Tag Archives: Bill Byrd

Salvation Army Temple Corps: An essential partner in Benton Park West & surrounding neighborhoods

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Content Specialist, Midland Division

This August, families filled The Salvation Army Temple Worship and Community Center at 2740 Arsenal from just before 10 a.m. until early afternoon. Families from the surrounding neighborhoods in the Benton Park West area brought their children to receive a free satchel filled with school supplies, in preparation for the upcoming school year.

The event is one of many held at The Salvation Army’s Temple Community Center, to help better the lives of those around them. “The Salvation Army does a lot in Benton Park West and surrounding neighborhoods. They have a key into this community that a normal non-profit just doesn’t have. We consider them equal partners in what we do. That’s why we are here today to support them,” said Bill Byrd, of the Benton Park West Association.

The event was a one-stop shop for families looking for assistance. Benton Park West provided free lunch to all who attended, while Grace Hill offered parents information on their Head Start program, in addition to free books for the younger siblings of the school-aged children. Salvation Army social workers provided parents the opportunity to register for employment assistance programs, if needed.

Two mothers of young children offered their praise of The Salvation Army as they looked on while their children played. Shonda Selvy remarked, “Their involvement in this community helps a lot. Even outside of today’s event, my children always have programs and after-school activities they can participate in. The school supplies help children have something to start school with – that way they don’t have to walk in on their first day and be without.”

“And they help them with homework after school. That is so important,” said Antanina Valentine, whose children regularly participate in Temple activities, such as Sunbeams, a character-building program rooted in the scouting tradition.

The satchels, donated by Bags n’ More, were given to 450 children at the Back-to-School event and 550 more are expected to be distributed at area schools in the coming week, for a total of 950 satchels filled with supplies. The impressive total far surpasses their gift to the community in 2010.

Perhaps Antanina Valentine, whose children regularly participate in Temple activities summed it up best when she said, “Their programs are critical to Benton Park [West] – from the education services to the smaller things like movie night. It’s all family-oriented and it’s so important to this community.”

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