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Community support rallies Lodi’s capital campaign

by Kista Noonan – 

DEA BERBERIAN presents the goal-reaching $291,000 check to Capt. Susan Severs. Also pictured: Major Guy Hawk, Jack Sieglock, Pat Patrick, Annette Murdaca and Natalia Orfanos.

Community support paved the way for a successful capital campaign for the Lodi, Calif. corps.

Their goal was to raise $1.5 million to build a new shelter for homeless men, women and children. The community rallied around the cause and helped the corps reach their goal: the new Hope Harbor Family Service Center will be opening in early 2004.

The campaign, coordinated by the Waters, Pelton Organization, could not have been a success without the tremendous support of the community. Contributions came from large corporations such as the City of Lodi, General Mills, Farmers and Merchants Bank and Lodi Memorial Hospital, as well as a grant from the United Way. Many individuals also made pledges to support the campaign, including a $300,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

In addition to the community’s support, Captain Frank Severs, Lodi corps officer, stated: “We were fortunate to receive outstanding support and encouragement from the Del Oro Divisional Headquarters, including Major Eda Hokom, Captains Douglas Riley and Jeanne Stromberg, David Bentley, and the rest of the Del Oro divisional team.

In April, the capital campaign received a surprise donation from Alex G. Spanos, a multi-millionaire financier, philanthropist and developer. In late-April, Spanos read an article in The Stockton Record about The Salvation Army’s fund drive and the need for a remaining $291,000.

Spanos was so moved by the article and the threat of the Lodi Corps not reaching their goal that he decided to write a personal check on-the-spot. The next day, his daughter, Dea Berberian, and spokeswoman Natalia Orfanos, presented the check to Captain Susan Severs and Annette Murdaca, a Lodi Advisory Board member and chair of the fund drive.

The new Hope Harbor Family Service Center will have 50 beds for men and a separate 25-bed shelter for women and children. The 17,000 square-foot building is triple the size of the old location, and also features a new community kitchen that will be able to feed many more people. In addition, The Lodi Corps serves as the official food bank for Northern San Joaquin County, so 5,000 square feet of the new building will be completely dedicated for this purpose.

“The Lodi Corps, under the guidance of Captains Frank and Susan Severs and a focused corps leadership team, exemplifies the best of The Salvation Army’s unique ministry style,” said Divisional Commander Major Eda Hokom. “General Booth would be proud. The ministry of the corps is vibrant, inclusive, and changing people’s lives. I believe that God has even greater blessings waiting for Lodi.”

According to Captain Frank Severs, “The Lodi Corps mission team is excited about serving, growing and expanding our ability to serve the needs of suffering humanity, bringing people to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and equipping God’s people for worship, spiritual growth, and service.”

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