The Salvation Army has historically been known as the place to go if you are in need of help. In the Alberni Valley, they administer the food bank, provide overflow shelter during severe weather, run a thrift store and even a recycling program that brings in some of the monies used to help people who are down on their luck.
But now the Salvation Army is in need of help.
Residents living near the Fifth Avenue property are tired of the after-hours dumping, the loitering and vandalism. So is Major Bruce Mac Kenzie, charged with running Port Alberni’s Salvation Army branch.
He is out of funding, and out of ideas on how to deal with the problem without that funding. He has gone so far as to give his phone number to neighbours and ask them to call him when the dumping is occuring, so he can deal with it personally. He makes his own patrols of the area because he cannot afford security cameras.
He understands the neighbours’ concerns.
These people who are leaving items after hours are not ‘donating’, they are dumping trash. It’s illegal, and unfortunately the Salvation Army is having to absorb the consequences.
This dumping shows a lack of respect to the Salvation Army, to all its hard work and to the building itself.
There are changes happening uptown, with businesses painting their buildings and encouraging others to do the same—look at the Paint the Paramount project as an example.
Perhaps it’s time the community turns its focus on the Salvation Army, to bring some pride to the area.
— Alberni Valley News