The Salvation Army of Topeka to expand youth programs in Topeka
The Salvation Army understands the importance of programming for children in low-income areas; especially children at-risk. For over 13 years, The Salvation Army has served the eastside of Topeka through its child care center and is now expanding its programming to serve more children and families. “We have been limited as to the services we can provide to children and families due to the cost of running a child care center. We are limited by licensing restrictions, low enrollment numbers and lack of funding resources available,” states Major Brian Burkett, corps officer of The Salvation Army. “By closing the child care center, we can focus on new and expanded programming that will encompass more ages and serve more children”
Child Care Closing
The Salvation Army cites the reasons for closing to include low enrollment plus the loss of major funding resources in the community over the past five years as the factors that have kept the child care center running in the red. It has caused a deficit in spending each year for this program area of The Salvation Army. “It is not good stewardship of public and private funding to continue this trend, so it is the decision of the local Salvation Army leadership – both Advisory Board and Corps (church) Council — to close the program, and to refocus our efforts on other more programs like summer day camp and community center programs,” states Major Brian Burkett.
The Salvation Army will close the child care center effective Friday, May 30th and has notified staff and parents. It will use community resources like Child Care Aware and the local Health Department’s Child Care Licensing to help parents find child care. The staff will receive severance pay according to years of service.
New Children’s Programming
The Salvation Army will host a low-cost Summer Day Camp program for children ages 5 – 10 Mondays – Thursdays starting June 2nd – July 10th from 9 am – 12 noon. The cost is $5 per child per week and registration is required by calling 785-233-9648. Breakfast will be being served starting at 8:15 am and lunch at 12:00 noon. This Christian-oriented program includes lessons on building healthy bodies and community, arts and crafts, and local field trips.
The Salvation Army will also partner with the Topeka Public School District #501 as a site for the KSDE Summer Food Service Program. Topeka Public Schools is an equal opportunity provider. Breakfast and lunch will be served free of charge to children 18 and under. There will be both mobile feeding and on-site feeding beginning the last day of school in in May until the day before school starts again in August.
The days, location and times will include:
Salvation Army (1320 SE 6th St, Topeka) site
June 2 – July 10
Monday through Thursday
Breakfast 8:15 – 9:00 a.m.
Lunch 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Salvation Army Mobile (parking lot) site at 1320 SE 6th St, Topeka
July 14-August 12
Monday through Friday
Lunch ONLY 12:00 – 12:30 pm
Central Park Community Center Mobile (parking lot at 1534 Clay) site
July 21-August 12
Monday through Friday
Lunch ONLY 11:15-11:45 am
The Salvation Army has begun a community needs study to add new community center program at its current location of 1320 SE 6th St. Topeka. The Salvation Army is traditionally known for its community center programs that not only encompass programming for children, but senior citizens and other vulnerable adults. Ideas for the expansion of a community center program would include English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, computer trainings, sports programs and gymnasium programs. The current building is being assessed for capital improvements to include a standard size basketball court, outdoor soccer field and multi-purpose space.
Existing Services Continue
The Salvation Army’s existing social service programs will continue. These services are for those in need in our community and throughout Shawnee County. They include:
Free community meal, Monday-Friday at 4 pm (until May 16th)
Free community meal, Summer Hours only, Monday-Thursday at 4 pm
Food Pantry, Tuesday & Wednesdays, 9 am – 12 noon & 1 – 4 pm
Rent/utility assistance by appointment (Call 785-233-9648 ext. 303)
All other assistance by phone call (785-233-9648 ext. 303)
INTERVIEWS Available with the following individuals
- Major Brian Burkett, corps officer, The Salvation Army, 785-554-9358 (cell)