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Salvation Army Service Center may relocate in Pahrump

Just days after area residents learned that Pahrump’s Salvation Army Thrift Store at 240 Dahlia St., will cease operations at the end of this month, additional information has emerged regarding its possible future.

The agency, dedicated to helping families and individuals in need of various services, has a second location, at 721 Buol Road, which serves as a service center, where those in need can receive assistance with food and other items of necessity.

Service Center Director Jon Watt said that it’s possible that the Buol Road service center may move to the Dahlia Street location, when all is said and done.

“According to what I have learned recently, we will know whether this facility will move over to the thrift store facility in a few months from now, so it is still a possibility,” he said. “I think right now, there’s a 75 percent chance that we will move from this facility into the thrift store. It’s not my first choice, because I have other things that I would like to do here, but they are looking at economics. They say we can run that facility cheaper because it’s a smaller building.”

Much-needed services

Watt also said that last month, the Buol Road location provided food donations to 191 families and 443 individuals, while noting the importance of the services provided to members of the community.

“The Salvation Army’s social services will still remain in this valley and we are even in the process of looking at how to expand the social services that we offer while staying within our budget,” he said. “We have a food pantry where we give out food two days a week, and we just expanded our hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., but if an individual calls us and says they can’t make it during that time on those days, we will stay open a little bit later to get them here.”

Food items aside, Watt said those in need can also acquire other items of necessity, such as donated clothing, but there are certain protocols to follow.

“Because of issues in the past, the thrift store would take all of the items that were donated into a warehouse in Las Vegas,” he said. “They check it out and make sure it’s good to go, and it is brought back to Pahrump. That is a six-hour round trip because you’ve got two hours up, and two hours back, plus the time in the store gathering things that need to be gathered up. That’s an expense that adds into everything.”

Expensive expenses

Additionally, Watt spoke of other costs associated with the day-to-day operations of running the thrift store.

“You have two full-time employees, and four part-time employees who are all paid, and that is an overhead expense,” he explained. “When you look at that, the money going out, it is not cost-effective to keep that here. The Salvation Army has not said that it would not bring it back if it becomes more cost-effective in the future, but for now, the thrift store costs are just too high. Also, the profits made at the thrift store in Pahrump go to Las Vegas to support the rehabilitation programs, whether it’s drug, alcohol or other things like that.”

One ray of hope in terms of serving the community are donations the agency regularly receives.

“We get food donations from Walmart, and the Three Square organization is also involved,” he said. “They are based in Las Vegas and are part of the Feed America organization. Twice a month, a truck comes in and drops off pallets of food and water. I also personally drive into Las Vegas every week and shop for food. For the month of September, we had 14,677 pounds of food from the Three Square organization, and we also had 7,011 pounds of food from Walmart, which is the food that we give out.”

Possible major renovations

If by chance, the service center on Buol Road moves to the thrift store location on Dahlia Street, Watt noted there will be additional work to be done, other than simply switching locations.

“My boss was talking to the manager and asked how many bathrooms the store had,” Watt said. “The response was just one. He said we would have to build at least three additional bathrooms, which takes away space that I would need to use, plus it’s a major renovation. I’m not at liberty to speak about the condition of the thrift store because I haven’t really looked into anything. I am an electrician, and I know that the building was built when Pahrump really didn’t have any building codes.”

Watt also offered up an important suggestion that he said would help the Salvation Army to continue providing its services to area residents.

“We really need people to provide monetary donations so that we can expand what we are doing,” he said. “We buy the food so that we can feed the people who need it. We take care of veterans, senior citizens, those who are unemployed, and those on SSI disability, so it pretty much covers everybody. We are doing that and we are willing to grow the number of people that we feed on a regular basis.”

Monetary donations needed

Those who are interested in donating, Watt said, need to make sure that the donation destination is for the Pahrump Valley.

“If they send it for Pahrump, then it will be credited here,” he said. “If it comes to me, I take it straight to the bank and it goes into our account directly, so Pahrump residents will still be taken care of. There have been phone calls and there have been people commenting on social media that we are closing down and nobody should donate, but we are here and we are committed.”

Public input requested

Watt also suggested community members contact his boss, Maj. Randy Kinnamon, about the issues surrounding the Pahrump Salvation Army.

“He will entertain any and all emails he receives because he needs more concrete reasons to keep this facility open versus moving to the thrift store,” Watt said. “That would be great if people would do that because he is open to those types of emails.”

Kinnamon’s email address is randy.kinnamon@usw.salvationarmy.org or call the Pahrump Salvation Army at 775-751-6181.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes

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