Salvation Army Family Store opens in Lake Charles

Updated: Feb. 19, 2020 at 6:08 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Salvation Army Family Store at 3960 Gerstner Memorial Drive officially opened its doors Wednesday.

“We just have such an influx of homeless in our community and needy in our community,“ said Lt. Leanna Marion, with the Salvation Army. "All of our programs have seen increase in need over this last year and so we knew to help those people better, and to help more people, we needed a financial revenue source, to be able to do that.”

The Salvation Army already has a presence in Lake Charles with its Center of Hope Shelter and Soup Kitchen at 3020 Legion Street.

“The Salvation Army of Lake Charles and this family store, the proceeds after we have paid for the lights of the building and our staff for this building, the proceeds stay local," Lt. Marion said. "It’s going to go directly back into our community.”

Betty Ballard was the first customer of the new store. To her, the Salvation Army means more than just her purchase.

“When I had a house fire in 1989, they’re the only organization in this town that provided me and my children with a bed frame, brand new mattresses, and 80 dollar Walmart gift card for underwear, undergarments and they also provided us four times during the year, five sets of clothes,” Ballard said.

They’re hoping the store will be able to help more families like the Ballards.

“We can help people directly with donations,” Lt. Marion said. “So, if somebody has had a house fire and they need furniture in their new place, and we have furniture, we can just give them that furniture through our social service program, and there’s no red tape, there’s no extra stuff that we have to do to be able to do that as the organization that we are.”

They sell everything from clothes, to furniture, to appliances, all donated by members of the community.

“We accept from donors in our community so that we can give out to the needy in the community," Lt. Marion said. “It’s really community helping community and that’s our goal, that’s our job."

Nearly 30 sales were made within the first hour of the store’s opening. There are new items being added daily. Store hours are from Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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