Local News

Newburg Boys and Girls Club Hosts Open House

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana organization is hosting an open house this week at the Salvation Army’s former Newburg Boys and Girls Club.

The Salvation Army closed four of its Boys and Girls Clubs earlier this year due to financial problems. For the past couple months the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana, which has three of its own in the region, has been discussing ways to reopen three of the closed clubs. Kentuckiana is closing in on its $500,000 dollar fundraising campaign goal to re-open the Newburg club, and they’ve already started recruiting new members.

Local News

Optimist Club of Louisville Supports Reopening Boys and Girls Clubs

The Optimist Club of Louisville has thrown in $15,000 to help support the reopening of three Louisville Boys and Girls Clubs.

Last month, the Salvation Army closed all four of its Boys and Girls Clubs due to rising costs and diminished income. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana (BGCK) has since begun a 60-day $500,000 fundraising campaign to reopen three of the closed facilities, seeking both individual donations and large corporate investments. BGCK has raised around $190,000 so far.

The Optimist Club joins LG&E, Kroger, Kindred Health and Community Foundation of Louisville in making large contributions to the cause.

Local News

Boys and Girls Clubs Transportation Begins

Several children are taking advantage of transportation that begins Monday between the Salvation Army’s closed Boys and Girls Clubs and a facility run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.

It’s been over a week since the Salvation Army closed all four of its Louisville Boys and Girls Clubs due to rising costs and diminished income. Kentuckiana has since begun a 60-day $500,000 campaign to reopen three of the closed faculties, seeking both individual donations and large corporate investments. It’s raised around $175,000 so far.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana has now scheduled two after-school pick-ups at the Salvation Army’s Portland and Parkland clubs, said Jennifer Helgeson, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.

“We have two individuals that are going to be going out both Parkland and the Portland club locations. We will make two pick up stops, one at 3:00, one at 4:30 to try to get a majority of the kids getting off the buses,” she said.

The kids will be transported to the Shawnee club location and will participate in the clubs activities.

“They will stay and have dinner and be able to able to finish homework and have some fun physical activity time and then we will transport them back to the Portland and Parkland clubs at 7:15,” said Helgeson.

This transportation service will continue indefinitely, she said.

Local News

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In-Depth News

Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs Closing This Month

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club is closing all four clubs in Louisville this month.

Staff and club members were notified on Tuesday effective October 21 the clubs will close. A statement released late Tuesday night says rising costs and diminished income led to the decision to close.

The Salvation Army has struggled to keep the doors of its four clubs open for several years. The Salvation Army clubs are not to be confused with the Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Clubs, which has three operations in the Louisville region.

Merger discussions between the two organization have been ongoing and the statement says talks will continue. Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Club CEO Jennifer Hegelson told WFPL last month, her organization was considering if a merger would be financially stable.

Metro United Way donates a substantial amount to both organizations. Officials from Metro United previously said if a merger occurred, it will continue supporting the total amount for all clubs.

Local News

Salvation Army and Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Club Discuss Merger

The Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana are discussing a possible merger.

“It’s been very fast. To their credit they have both really responded in the interest of the kids that they serve. So both sides are working really diligently because this isn’t easy,” said Maggie Elder, vice president of community impact for Metro United Way.

The Salvation Army has four of its own Boys and Girls Clubs and earlier this year the organization accepted an additional $30,000 gift from Metro United to keep those clubs open, said Elder. Metro United gives both organizations over $350,000 annually and if a merger occurred funding to all clubs represented would remain the same, she said.

But first, the Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana wants to make sure it can sustain its services and funding, said Jennifer Helgeson, the CEO and president.

“Finances are going to be the largest key factor in that in making sure we not only support and get this up and going from the beginning, but again that we have the community’s support long-term,” she said.

It costs around $300,000 to fund each club and Kentuckiana wants to make sure the community supports the decision to merge, said Helgeson. There has previously been confusion regarding what clubs offer what services and some of the public is unaware that Salvation Army and Kentuckiana are two separate organizations, she said.

“Some individuals donate to a specific club and other individuals donate to the agency,” she said.

Helgeson couldn’t say when a decision might be reached, but both parties are taking steps to ensure a smooth transition should it happen, she said.

Local News

Donations, Volunteers Decline For Salvation Army

The Salvation Army went into their holiday fundraising campaign with an optimistic goal of 500 thousand dollars from the Louisville area. That would be an 18 thousand-dollar increase over last year.

But that optimism hasn’t matched up with reality this holiday season.

Donations are down this year for the Salvation Army. And the major issue isn’t so much a lack of generosity from the donors who pass by the Salvation Army’s red kettles and bell ringers. A bigger problem is a lack of bell ringers. The Salvation Army organizes volunteers into shifts at each of the 55-kettle locations in the Louisville area. According to Salvation Army Major Keath Biggers, more than a few shifts have gone unfilled:

“I would say three to four hundred shifts less than last year being covered, which a shift being a three-hour period during the day,” he says.

The holiday season is when the Salvation Army raises most of the money that it uses to operate throughout the year. That money goes to pay for food and shelter for the homeless among other programs.

The Salvation Army is still accepting volunteers through its website.

Local News

Salvation Army Short On Volunteers

Local Salvation Army officials say they are in desperate need of bell-ringers for this year’s red kettle fundraising campaign.

The campaign began on November 1st. Major Keath Biggers says 171 volunteers have signed up to stand with the kettles. That’s less than half the number that signed up by this time last year. Biggers says more volunteers are needed to help raise half a million dollars by Christmas Eve. If the money doesn’t come in, he says the Salvation Army will need to rethink its finances.

“We would have to look at other sources of possible revenue that we have not thought of yet, or measures of reducing operations,” he says. “We’re already on a shoestring budget and have been for the last three years.”

Last year’s fundraising goal was also half a million dollars. Biggers says they raised 482 thousand. That’s one hundred thousand dollars above the previous year’s total.

To help bring in more money, the Salvation Army has expanded its capacity to accept donations, through text messages. Also, many kettles in Louisville will have credit card scanners on them.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make it easier, but we’re also in desperate, desperate need this year of volunteers,” says Biggers.

Local News

Salvation Army Operates 'Cooling Centers' For Those Without A/C

by Stephanie Crosby

Louisville area social service agencies are opening their doors to help residents escape dangerous summer heat this week. The Louisville Area Command of the Salvation Army has opened two cooling centers, in addition to its Center of Hope homeless shelter on Brook Street.

The Center of Hope is operating under a ‘white flag’, meaning that for weather reasons, they won’t turn anyone away. Major Keath Biggers says the other cooling centers are open during the most dangerous part of the day.

“We’ll be open from one to three throughout the week for individuals and families that need to cool off and come inside an air conditioned environment and have something cool to drink,” says Biggers.

The afternoon cooling centers are located at the Salvation Army’s Portland Corps on North 28th Street and the South Louisville Corps on Beecher Street. Biggers says they’ll both be open every day this week, and could be open next week as well.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Louisville Group to Help Haitians with Potable Water

Members of a Louisville organization are heading to Haiti to begin providing potable water to victims of Tuesday’s earthquake. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Louisville-based Edge Outreach plans to work with the Salvation Army to provide water in Haiti.

Bowin Tichenor, who is based in Santo Domingo, is the organization’s regional director for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

“I’m supposed to be headed over with the Salvation Army to assess the situation and prepare for teams coming in next Wednesday to start setting up water purification systems,” he says.

The missionary organization plans to send three teams of six people to Port-au-Prince who will deploy nine purification systems.

Edge Outreach works to provide communities in many parts of the world with potable water. Even before the earthquake, many people had little access to safe drinking water.

“Most people get their water from hand pumps,” Tichenor says. “And after and earthquake, sometimes the water gets mixed and it becomes a witches’ brew of sorts of chemicals and water and sewage.”

Organization Officials say each system it is deploying consists of a 1,000-gallon tank powered by a car battery and solar panels. Organization officials say each system should be able to purify polluted water and serve up to 10,000 people a day.

“If the water doesn’t have chemicals in it, we have a system whereby we can attach our purifier to the hand pump itself,”  Tichenor say, “and purify water directly from the well.”

Providing potable water is crutial in emergencies to prevent disease outbreaks, including cholera and dysentery.