By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
The Salvation Army of Temple wants to build 'A Center of Hope.'
'We're in a feasibility study right now,' said Capt. Martha Burchett, the director. 'We have to find out the cost, what location would be best and how big it should be.'
Her goal is to create a community service facility that will offer programs in counseling, transitional housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and character development for at-risk youth.
Funds for the center will come from a capital campaign fundraiser, set to start in the spring of 2009.
Assisting Ms. Burchett in this endeavor is an advisory board full of community leaders like Sam Farrow of Extraco Bank, Richard Archer of the Texas Veterans Land Board, Lonzo Wallace of Temple Fire Rescue, Jimmy Stewart of Wal-Mart, Realtor Bob Arris and Chaplain Jack Covington of the First Responders Fellowship.
'There's a lot of needs in this community that we can meet if we can get the resources to do it,' Wallace said.
He and Covington said the homeless and at-risk youth are two populations that need help and attention.
'Growth has been astonishing in this area, practically non-stop,' Covington said. 'But when the good grows, the bad grows too. And we've got to be prepared to address it and be there to help.'
The Center of Hope, however, will not be a place for free hand-outs. It will follow the Salvation Army mission code.
'We're about touching hearts and changing them,' Capt. Burchett said. 'We're about providing the tools to make positive change and growth happen.' So the Center of Hope's transitional housing program wouldn't be about giving people a free roof. Capt. Burchett said it would be there to offer the homeless a way to learn independence and self-reliance. Once a person in the program finds a job, part of his or her paycheck would go back to the center to help pay for daily expenses.
Other potential Center of Hope programs could include a music outreach ministry, community education on life skills and financial aid for victims of disaster and tragedy victims.
'The center will also be a way for the Salvation Army to continue and expand its existing programs,' Capt. Burchett said.
Ideally, Covington said the facility will also be available to host community programs by Scott & White, Temple College and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Discussion on that sort of use has already started.
Construction on the proposed Center of Hope will be modeled after a similar facility in Tyler. It measures about 60,000 square feet and features a variety of utility rooms like kitchens, auditoriums and classrooms.
'It's a beautiful campus,' Arris said. 'It's no eye sore. Our two communities are similar in structure and need, so making something like that happen for Temple isn't out of expectation.'
Donations for the proposed Center of Hope are welcome at Salvation Army of Temple on Avenue M. Call 774-9996 or email Martha_Burchett@uss.salvationarmy.org.