Women of the West partner with Alaska

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Alaska receives funds through annual Women’s Ministries project.

by Rose-Marie Leslie – 

The Women’s Ministries Department, on behalf of the women of the USA Western Territory, recently sent $31,350 to the Alaska Division through its annual territorial project.

The Alaska Division was selected to receive this support because of the financial challenges to the Army in maintaining programs and services in the remote villages and towns of Alaska. Most of the Southeast Alaska corps are located on islands with populations anywhere from 400 to 2,000. In the last decade or so, canneries and lumber mills that were once the mainstay for ongoing employment were shut down. Long-time residents have had to leave their villages and towns in pursuit of a better life, and those who stay engage in personal fundraising to make a living.

Commissioner Pat Swyers states: “Having visited many of the areas of Alaska and toured the different facilities, I am sure that these funds will be of great benefit to the people who depend upon The Salvation Army for shelter, comfort, and opportunities for change.

Our Women’s Ministries members are most generous with their time and monies and continue to be actively involved not only in their own communities, but in areas near or far where there are needs. We are both thankful and proud of all who supported this important project and know that God will bless and multiply its use to the people of Alaska.”

In addition to corps, the Army serves the state of Alaska through its alcohol and drug rehabilitation, senior feeding, shelter and housing, and youth residential programs. Villagers desiring to use any of these Army programs must be flown to Anchorage, away from family and support systems. Family visits are rare because of great distances, limited travel options, and remoteness, adding further stress on the families.

The money raised through the Women’s Ministries territorial project is for two purposes: First, to develop cottage industries to aid in generating year-round revenue for corps. Sewing machines, sergers and embroidery machines have been bought to make native blankets, children’s clothes, and T-shirts for sale to tourists and in corps’ thrift stores. Large deep fryers to cook the ever-popular Alaska fry bread, large rice cookers, and a Kitchen Aid mixer will make food for sale on a regular basis and at special events.

The second purpose is to provide scholarships to camp and special events for the youth of the 13 corps of the division who must travel by air to attend divisional events.

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