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Changes coming for Tamaqua Salvation Army

The Salvation Army of Tamaqua is transitioning from a corps community center to a service center effective April 5.

Social services such as food, clothing and emergency assistance programs will continue without interruption from the current location at 105 W. Broad St. in Tamaqua. Seasonal and holiday assistance will continue to be available, as will opportunities for children and senior citizens to attend camp.

“The decision to change the way we operate was necessary due to lack of funding to cover the overhead costs associated with daily operations,” said Lt. Col. Larry Ashcraft, divisional commander, The Salvation Army Pennsylvania and Delaware Division.

“Changing to a successful Service Center model allows us to continue serving the Tamaqua community as we’ve done for 135 years, and to do it without worrying how we’re going to pay our staff or keep the lights on.”

The Salvation Army’s Service Center program helps ensure community needs are met by working with volunteers and networking with Eastern Pennsylvania Salvation Army programs.

Over the last year, the Tamaqua location provided food and critical support to more than 350 families and brightened an uncertain Christmas season for 360 children.

Locally, The Salvation Army raised $21,183 in its annual 2020 Red Kettle Campaign. That money will stay in the Tamaqua community and continue to benefit area residents in need who are served by The Salvation Army.

Under the new model, emotional and spiritual care will continue but religious services will no longer be held on Sunday at The Salvation Army’s Tamaqua location. A service commemorating this transition will be held on March 7 at 11 a.m.

“We’re still in the middle of transitioning, I can’t really confirm anything,” said Rebecca Netznik, regional manager, whose Tamaqua services will be under the direction of.

Netznik explained that wherever the Tamaqua location is, it will be orchestrated under a service extension model, which is typically run on-site by volunteers.

“I know the need in the area and I’m excited to be able to work in Tamaqua now and see what we can do to continue to help the people in need there. … I’m dedicated to make sure that we can continue to meet that need.”

Congregants can attend Sunday services at The Salvation Army’s Pottsville location (400 Sanderson St.) or the Hazleton location (56 W. Broad St.).

In Schuylkill County, Service Centers help residents in 44 ZIP codes with active units of dedicated volunteers in Schuylkill Haven, Ashland, and Orwigsburg.

The Tamaqua Corps’ transition to a service enter coincides with the planned retirement of Major Gayle and Captain John Luby who have run the Corps for over a year.

For more information, or to volunteer at The Salvation Army, call 610-698-1904 or email Rebecca.Netznik@use.salvationarmy.org.

In this file photo, Cpt. John Luby packs bags for a food drive at the Tamaqua Salvation Army venue. JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS