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Empire cleans up with $2M donation

When a donor offered the Salvation Army’s Empire State Division paper products and cleaning supplies valued at $2 million, Major Leo Lloyd thought the caller was kidding.

Nonetheless, the donor, who asked to remain anonymous, provided an abundance of liquid soap, toilet paper, paper plates, cleaners, sanitizing wipes, napkins, and paper towels.

“I thought, this is stuff that every corps could use,” said Lloyd, the corps officer in Glens Falls, N.Y.

The goods were trucked to Salvation Army centers across the Empire State Division in upstate New York. Cities included Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, Cortland, Elmira, Glens Falls, Ithaca, Jamestown, Lockport, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Watertown.

The donor also allowed The Salvation Army to give some of the goods to other local nonprofit organizations.

“It’s going to help all the corps, but also all of the communities we’re in,” said Sarah Miller–Locke, the Empire State Division’s director of advancement. “It is allowing us to help other organizations throughout our entire division. It’s not just for The Salvation Army. We’re sharing it with our friends and neighbors and other nonprofits that serve different constituencies than we do.”


Put to good use

For example, Lloyd said the corps in Glens Falls received three tractor-trailer loads of products that filled 80 pallets.

“We were able to share that with all the nonprofits in town who do a similar type of ministry,” Lloyd said. “I think what it means is a huge cost-savings and a lot of good will between The Salvation Army and a lot of nonprofits.”

Linda Wright, the division’s director of social services, said Empire has 16 different housing programs that will benefit from the donation.

“We are a division that has a lot of housing programs,” she said. “One of our ongoing financial challenges is having enough supplies, and personal hygiene kinds of things. This donation will have a direct impact on our operations because it’s things we have to purchase every day with our limited resources.”

Wright said the products would also help with feeding programs and soup kitchens, which have switched to disposable paper products instead of dishes due to COVID-19.

The ability to also donate to other nonprofits “builds our community relationships and our community trust and partnerships for today and our future planning,” Wright said.

Since COVID-19 began, the Salvation Army’s Empire State Division has helped nearly 700,000 people.

“This colossal donation is the catalyst for The Salvation Army to be able to continue meeting the needs of those in the communities we serve across the Empire State Division,” said Major Ivan Rock, divisional commander. “The effects of COVID-19 are still a major challenge, and this donation will help thousands get back to a normal life.”

by Robert Mitchell

The paper products and cleaning supplies are being distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Individuals and agencies in need of these items should contact their local Salvation Army.