Dunkirk Salvation Army restructures organization to reduce expenses

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army will be restructuring the Dunkirk Salvation Army to reduce expenses and to continue to provide social services to the community, announced Major Donald Hostetler, commander of the Empire State Division of The Salvation Army.

“The Dunkirk Salvation Army has served the community faithfully since 1893, and we want to continue to help those in need, but we need to look at a different service model,” explained Hostetler in a Monday press release.

Effective July 27, the corps will become a center for service under the direction of the officers of the Jamestown Salvation Army, Captains John and Kimberly Merchant. With their leadership, we will be better able to serve Chautauqua County, he explained.

Major Pauline Dressler, program secretary for the division, along with Peter Irwin, divisional director of advancement and Captains Merchant met with the Dunkirk Advisory Board on Friday to discuss the needs in the Dunkirk community

As a center for service, the Army will continue to provide programs and basic emergency needs such as the food pantry, but without the on-site and spiritual direction of Salvation Army officers, who are also ordained ministers.

Current officers, Lieutenants Daniel and Laura Gonzalez have accepted a new assignment with the Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center.

“We are grateful for the strong investment the Gonzalez’ made to the community and the spiritual ministry they have offered since they arrived here two years ago,” Dressler noted.

“This decision, although a difficult one, addresses the long-term financial issues that have weighed down the corps. By re-structuring, The Salvation Army can continue to provide necessary services with lower overhead costs and foresee a sustainable continuation of our service in Dunkirk,” she added.

“Over the next month, we will continue to work with the local leaders to develop a model that best serves Dunkirk,” she said.