Dungys step forward to help Army’s work in Tampa

By: Brad Rowland

With a target date of June 2021, construction is underway for a 39,000-square-foot facility that will serve as a one-stop social services and residential facility for The Salvation Army in Tampa, Florida. The venue, called the Red Shield Center, will operate in a campus-like setting with state-of-the-art amenities. The Salvation Army is partnering with Tony and Lauren Dungy as honorary chairs of an ongoing funding campaign.

Both Tony, a former NFL player and Super Bowl-winning head coach, and Lauren are renowned authors and public speakers, and they shepherd the Dungy Family Foundation. The foundation believes in strengthening, sustaining and empowering communities by providing opportunities for people in need and, importantly for the continuing alliance with The Salvation Army, the Dungy Family Foundation provides support with an aim to glorify God.

“One of the beautiful things is that they are great Christian people, and they have a fantastic Christian witness,” said Captain Andrew Miller, area commander. “They are clear that they love what the Army is doing in the community, but they also have a love for our mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“The Salvation Army of Tampa demonstrates what the love of God can do for a community,” Tony and Lauren Dungy said in a statement. “The Dungy family is proud to stand beside them as they continue to work to end homelessness in Tampa.”

The new center will feature a veteran’s program, recuperative care program, laundry rooms, computer labs, classrooms and a state-of-the-art kitchen equipped to serve up to 250 meals daily for 365 days per year. In addition, the facility includes an emergency shelter and, after an exhaustive study in the community, The Salvation Army is stepping into the gap to provide service that is not currently available elsewhere.

“There is no other emergency shelter for single men and women in Tampa,” Captain Miller said. “This is a distinct niche that we fill locally. That makes us unique here and, if we can offer that effectively, it bridges a gap in the community, and the community needs us to do this.”

A wall-breaking event is scheduled for late August, with the Dungys and the mayor of Tampa set to attend to kick off the construction process in public fashion. While the project is months from completion, The Salvation Army is making tangible inroads in the Tampa community, with the Dungys playing an integral role that supports the overall mission and raises the profile of both the center and the Army as a whole.

“The Dungys are beloved in this community, with Tony being a former coach and their decision to make this community their home,” said Captain Miller. “They are widely known as Christian leaders, they are supportive financially, and they are bringing a level of attention to what we’re trying to do that is significant.”

“Their support is huge for us, in part because it shows the public that we are a trustworthy organization. They are using their platform to bring attention to The Salvation Army’s mission. Their public Christian witness, their public respectability and the way they carry themselves come together to really enable The Salvation Army’s mission in Tampa to move to a new level.”