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Salvation Army extending assistance to local clients

For citizens of Lincoln and Lawrence counties, gettingassistance during tough times is about to get a little easier – andcloser to home.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 11, the Salvation Army Corps fromMcComb will begin keeping office hours in Brookhaven one day eachweek at the Lincoln County Department of Human Servicesfacility.

The corps’ emergency financial assistance program – which helpsclients get through hardships by providing services like food,shelter, clothing, rent, mortgage, money for prescriptions and fireassistance – will be available every Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3p.m.

Brenda Kates, director of the McComb Salvation Army Corps, saidthe office was being opened in Brookhaven to citizens of bothcounties to help reduce the driving burden on clients. Out of thecorps’ five-county service area – which includes Amite, Lawrence,Lincoln, Pike and Walthall counties – Lincoln County residents makethe second-biggest amount of donations annually and its clients aresaddled with the farthest drive for assistance, she said.

“With the economy really playing a big role right now, where itwas already hard to get down here, it just becomes that much moredifficult,” Kates said. “To ease that burden, we’re going to send aperson to them.”

Kates said the Brookhaven office would not accept walk-ins, andall appointments must still be scheduled by calling the McCombcorps at (601) 249-0131. Kates said clients would be required tobring documents showing total household expenses and income,identification, their Social Security card and birth certificatesof any children living in the household. Other documents may berequired depending on the assistance sought, she said.

The assistance offered for current hardships will pay any billfor one month, Kates said. The service may only be utilized onceper year, unless the situation is particularly extreme.

Kates said the corps has been working toward a Brookhaven officefor two years, but since all funding to the organization comesthrough donations, money is a limiting factor. If enough money isdonated in the future, she said, the Brookhaven office might becomea full-time extension.

“We can’t afford to pay rent on a building,” Kates said. “As weget donations and donations increase, we will be able to domore.”

Kates said the corps’s new officers – Rick and Darlene Boone,who will be in and out of the new Brookhaven office – have allowedthe expansion to take place. Before, she said, the McComb branchwas only a service center. With the addition of officers, the corpsis expanding into Brookhaven and kicking off several new servicesand ministries, as well as starting a new church in McComb.

DHS Director Eleanor Monroe said a Salvation Army presence inher building might allow the two services to complement eachother.

“When people come in here to apply, sometimes they need more,”she said. “They may have particular needs that we can’t address,and we may be able to refer them to the Salvation Army.”

Even though office space is tight in the DHS building, Monroesaid, she would accommodate the Salvation Army.