Expansion in King County expected to double reach
Nearly 50 percent of area kids receive free or reduced lunches at school
By Lora Marini Baker –
In response to increased economic challenges of working families in east King County, Washington, The Salvation Army recently expanded its facilities and services in the area.
A new 17,000-square-foot building in Bellevue includes a food pantry, fellowship hall, commercial kitchen, gymnasium, classrooms, chapel, and several offices for meeting with families who need assistance. The new structure will serve families in need throughout east King County, but is expected to have most impact on families in the Crossroads neighborhood.
“The original space was intended to be our home for five years, so we outgrew that building a long time ago,” said Lt. David Aycock, who was appointed last summer as corps officer of the Eastside Corps with his wife, Joleen.
Construction on the $8.5 million project began in January 2016 and ended in early November 2016. The new facilities replaces a temporary, modular building that was home of the organization for ten years.
“During the construction period, some of our services were on hiatus, including the after-school homework center, computer lab, and music lessons for kids and teens,” said David Aycock said. “We were able to continue our nightly community suppers at a temporary location during construction, but we’re happy to be hosting in our own building again.”
Last year, The Salvation Army in east King County served 17,000 people through community supper; rent and utility bill assistance; summer camps for kids; grocery bags; personal hygiene kits for the homeless; infant diaper and formula distribution; Thanksgiving and Christmas meals; and gifts for kids and seniors at Christmas. With increased space and services, Lts. Aycock expect to double the amount of people served throughout Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, and parts of Bothell. The corps’ location in Crossroads is vital, as nearly 50 percent of kids in the area receive free or reduced lunches at school, according to the Bellevue School District.
“We know the importance of The Salvation Army in the Crossroads area of Bellevue,” said Mike Holmgren, one of the project’s donors and longtime supporter of The Salvation Army. “We see the need of hard-working families here, and how they struggle to make ends meet. This new facility will be a respite for them, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”