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The Salvation Army, an International movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
The Salvation Army first established its presence in Portage County in the mid 1940's. Marie Miller, one of Ravenna's own, was one of the first to help in establishing the Army in Portage County. She continues to serve today as an active member of the Advisory Board.
In 1945 the Salvation Army opened Service Centers throughout Portage County to meet the physical needs of residents. Volunteers staffed these Service Centers with The Salvation Army's Divisional Office in Cleveland overseeing these centers. Services offered in these Service Centers included rent, utilities, food and prescription assistance.
In 1989, the Service Centers in Streetsboro, Aurora, Garrettsville, Windham, Hiram, Mantua, Ravenna and Kent were merged into one countywide office located in Ravenna. The Army started to provide Christmas baskets & toys for children, back to school supplies and the start of the 'Shoes on my Feet' program.
In September of 1995 the Salvation Army sent Major Jean Manhollan , a senior field officer with over 44 years of service with the Salvation Army, to assess the social welfare and program needs of the area. The need was seen to expand from a purely social service agency office to a Corps Community Center. This brought the ability of the Army to provide for the spiritual needs of residents as well as their physical needs. With this change came the need to move to a larger facility.
In August 1996 the Army moved to 431 Beecher Street. With that move came a leadership change. Envoy Dave and Darlene Harvey. The Harveys began to expand the Army's ministries in the community to include Sunday School and Morning Worship Services, Adult Bible Studies, Women's Ministry programs, Boys' Adventure Corps Programs and Girls' Sunbeam Program. The work flourished under their leadership for the next two years. Suddenly and sadly in November 1998, Envoy Dave Harvey died or as we in the Army state - Envoy Dave was Promoted to Glory. Darlene continued on in her husband's absence.
In June of 1999 Captain Michele Barrow was appointed to continue the work of The Salvation Army in Portage County. Captain Barrow came to Ravenna with eight years of experience working with the Army not only in various areas of the United States but having served in the Soviet Union. It was under Captain Barrow's leadership that the current church building we are located at 268 W. Main Street was acquired. Captain Michele also saw the need for an after school tutoring program. This led to the development of Learning Centers that are currently located in two of the Ravenna elementary schools. At the end of June 2002, Michele Barrow Goans took a position with the Salvation Army in Fairbanks Alaska with her husband Ed.
After ministering in the inner city of East Akron Ohio for 10 years, Major Marie Edinger and Major Jacki Blanchard were appointed to this Corps (Church) in July. They come with a combined 34 years of service as Pastors/Commanding Officers.
The Salvation Army is grateful for the continued financial support of Portage County residents who enable the Army to reach out and help so many in need in our communities throughout Portage County. We are thankful for the hundreds of volunteer hours that are given by so many. We value the service of our Advisory Board and the excellent work of our office staff. We also have a food pantry located in Windham.
- MARIE EDINGER
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