Volunteers give Kentucky corps a top-to-bottom makeover
By: David Ibata
Some 250 volunteers from GE Appliances in Kentucky completed what one Salvation Army officer estimated was four months of work in just a couple of weeks as a community service project for the Portland Corps of the Louisville Area Command.
“That’s maybe four years of work, for the landscaping,” said Major Pamela Moretz, Portland Corps officer. “It was fantastic to see them all working like busy bees. I feel like we’re able to meet the needs of the community in a greater way.”
Members of GE’s Appliances team handled construction, painting, updated landscaping and the installation of new appliances, with two weeks of effort and two intensive work days May 18 and May 25. It was the first significant upgrade of the Portland Community Center in more than 30 years.
“What we’re doing is revamping The Salvation Army’s Portland site,” said Ashley Brown, GE Appliances spokeswoman. “We’re really excited about it. It’s local, it’s in our community, and we’re feeling we’re really giving back to our local area – that’s why we’re here.”
One renovation updated the center’s technology.
“We really were living in the dinosaur age with some things,” Major Moretz said. “Now, the community will be able to come and do their homework (on computers) with the children. We’ll offer a program where seniors can come and learn how to use computers.”
Other work included converting a classroom to a food pantry to better serve food-insecure residents of the area; building a roof over the playground; pouring new concrete floors; and installing a virtually new kitchen with new countertops, cabinetry hardware and a GE oven, dishwasher and food disposer. A rededication of the corps is planned later this summer.
The Salvation Army has served the Portland neighborhood west of downtown Louisville since 1897. Nearly half of the area’s residents live below the poverty line. The community center, located at 306 N. 28th St. since 1963, provides meals, rent and utility assistance, child care, educational and rec programs, senior citizen support and traditional church services.
“We’ll have something for everybody in the family – just come check us out,” Major Moretz said.