The local Salvation Army is trying hard to increase their presence within the Mount Pleasant community.
Corps Officer Major Owen Thompson Jr., who moved to Mount Pleasant in July with his wife, Susan, to head up the local Salvation Army, said he was impressed with both the town and university.
“It seems like the ideal hometown,” Owen said. “People have been very friendly.”
To meet the needs of the community, Owen said the Salvation Army, located at 1308 Burch St., will need to focus more on fundraising and getting the name of the organization out in the community.
“As a Salvation Army, we’ve got to do a better job of raising money and making sure we budget that properly,” he said.
The Salvation Army is both a charitable and religious organization created to care for the poor and homeless by selling donated cloths and materials.
Owen has been involved with the Salvation Army since 1991, while his wife has been with the organization since she was hired as a receptionist in 1989.
The Thompsons both grew up in Saginaw, an area they have been away from for years now. Until the recent move, the couple has been putting in time with the Salvation Army in Illinois.
“The most important aspect of what I do for the community is to make each person feel like they have value in life,” Susan said.
As the Salvation Army endeavors to help the community, the small business has developed close ties to the community service organization United Way in its attempt to raise money and give back.
“I see the Salvation Army working with other agencies,” Owen said. “I love that concept of United Way. We’re serving our community together.”
Owen’s first encounter with United Way members was during the tailgate outside of Kelly/Shorts Stadium for the CMU football home opener.
“United Way is here to support the agencies,” Owen said in regards to their involvement. “We’re just thrilled to be part of the United Way here in Isabella County.”
Since July, Owen has seen the Salvation Army do numerous things for the community, including sending children to the Salvation Army’s Little Pine Island Camp in the Grand Rapids. Children there are given the opportunity to swim, go fishing, play outdoor sports and experience other outdoor activities they would not otherwise be exposed to.
The organization recently selected 20 children who were in need to receive a donation of $81 from Target to spend on back-to-school supplies. Most children ended up purchasing clothing and shoes, Thompson said.
“It was fun seeing the kids get so excited about preparing to go back to school,” Susan said.