LAKESIDE — “The White Mountain Salvation Army Outpost needs good, committed people that can help us raise money for local programs,” says coordinator and case manager Maria Stokes. “We work for this community. That’s why I got into this — to help people here.”
The Salvation Army’s White Mountain Outpost, like many outposts across the southwest, suffered budget cuts requiring them to downsize. They no longer have a church, a youth room or Pastor Dave Sherman who served the White Mountain Outpost with wife, Tina, for close to 20 years. Both retired this year but remain on the board.
Fortunately, the organization recognized the need to maintain services in Navajo and Apache counties which was good news but required a move in addition to the loss of staff.
This May, the Salvation Army moved from Kay Street to 5658 Hwy 260, Suite 6 in Lakeside in the Wagon Wheel Plaza. It’s a more centralized location for White Mountain residents and things are going well.
As a not for profit, 501(3)© organization, they serve Pinetop-Lakeside and the surrounding White Mountain communities.
Stokes is the new coordinator, case manager and wears more hats than you’ll find in a Halloween costume shop. She is bursting with energy and the desire to accomplish big goals in small towns – right here in the White Mountains.
“The most important message,” stresses Maria “is that we are still here and still active. Our programs include temporary housing assistance, bus passes, utility assistance, a food pantry and much more. We have the same phone number and the same P.O. box although our information has not yet been updated on Google.”
Currently, Maria is looking for bell ringers in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. “Every year we lose some bell ringers so please come join us if you have any interest!” she said. They have 10-12 business locations where bell ringers can stand during specific hours.
The next order of business is gathering non-perishable food items for 100 Thanksgiving food boxes. “We assemble these boxes for local residents in need, specifically families of two or more,” says Maria.
They need help with boxed stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce and other items which can be dropped off at their Wagon Wheel location.
In early November, the Salvation Army will be organizing their Angel Tree program, followed by their Christmas Day Dinner celebration.
Something else to remember, added Stokes is that “the money we raise stays here on the mountain.”
The Salvation Army White Mountain Outpost can be reached at 928-369-9953. Business hours are 10 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1:30-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
You can also follow them on Facebook at Salvation Army White Mountain Outpost. For more information about services, or to find out how to be part of the Red Kettle Campaign or upcoming events, call Maria Stokes at 928-368-9953.