SUMMERSIDE – The Salvation Army Church in Summerside officially unveiled its new facility Monday.
SUMMERSIDE – Usually when a person retires they step away from their place of work and seek fulfillment elsewhere.
But not Marj Montgomery. She didn’t feel the need.
Montgomery served as the family services co-ordinator for the Salvation Army Church in Summerside for many years before stepping down about a year and a half ago.
She still comes back at least once a week to help out however she can.
“I loved my work and this is an extension of my work,” said Montgomery, Monday.
“It’s just natural for me; I didn’t even consider anything else.”
She does this despite the fact that during her working years she was faced with some stressful conditions due to the constrained resources.
The Salvation Army’s main services were spread out across the city and none of them had adequate space.
“It was very cramped quarters. Trying to make due with the ever-increasing numbers of people using the services. People were standing out in the rain, in the snow, in the cold,” she said.
But that all changed in late 2013 when construction of the church’s new Summerside Soup Kitchen was completed.
The new facility, an extension of the Salvation Army building on Pope Road Extension, brought together three church programs run out of satellite offices: family services, the food bank and the soup kitchen. The thrift store in St. Eleanors is now the only Prince County program that runs independently.
In total, the extension added 200 square metres of space for church use.
Volunteers and community and church leaders gathered in Summerside Monday to celebrate all that extra space.
Major Willis Drover welcomed a crowd of more than 100 people to the ribbon cutting ceremony.
He’s helped lead the charge for the new facility, so Monday’s ceremony was a dream come true for him.
“Three years ago we started planning for this day – sometimes I thought it would never come … but here we are,” he said to a laughing crowd.
“The Salvation Army’s promise is ‘giving hope today.’ I believe this is much more than just a saying, it’s a promise that draws people to the Salvation Army for help.”
Joining Drover and the other speakers for the ribbon cutting was Commissioner Brian Peddle, Salvation Army, territorial commander for Canada and Bermuda, who travelled to the Island for the occasion.
He told the crowd that, at its core, the Salvation Army is about community, and he had nothing but praise for this one.
“I commend you for your community spirit and for your sense of understanding of what it means to be a good neighbour in this day in which we live,” said Peddle.
“The heart of all of this is about giving hope today. It’s about doing it with dignity, about doing it with compassion and love and respect. And if we in any way can be a neighbour to neighbours then God will bless that in very special ways,” he said.