Salvation Army getting ready for 2018 Toys for Tots drive

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The local branch of The Salvation Army is already gearing up for this year’s Toys for Tots drive, with registration beginning next week.

On Tuesday, representatives from the local branch of The Salvation Army updated the LaGrange City Council on some of the changes that were recently made to the Troup County Salvation Army organization and projects that the organization is working on, including the annual toy drive.

“One of the things that we are most excited for here is the annual Toys for Tots event,” said Lisa Martin, the service center director. “This is coming up in December, and next week is our intake day.”

Intake days are when local parents requiring assistance can register to be the beneficiaries of the annual Toys for Tots drive, which ensures that local children in need will still have a merry Christmas. Applications will be taken in LaGrange Oct. 3 through 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 202 Church Street and in West Point on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Virginia Cook Activity Center.

“Parents can come and fill out these forms and the children will have some wonderful gifts,” Martin said. “Again, Beechwood [Furniture] has kindly volunteered use of their space for us in December.”

Martin also outlined some of the changes at the local Salvation Army location. The biggest change is a shift in management styles which will mean Martin, The Salvation Army service center director who took over operations in May, will remain at this location for longer than past captains. It also means she might be able to implement long-term plans for the Salvation Army in Troup County.

“We’ve recently transitioned from a corps operated thrift store to a director managed, family store and service center offering social services, assistance to the residents of Troup County,” Martin said. “Going forward, it is our belief that this will benefit the area a lot more.”

According to Martin, since she arrived in May, the local branch of The Salvation Army has provided $5,215.61 in clothing, food and financial assistance directly to families in Troup County.

Additionally, she said the location provided donations of children’s books to Troup Bell, nine cases of food and six barrels of vegetables to Ark Ministries and toys to a local police department.

She also plans to deliver a motivational speech to men in transitional housing this week, and Martin said she hopes to work with other local groups and make long-term plans.

Those long-term plans can be difficult to follow through on, according to Martin, when a location is under new leadership every few years.

“Things get proposed and never come to fruition because someone new has come along, so to better assist Troup County, it was decided that there would no longer be a corps,” Martin said.

“There would now just be a service center… Now we are made up with a board with local residents as well, so everything that is being done is really and truly done for the community.”

Board representatives in attendance said they had high hopes for the organization under Martin’s leadership.

“Lisa has a wealth of experience with The Salvation Army, and if you want to see a store that is transitioned from just the basics to a very nice retail store, walk across the street and have a look inside at what she has done to that facility,” said Bill Young, a broker with Coldwell Banker Spinks Brown Durand Realtors who spoke with the group from the Salvation Army.

West Point Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Thornton and former LaGrange City Council Member Norma Tucker also attended the meeting on behalf of The Salvation Army. No action was requested of the LaGrange City Council during the meeting.