By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
Thanks to a grant, the Salvation Army is considering doubling the capacity of its Red Shield Lodge and resuming its after-school tutoring program.
The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation on Monday awarded $45,000 to the Tupelo non-profit. According to Maj. Sue Dorman, the Army is deciding how best to spend the money.
“We definitely need to expand the lodge,” said Dorman, explaining that the 19-bed facility on Carnation Street has been operating at 98 percent capacity since the weather started getting hot.
Nearly 900 residents slept at least one night in the lodge last year. Most nights all of the beds are taken.
More beds in the lodge will mean expanding the shower and bathroom facilities, including a special space for mothers and small children. The Army will also need to build new storage space.
Dorman and her colleagues are examining blueprints to decide how the expansion might look.
Resuming the after-school tutoring program is a top priority for the Army, but Dorman said the organization will need to purchase at least 20 new computers, and pay no fewer than four staff members.
For more than a decade the Army employed certified teachers to provide academic assistance to struggling students. Last year, due to lack of funding, the Army was forced to discontinue the tutoring program and to put the 15,000-square-foot facility on Douglas Street that housed it up for sale.
Dorman is cautiously hopeful that after Christmas the Army can resume tutoring children at the Carnation Street campus.