Although its national headquarters stands at one of Alexandria's most prominent gateways, its strength lies in the initiative of individual volunteers and givers.
The Salvation Army went to its local constituency last week to say 'Thank You' for all they had done in time, effort, and money to support the mission of one of this nation's oldest social welfare and support entities.
"This is the first time we've done this for our core Alexandria donors. And we are doing it to thank them all," said Amy Gregg, director, Division Resource Development, at the reception held at the Quaker Lane home of Van and Jane Hipp. The reception coincided with National Salvation Army Week, May 9-15.
"This evening is an informal time for fellowship and sharing. It gives us the opportunity to express our appreciation to all those who have supported us so well," said Gail L. Cordero, administrative assistant, Alexandria Citadel Corps. "Another primary purpose is to show people how their money is being used and brief them on programs."
This was accomplished by Lt. Col. William Crabson, Divisional Commander, Commonwealth of Virginia and National Capital Area, The Salvation Army. "The range of services in Alexandria is larger than any other community in our region," he told those assembled at the Hipp home.
"There has been an effort for years to give more social responsibility to faith-based organizations but the funding is short. As an example we spent more than $7 million on 9/11 activities throughout the metro area. Half came from this area and half from across the nation," Crabson said.
"Providing shelter to area families is essential. We work as hard as possible to keep people in their own homes. But there are more than 400 families in shelters and transitional housing in the Alexandria area," he added.
"Our ultimate goal is to reach farther to help more people and to get deeper into the community's needs," Crabson stressed. The national office, 615 Slaters Lane, employs approximately 75 people while the local office on Mount Vernon Avenue has a staff of 45, according to Crabson.
"This is one of the most active Citadels in the nation. The community benefits from what we do. But we couldn't do what we do without the community," said Peter T. Straub, past chair and board member, Alexandria Citadel.
"We have real problems to solve 12 months a year. This is not just about bell ringing. Government may be restructuring, but the problems aren't," Straub insisted.
"There aren't enough Mrs. Krocs out there," Straub noted in referring to the late wife of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, who bequeathed millions of dollars to The Salvation Army as one of her favorite charities.
John A. Ronveaux, Advisory Board Chair, Alexandria Citadel, said "We are not only saying thanks to those here tonight but to all those across the community."
It was noted that there are approximately 200 top donors in the Alexandria community who have given upwards of $500 over the past one and one half years to The Salvation Army.
Ronveaux presented the Hipps with a basket of flowers for opening their home for the event. Van Hipp is also member of the local Advisory Board.
The Alexandria Citadel Corps, Salvation Army, is located at 1804 Mt. Vernon Ave. For further information call 703-836-2427 or on the web at www.salvationarmyusa.org.