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Salvation Army is in midst of massive relocation effort in Oklahoma City

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command is moving from downtown Oklahoma City to its new headquarters at NW 10 and Pennsylvania Avenue.
by Carla Hinton Modified: July 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: July 28, 2014
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Boxes filled with the iconic red kettles and other items line the hallways and fill a warehouse.

A Baptist disaster relief team has set up a temporary mobile feeding kitchen.

The back of the chapel altar has been turned into a temporary social service office.

The signs are all there: The Salvation Army is on the move.

Leaders with the faith-based nonprofit, 311 SW 5, have been dreaming of this moment for years. A $15 million capital campaign to build new headquarters for the organization is coming to fruition with the planned September opening of the Salvation Army Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope.

All that’s left is a relocation effort that has involved multiple strategy sessions, an extensive, ever evolving “to do” list, help from social service partners and lots of prayer.

Essentially it’s moving day on steroids.

“We’re moving a whole city block,” said Capt. Carlyle Gargis, commander of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command.

“I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s exciting, but it’s also kind of scary at the same time.”

Services to continue

Moving typically brings with it a set of basics: You box up your entire house, you move it to a new location or you hire someone to do it for you. Then, you congratulate yourself on the whole effort with a couple of boxes of pizza.

For Gargis and other leaders with the local Salvation Army, moving isn’t quite so simple — although it does involve food in a way.

First, 100 plastic totes (for starters) were given to the organization by a relocation company to be joined with a multitude of boxes already filled with items.

Jeff Lara, the nonprofit’s director of operations, said each department head has been tasked with making sure their department is packed and ready to go in August when the current headquarters are to be moved to the new Center of Hope.

As Gargis said, the current headquarters take up a city block, with offices, a food pantry, homeless shelter and a warehouse all in an assortment of buildings generally bounded by Hudson and Harvey avenues and SW 4 and SW 5 in downtown Oklahoma City.

Gargis said they are moving from about 50,000 square feet of building space to a headquarters with the same amount of space.

The difference is: All of the agency’s services will be housed under one roof, and the new center will offer a “better management of space.”

Lara said they must relocate the organization’s kitchen, shelter, administrative offices, warehouse and computer services.

“We offer programs for youths to senior citizens,” he said.

“And everything in between,” Gargis added.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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How to help

Leaders with The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command said the organization’s capital campaign to raise $15 million for its new Center of Hope headquarters is $2 million shy of reaching its goal. To help with the project, send donations to P.O. Box 2905, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-2095, call 246-1100 or go to www.salvationarmyokcac.org

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