By CECILY CUMMINGS — Special to the Sun Herald
GULFPORT — Huge crowds eager for good deals flooded the Salvation Army Family Store on Pass Road as opened its doors Saturday morning.
The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting, food and face painting, airbrush tattoos and balloon animals for the kids.
Salvation Army Maj. Terry Ray, Mississippi Gulf Coast area commander, said people have called consistently in his two years of working here, asking when a new store would open.
When damage from Hurricane Katrina forced Gulfport’s original Salvation Army Family Store to close, the Salvation Army lost a prime source of income to benefit the needy in South Mississippi.
Money the store brings in supports its programs throughout the year.
Ray said in these tough economic times, residents look for ways to affordably support their families, and they trust the Salvation Army to be there to help them.
Many of the customers are faced with unemployment, loss of job hours or eviction notices, and the Salvation Army is able to help them meet their needs.
The long-term plan is to open up a store in each of the six coastal counties.
“We need to open up more stores and serve the communities that can’t afford to drive here,” Ray said.
Danielle Butson, director of Salvation Army Family Stores, said her goal is to branch out and have smaller satellite stores in the other counties. Goods dropped off at the Gulfport store will be divided among the other stores.
She plans to “up the bar on resale,” she said. Just because the customers may not be able to afford to shop at major department stores doesn’t mean they should have to shop at dingy, rundown places.
The new Gulfport store offers a supervised TV and play area to entertain kids while parents shop.
Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/01/05/4388876/crowds-flock-to-new-salvation.html#storylink=cpy
For More Salvation Army News Visit: salvationarmysouth.org