Walla Walla offers after-school program

Salvation Army barbecue goes on despite theft.

by Joanne Reinikka – 

Despite a theft a week earlier of their barbecue, the Walla Walla, Wash., Service Extension Center of The Salvation Army moved forward with a barbecue lunch recently to welcome youths planning to join a new after-school program.

The Saturday event was coordinated to launch the after-school program to be held Fridays from 3-6 p.m. The group will expand to every weekday in 2007.

The Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center donated not only use of their barbecue grill, but also the services of Chef Evan Murff to cook up the hot dogs and hamburgers. The hotel also sent over fresh salads for the event.

Murff is familiar with Salvation Army programs through his mother, who is a coordinator of a Salvation Army Center in Alabama. “It was great to be able to participate in the event,” Murff said. “They are a great bunch of people.”

According to a spokesperson for The Salvation Army, the youth group is being started to give community children and teens somewhere to go after school, when they are most at risk of getting into trouble.

The barbecue was the kick off for the program and an opportunity for families to see what the youth group will be about. A number of youth have signed up, with parents volunteering to help.

The Salvation Army will offer the after- school program free of charge and plans to offer a meal to the children attending. They are hoping to get some computers and other equipment donated to further enhance the program.

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