New partnership between Salvation Army, Olathe church addressing ‘toxic charity’

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OLATHE, Kan. — They’re calling it “toxic charity.”

A new partnership between a large Johnson County church and the Salvation Army is meant to help people break the cycle of chronic poverty.

College Church of the Nazarene is now host to the Salvation Army’s first ever outpost. Its leaders said it’s much more than the average community food pantry.

Troy Snyder, one of the church`s pastors, said clients can get the usual bag of food per month here. But there’s also an emphasis on helping people better themselves rather than to live in perpetual poverty.

A sense of wonder, and a cheer of celebration, arose  Wednesday morning when the outpost cut its ribbon and opened for business for the first time.

Snyder said this is the Salvation Army’s first pantry not located on one of the nonprofit’s permanent campuses, and the church had been seeking methods of helping the community in a stronger capacity.

“It looks different for different people. Some people just need help filling their food pantry in their own home, and we can contribute to that,” Snyder said. “We decided the Salvation Army really did it better than anyone else.”

The church, according to Snyder, will provide volunteers and donated food, as well as the usual cleaning and sanitary products. The Salvation Army’s network of case workers will be connected to the outpost, where clients in need can receive counseling and budget planning.

Salvation Army Lt. Heidi Strand, who helps operate the nonprofit’s Olathe branch, said that support is meant to help people in need to find their footing in life.

“The people who come through college church can use those case managers. They can receive budgeting classes. If there’s a homeless family, we can put them in our lodge and work with them,” Strand told FOX4 News.

Strand said this method will allow the Salvation Army to address each client`s deeper needs and encourage everyone to seek more than free food.

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