask if I could put up some signs directing people to the Salvation Army building on Fisher Hill, and he told me didn’t really know what all we did. And that isn’t the first time I’ve heard that,” Flanders said.

Most recognized for its bell-ringing, Red Kettle drive before Christmas, the Salvation Army is primarily a church, with outreach efforts that shelter, clothe and feed people, he said.

With an annual budget of about $700,000, the money raised in the kettle drive is about one- tenth of what it needs to operate locally, and Flanders hopes if he can get the word out about all the programs, residents may be willing to offer support year-round.

The Salvation Army has been in the Shenango Valley for more than 100 years, Flanders said, and he thinks its reputation has been passed down between generations.

“I think people know that their parents supported the Salvation Army and that we’re a good organization, so they support us. But if you asked them what we do, I don’t know how many could tell you,” he said.

Just one example of a community program that is gaining popularity, he said, is the senior center programs and meals held on Fridays. Between 80 and 120 seniors come for the free breakfast, an informational program, a free lunch and some time spent on crafts. Local artist Don Gold also teaches painting there on occasion.

Doris Salatino, 81, of Sharon, said she has the utmost respect for the Salvation Army, which has helped her many times since her husband died. “I’m a Catholic, but the Catholic church is a little too hard for me to get into, with the steps and everything. But I really enjoy the services here. And at the end of the month when money is tight, they’ve often helped tide me over. They’ve helped with my electric bill, too. This is a great organization,” she said.

Bonnie Watt, another senior who regularly attends senior citizen events, said she comes for the fellowship. “But it’s so much fun, too. There’s square dancing, bingo, lunches. They provide a great service here.”

Flanders said the church asks for a $2 donation but if people can’t pay, it’s no problem. The Shenango Valley Shuttle Service makes multiple trips to the building in Sharon, he said, and that is how most participants get there. But the Salvation Army will also pick them up, he added.

Donations from Giant Eagle, Donofrio’s and Panera Bread provide bread for seniors to take home each Friday, he added.

The senior program, however, is just one of the services offered in the many rooms that once housed an elementary school. In progress is a nursery, to be used during Sunday worship services. One is a lounge for teens, with televisions and movies and comfortable couches.

A boys’ and girls’ clubs for children between 6 and 12 also have their own space in the 38,000-square-foot building.

Some of the ministry’s budget comes from the thrift store, also housed in the former school. Volunteers and staff run the store and take in about $40,000 a year. Open most weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the store sells appliances, furniture, dishes and clothes. Donations are welcome, Flanders said.

Another part of the budget goes toward sending some 60 children from all over the Shenango Valley to Camp Allegheny each summer in Ellwood City. “Camp is a huge thing. We don’t advertise because word-of-mouth brings us so many that are interested,” he said.

But funding all the social service programs gets tougher each year, Flanders said, as costs rise and donations stay level. Right now, he said, he has no idea how he’s going to pay a $6,000 heating bill.

“That’s for one month. For March. I couldn’t believe it. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.

The rough winter has left him struggling to keep up. Gas bills started at nearly $1,000 in January and have gone up every month since, he said.

“Something’s going to have to give. I just don’t know what,” he said.


Text Only
Local News
  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014