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Salvation Army celebrating 140 years of hope, service in Orillia

'On an occasion like this, a milestone like this, we are encouraged by our history, engaged in the present, and excited about the future,' says Orillia church official
Salvation Army Capt. Josh Howard invites the community to the Coldwater Road church this weekend to celebrate the church and charitable organization serving Orillia for 140 years.

The Salvation Army Orillia Citadel is celebrating its 140th anniversary this weekend.

Headquartered at 157 Coldwater Rd. W., the Orillia church and charitable organization will be hosting live music and free family fun from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2.

Salvation Army Capt. Josh Howard says the event aims to give back to the community.

"The community had been a big part of who we are as The Salvation Army," he said. "As much as we've supported the community, the community has provided us support as well."

The community carnival with a bouncy castle, games, activities, face painting, in addition to food and treats opens to the public at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and runs till 8:30 p.m. Kicking off the event will be remarks from City Councillor Whitney Smith, Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers, and Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop.

On Saturday, the event resumes with "A Concert of Praise" featuring the Canadian Staff Songsters and Orillia Citadel Alumni Band at 7 p.m. 

"This concert is special because it highlights two important aspects of the Salvation Army's identity: music and service," Howard explained. "The Salvation Army's Canadian Staff Songsters are a world-class choir, and the Citadel Alumni Band is comprised of current and past members."

While admission is free, The Salvation Army will be accepting freewill offerings for its street ministry program which serves upwards of 200 meals to those in need in downtown Orillia every Friday night.

On Sunday, the finale of the event commences at 10:30 a.m. with a worship service with Lt. Col. Sandra Rice and music performances from the Canadian Staff Songsters and Orillia Citadel Alumni Band.

“On an occasion like this, a milestone like this, we are encouraged by our history, engaged in the present, and excited about the future," Howard said.

Each year, The Salvation Army offers its food bank, income tax clinic, Christmas hampers, and toy program to those in need. They also operate a thrift store on Wyandotte Street.  

"People are continually appreciative of who we are and what we do," Howard said. "Whether it be through a street ministry program or a food bank, we're here to help him or her to give hope."

While The Salvation Army is a global organization, Howard is confident it will always have roots in Orillia.

"We do what we do because the need is there," Howard said. "We're able to do what we do because of the support that we get from the city and fellow Orillians."

Following this weekend’s event, Howard hopes to have more people on board to support and volunteer with The Salvation Army.

"There's always a need for volunteers," he said. "Our biggest push is the Christmas season, but throughout the year there's opportunities to step up and find ways to help others and serve. "

Those interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army should call the office at 705-326-3284.

"We're thankful to the community for the support over the last 140 years," Howard added. "It has enabled us to serve those who need assistance and to share the love of God and give hope where it's needed."


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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