When Captains Darren and Danette Woods arrived in Saint John last summer, they were struck by the large number of kids living in the Crescent Valley community. Crescent Valley hosts a significant population of newcomers and their families, and is considered to be a priority neighbourhood for new and on-going social programs. Knowing they were in a position to help, the Woods decided to take action.
The Crescent Valley Resource Centre (CVRC), a local non-profit charity that works to improve community living standards, the CV Tenants Association, and the Department of Social Development encouraged The Salvation Army to set up shop in the community. The location of the new satellite office offers Crescent Valley residents better access to much needed programs and services.
“We are building relationships in this great community by reaching out to Syrian refugees settling here, with the help of Arabic interpreters,” says Darren.
The Salvation Army Community and Family Services satellite office opened on March 3rd, and offers the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Friday for children, youth, individuals, and families. Since opening, a number of programs have become available to the community. On Saturday morning, a pancake breakfast is served outside of the CV Tenants Association via The Salvation Army mobile kitchen. 'The Coffee Club,' a senior friendship group, was also started and sees over 35 people attending per week. Seeing a need for child-centred service, a breakfast and lunch program were started and now feeds up to 250 kids in the morning and 50 kids at lunch.
“This satellite office means we have gone from no presence in this neighbourhood to having a regular presence every Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” says Darren. “We also hope to introduce more children and youth programs, as well as Sunday evening services.”
(Photo: Col. Jim Champ helps serve up pancakes at the Saturday morning breakfast.)