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Salvation Army extends lifeline after fire

By: Kristine Guerra Journal Correspondent
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About a month after the 49 Fire, the Salvation Army of Auburn is busier than ever. Since the fire, the Salvation Army has been providing clothing, food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, furniture and one- to two-month rent deposits to fire survivors, said Michelle Talbott, social service director at the Salvation Army Center for Worship and Service. The Salvation Army is currently working on 45 cases of recovery work. Fire survivor Glenda Hoffman said her family would’ve been homeless if it wasn’t for the Salvation Army. “We were scared. We didn’t have rental insurance,” Hoffman said. “We lost everything and we’re too old to be homeless.” Hoffman said she and long-time boyfriend David Sutcliffe turned to the Salvation Army for help after their landlord, from whom they’ve been renting a house for 10 years, refused to let them stay in his apartment because they’re not married. The Salvation Army, together with the Red Cross, paid for the couple’s apartment rent and deposit. “They helped us out a lot,” Hoffman said. “We don’t have to pay rent until November, and they’re also helping us out with food.” Talbott said Auburn Salvation Army fire victims’ assistance efforts could continue through the next year. “We’re looking at probably at least up to a year or so of recovery efforts,” Talbott said. “We’re also providing emotional and spiritual care. Under that component is listening to their stories because they’re traumatized, and we’ll continue to check on them.” Talbott said they’ve also been receiving donations from Auburn residents. “People are calling in and letting us know they have furniture and clothing they want to give,” Talbott said. “We connect them to the survivors they can help.” The Center for Worship and Service is working with the Salvation Army Family Store, which warehouses the rest of the donations received from residents. Survivors who come to the center are given vouchers that they can bring to the store to claim donations for free, Talbott said. “The heart of the Army is just to help,” Talbott said. “We would never expect anybody to pay us.” The Salvation Army is providing fire survivors with $50 to $100 gift cards, which they can use to buy supplies that are not available at the thrift store, Talbott said. Currently, the Salvation Army has 18 to 20 social services volunteers, 20 advisory board volunteers and 30 women’s ministry volunteers. “They’re the army behind the Army,” Talbott said. Hoffman said she’s known Army volunteers for many years. “They’re wonderful, beautiful people,” Hoffman said. “I was crying like a baby and I had to give everybody a hug and a kiss just to thank them. They kept us here in town.” ---------------------- The Salvation Army’s 2nd annual celebration breakfast to honor volunteers Where: Ridge Golf Club, 2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn When: 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 ----------------------------- How you can help • Provide financial help • Provide food and/or gently used clothing • Volunteer • Ring bells at Christmas Contact info Salvation Army Center for Worship & Service 286 Sutter St., Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 889-3990 Salvation Army Family Store 510 High St., Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 823-3546