Salvation Army Director Merreann McDonald addresses Rotary

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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Members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club met for their weekly lunch meeting at the Kirbo Center on Tuesday afternoon. The guest speaker of the day was Merreann McDonald, director of the local Salvation Army.

She began her speech by giving a brief overview of the Salvation Army’s history, from the main organization’s founding to its arrival in Bainbridge. She addressed the multiple issues currently facing the community, including poverty, rising home costs, mental health issues and homelessness.

She also discussed the issues many deal with gaining employment. “I know that we all see that there are people hiring, but one of the things that you don’t realize is, if somebody has a felony, it’s really hard to get hired,” McDonald said. “It is difficult in today’s society. You know, there’s been a huge amount of crime, and there’s been a lot of loss for people… We often say there’s plenty of jobs out there, and if you want to work you can work, but it’s really not that simple.”

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McDonald went over the various issues they deal with in helping the community; this includes helping those in need with financial issues, providing food boxes and meals, as well as providing bags of toiletries and hygiene products for the homeless. She stated, “Since October of 2018, the Salvation Army of Bainbridge has served record-breaking numbers, and it really started as a result of the hurricane, and it’s not stopped.”

McDonald also discussed the Army’s various fundraising projects, including the Red Kettle campaign, as well as Project Share, a program with Georgia Power. This program allows Georgia Power customers to add a $5 donation to their monthly bill, a donation that Georgia Power will match.

McDonald stayed afterwards to take questions from the audience. For those interested in volunteering with the Salvation Army, or to learn more about programs like Project Share, visit the Salvation Army website, or contact them at 229-243-7250.