The Bridgewater Salvation Army Family & Community Services does incredible things for our communities that many people may not be aware of!
The Salvation Army is a Christian organization that gives hope and support to more than 1.9 million people each year, in 400 communities across Canada, through their Family & Community Services.
Officers, Major Miriam Leslie and Tim Leslie arrived in Bridgewater last August, replacing Major Wilson and Darlene Sutton, who took up a new appointment in Yarmouth. The Majors’ story together began in 1981 when they met in Toronto at the Salvation Army Training College. Tim was sent to Bridgewater after being ordained in 1983, and Miriam started her ministry in Liverpool. A few months later they married and have since spent a fulfilling career “criss-crossing” Canada, while serving in the Salvation Army family. They served in BC, including the northern Nisga’a village of Gitwinksihlkw, as well as in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario before their last, one-year appointment in Charlottetown, PEI.
How are they settling in, in their new home? “Wonderfully,” says Miriam. COVID restrictions have affected their ability to visit church members as much as they would like, but its pretty nice that there are still a few in the church that they know from the 80’s.
The Salvation Army Family & Community Services does incredible things for our community that many people may not be aware of. Those in Lunenburg County who require assistance with food can call the office at (902) 543-0356 and make an appointment to meet with Major Miriam on Tuesday or Thursday from 1:30-4:00 pm. The service provides grocery vouchers (Max one time/3 months). During this holiday season they are even providing turkeys and gift cards to more than 65 singles, couples without children, and families. The community service can also provide a clothing voucher and may assist with occasional unexpected bills that cause hardship.
The Salvation Army Thrift Store, situated at 215 Dominion Street, offers gently used clothing, knick-knacks and collectibles at affordable prices. “Last year it generated a profit of $30,000, all of it which stays in this area for those in need”, says Tim. Sharilyn Henderson, a 6-year employee loves her job at the store. “It’s a wonderful place to work. The clothing is excellent…it’s beautiful! There are brand names and something for all ages.” She also added that, “We are really particular and make sure that the clothing is in A-1 condition.” The store also has awesome footwear and the Christmas decorations are flying off the shelf! “People are doing Christmas early this year”, says Sharilyn. Donations of items for the store are welcome and can be dropped off on Tuesday and Thursdays, from 10 am-4 pm. The store is open Monday to Friday from 10 am-4:30 pm.
The Christmas Kettle Campaign, the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, is on from November 19-December 24. “We’ve had a tremendous response from volunteers”, says Miriam, “but we are still looking for a few volunteers to fill in the gaps.” (Everyone is welcome and you don’t have to be a member of the Salvation Army.) Shifts are 2 hours and volunteers will be provided a mask to wear. This year’s Christmas Kettle Coordinators are Lynne McDormand and Ella Rafuse. If interested in volunteering call or text Lynn at 902-521-6087.
The organization also provides Christmas Assistance to families, singles and couples. Recipients of this program can receive food baskets (hampers), toys and clothes. There are 115 families in need this year and 80 families are sponsored so far. “People’s generosity has been amazing”, says Miriam. The Lunenburg County YMCA is sponsoring 3 families and there’s a giving tree at Gow’s Home Hardware and another one at the South Shore Centre.
The Home Energy Assistance Top-up Fund (HEAT) is another incredible program that the Salvation Army administers. It helps families manage their home heating costs in a crisis situation. In 2019 this program supported 2450 households in Nova Scotia. HEAT is supported by the Province of Nova Scotia and NS Power. From January to April 2021 applicants can apply for maximum assistance of $400 in home heating support. Application forms can be picked up at your local MLA office or “at cash” at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.
What can the community do to help? Major Miriam said that they always appreciate monetary donations as well as the donation of items for the Thrift Store…and she encourages people to “Shop local!”
Above all, Major Miriam wants to give thanks to the community! We, in return thank you and Major Tim and welcome you both back to our community!
Major Tim and Miriam can be reached at:
Phone: (902) 543-0356