Salvation Army food pantry moves to Little Chapel Church

More volunteers needed for Cordova service unit committee

The Little Chapel Church, at 905 Lake Ave., is the new home of the Salvation Army’s Extension Service Unit. The food pantry is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Volunteers at the Little Chapel Church have taken up the baton as the Salvation Army’s Extension Service Unit, proving community food bank services twice a month on Saturday afternoons. 

A contractual deal was struck recently between the church and the Salvation Army to conform with a new model for serving some communities, after the Salvation Army closed its Cordova outpost on June 1. 

“We want people to know the Salvation Army is still in Cordova,” said Larry Goodale, pastor of the Little Chapel, which has contracted with the Salvation Army to provide specific services to those in need. 

“The Salvation Army approached us and asked us if we’d be willing to help. At this point, the food bank is available. We’ll provide services as we can, as long as there are volunteers and space available. At this time, we have enough space in the Little Chapel for the food bank,” Goodale said. 

Still unanswered is what to do with secondhand clothing, furniture and other items formerly donated by residents for resale at the local Salvation Army thrift shop.  

The Rev. Belle Mickelson, of St. George’s Episcopal Church, said in her weekly community email newsletter that she’s heard many comments about people missing the Salvation Army store, where locals and summertime residents shopped, the latter mostly for warm clothes and rain gear. 

“The Salvation Army did so much for recycling, and keeping good things out of the landfill,” she wrote. “I’m so grateful for the Little Chapel (who’ve) taken over food distribution,” Mickelson stated. 

“It isn’t that the Salvation Army is leaving Cordova,” said Salvation Army Divisional Cmdr. Major Mike Dickinson in a statement. “We are just reorienting our model to serve the community in a different way.”   

A service unit operates under the Salvation Army’s Service Extension Program in communities without Salvation Army building-centered programs directed by a local Salvation Army officer.  

For this model to work, community involvement is essential.  

“We’re grateful that the Little Chapel stepped forward to offer space and leadership for our service unit so that our food pantry will continue without interruption,” said Salvation Army Service Extension Director, Jenni Ragland, in a statement.   

Services typically offered include food assistance or homeless prevention support, Ragland said. The service committee’s function is to identify and prioritize unmet needs, and help build local capacity to raise the resources to meet those needs. 

The Salvation Army is actively seeking more volunteers to serve on the Cordova Service Unit Committee.   

Current committee members are Katie Goodale, Salvation Army Cordova Service Extension Coordinator, James Brand, Bree Mills, Larry Goodale, and Darrel Olsen.  

Those interested in serving on the board, or volunteering in other ways may contact the Goodales. 

The Salvation Army first came to Cordova as part of emergency relief services in the Southcentral Alaska area following the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, and established a permanent outpost here in 1995.  

During the last year, the Cordova outpost aided 633 people with services including providing meals and groceries, utility and housing assistance, transportation, holiday assistance, and counseling, Ragland said. 

The food pantry is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For emergency food needs at other times call Katie Goodale, Salvation Army Cordova Service Extension Coordinator, at 424-3629. 

For more information on the Salvation Army contact Jenni Ragland via email at jenni.ragland@usw.salvationarmy.org 

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at cgibbens-stimson@thecordovatimes.com or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.