The Salvation Army lost a majority of their facilities to water damage, including the chapel, offices and classrooms.
Now, six months later, the organization is in a rebuilding phase. Upon entering the building, it almost looks like a construction zone.
There will be some changes made once the project is all said and done. Depending on how well the kettle bell ringing project goes, there may be a commercial soup kitchen built within the remodeled facility.
Hopefully, in the kitchen, there will be a hatch that will be opened when food is prepared, and people will be able to stand in line to get their food.
“The Salvation Army recognizes the need for a soup kitchen in Middlesboro,” Captain Adrian Twinney of the Salvation Army said.
A soup kitchen would mean that the needy citizen of Bell County would be able to “come in and have a cooked meal instead of going hungry.”
Twinney also stated that if the soup kitchen does open then it would work in conjunction with their after-school program. The kids would be able to come in and eat more than just snacks, they could have a square meal.
“No child can learn when they are going hungry,” stated Twinney. “It’s a true fact that we have children who are going into school having breakfast and lunch, and once lunch is over wiping their finger over their plate because they know the next meal they are going to get is breakfast at school the next day.”
The dining room is also going to be a bit larger than before. “As you can see, we can easily fit 100 people in here,” said Twinney during a tour of the construction.
There is talk about the re-establishment of the youth center after all the renovations are complete. Currently, the building to the left of the office building is used for worship, congregation, and where bell ringers meet. After renovation, the room is planned to be used as a youth center.
There would be games available for the kids in the youth center, as well as a pool table.
There was originally a youth center in Middlesboro, but it was closed four years ago in 2007.
The Salvation Army believes it is important to have a youth center, so kids can have a place to go. One thing that worries Twinney is the talk of after-school money being focused more on regular school activity.
This is something that is being looked at on a federal level, according to Twinney. “That puts all after-school activity in danger,” said Twinney.
“The worst two hours of the day are the two hours after the school closes,” stated Twinney. “That is when deviant behavior is worst.”
The children’s center will allow kids to have a place to go and focus their energy on something other than deviant behavior.
There will also be a new arrangement for the classrooms. The classrooms will be set up so that the Sunday School superintendent can watch all the classrooms at once. This will be done for risk management.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.