ST. GEORGE — Meeting with community members at an open house Wednesday, the new leaders of The Salvation Army outpost in St. George expressed interest in finding unique ways to better serve St. George.
The outpost celebrated National Salvation Army Week with free food, a bounce house and an opportunity for people to meet the leaders and members of the new St. George outpost located at 803 S. Bluff Street. Lt. Saul Smoak and Lt. Crystal Smoak recently took the reigns from the previous director of the center, Donald Bush.
“We’re trying to figure out what the community needs are so we can best serve it,” Saul Smoak said. “We’re trying to find our role here.”
The St. George center isn’t going to try to compete with other service-oriented organizations and religious groups in the community, Saul Smoak said. They will be looking for ways they can help without “duplicating the services” of any other group. At the open house, members of the community were able to give recommendations to the leaders of the outpost on where service is most needed.
“Let’s be honest — anybody can give out a food box,” Saul Smoak said. “I’m not knocking that, but we’re going to try to find somewhere to serve people where needs aren’t being met.”
The Salvation Army in St. George has goals to help at-risk teens and homeless people in the community because that is a population that is often overlooked, he said. Construction will soon take place in the outpost to add doors to rooms to make the building safer for children.
“Helping youth and the homeless and the needy is our passion,” Smoak said.
The Salvation Army outpost in St. George also has the goal to recruit more members, bring the message of Jesus Christ to others and spread awareness for the center, he said.
The Salvation Army in St. George is also hoping to soon become a full-fledged corps, which will allow the church to offer more services in the community, Smoak said. The St. George office is waiting on approval from the national Salvation Army organization to become a corps, but it should happen within the next couple of months.
“Our goal is to out of the storefront, get a church building and start being a full-blown church,” Smoak said. “That means youth groups, men’s fellowship, women leagues, weekly Bible studies and more community outreach. We’re going to start expanding.”
Joseph Neuffer, a member of The Salvation Army from St. George who volunteered at the open house, said the church can give back to others like it was able to help him.
“I’m a recovered addict, and (The Salvation Army) helped me find a higher power,” Neuffer said. “We love everyone and everyone is welcome.”
National Salvation Army Week was first declared by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.
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