As of April 1, the local branch of the Salvation Army is operating out of the basement of the Masonic Lodge, 901 Colorado Ave. in Glenwood Springs.
It’s the organization’s third location in two years and is intended to be a temporary solution. It shared space with Catholic Charities until 21 months ago, then obtained an 18-month lease on their own space. The Salvation Army received a three month extension at the end of 2013, but not a full renewal.
The organization has been looking for a new space since then, without much luck. Until it finds one, the Masons have taken them in.
“We’ll be here until we’re somewhere else,” said Karen Lee, a caseworker for the Salvation Army. “I’m very grateful to the Masons. This will help us get a little more time.”
The organization is looking for a space in the 1,000-square-foot range somewhere in Glenwood. It likes being close to the bus lines, as well other aid organizations like Feed My Sheep, LIFT-UP, and Catholic Charities.
Many of the spaces they’ve looked at have balked at the idea of sharing space with an organization that sees so many people. Glenwood’s Salvation Army serves between 80 and 100 people on an average month and can see 200 or 300 in the weeks around Christmas.
“People don’t want that kind of traffic,” Lee said.
Lee said she’d consider a smaller or larger space, but she worries about balancing the practical limits of the space with overhead costs. Donations have dropped off lately, and there’s a lot of pressure to minimize expenses.
“Donors want to spend the money on people,” she observed. “I’m trying to do the business of helping people, and it’s become difficult. All the money we have comes from our donors. We’re expected to support ourselves. We don’t get help from the organization.”
The international charity has come under criticism for alleged discrimination in the past. Lee noted that they’ve received angry letters on the topic, but she said her work is equal opportunity and doesn’t take orders from the religious branch of the organization.
“We don’t discriminate. I’m part of the humanitarian section of the Salvation Army,” she said. “My decisions to help people are not based on race, sex or orientation.”
The Salvation Army will continue to search for a new location, which they hope will be its last.
“People get familiar with the spot we’re at and they rely on us to be there,” Lee said.
To suggest a new location, apply for the local Salvation Army committee, or for more information, contact Karen Lee. 945-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m trying to do the business of helping people, and it’s become difficult. All the money we have comes from our donors. We’re expected to support ourselves. We don’t get help from the organization.”
Caseworker for the Salvation Army