National Salvation Army program aims to help reduce poverty in Martinsville, Henry County

Martinsville Salvation Army hopes to begin program in a year

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – In three years, Martinsville Salvation Army Lt. George Keith hopes to see a brand new building sitting where the abandoned business currently sits at the corner of Broad Street and Memorial Boulevard next to the Salvation Army office in Martinsville.

"What we have is a proposed program and a proposed building for our Pathway of Hope and our store," Keith said.

Having the store in a building owned by the Salvation Army instead of in the current rented space in Collinsville would save money.

The money saved could be used for programs like Pathway of Hope, which helps families overcome their challenges to getting out of poverty, such as lack of work, transportation and housing.

"We assist them in attaining those things over a 6- to 18-month period," Keith said.

The space in the new building not taken up by the store would be used for apartments for people in the Pathway of Hope program to live in.

Keith and his wife, Salvation Army Capt. Ruby Keith, want to start the Pathway of Hope program in a year, serving six to 10 families a year.

"What we're trying to target is that cycle (of poverty)," Ruby said. "We want that cycle to end so that the next generation and the generation after that isn't in the same situation."

She and her husband anticipate a waiting list having to be developed because so many people will want to be in the program.

They say that's what's happened in Roanoke.

Martinsville resident Megan Finley said the program is needed in Martinsville.

"If there were more jobs and more people were able to get jobs, yeah, the community could definitely come back," Finley said.

George and Ruby plan to fundraise to get the $2.5 million needed to build the new building.