The Salvation Army would like Rutland to know that they are still here to help.
The thrift shop on Field Avenue closed in late 2019 and the organization consolidated its remaining operations there — it also had been running a food shelf in Howe Center. Since then, though, Maj. Karin Dickson, who has taken over the local chapter on an interim basis with her husband, said much of the city seems to have forgotten they are here.
“I’ve had people call and say they went to the Howe Center,” she said. “We’ve been located at 1 Field Ave. for a year now. We want people to know we are here and alive and doing fine and ready to serve, and we are at 1 Field Ave.”
Dickson said she and her husband, Maj. David Dickson, are retired from the Salvation Army but relocated to Rutland from Maine in October at the request of the organization’s leadership.
“The people that were here — they kind of abruptly left,” she said. “They asked us if we would come here and clean up the place because it had been left. ... We got rid of a lot of junk.”
Dickson said she has worked with her counterparts in a number of other agencies since arriving.
“I like the community, that’s for sure,” she said. “When we came, we had no idea. We were walking into Christmas, and there was nobody here for us.”
Dickson said they managed to work with Toys for Tots and participated with other food banks in Stuff-A-Bus.
Dickson said they are running their food shelf, getting fresh bread every Tuesday and, while the thrift shop is no more, people in need of winter coats or similar essential clothing can come choose from among what they have on hand.
BROC-Community Action in Southwestern Vermont Executive Director Tom Donahue said he met the Dicksons during Stuff-A-Bus and that the Salvation Army has been a valuable partner alongside other social service organizations.
“It’s the only way to work now,” Donahue said. “Everything we do, we do collaboratively. We’re all pulling in the same direction, and to do that in silos is ineffective and inefficient.”