EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s a place of salvation, where people with nowhere else to turn, can go for help.
The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg is about the last place 46-year-old Kerri Merkel says she thought she’d end up. But it’s the first place she thought after she was hospitalized, lost her job and lost her home.
“I had nowhere to go so I came here and if it wasn’t for them taking me, I would have been on the streets, and God only knows what could have happened, too, out there,” stated Merkel.
Merkel became one of the organization’s 165 guests, women, children and men who’ve found themselves without shelter, food and a job.
The Salvation of East Stroudsburg helps adult guests find all that. As the chapter’s Director of Housing Programs Cymanda Robinson puts it, this is a place of salvation.
“When they walk through this door, we encourage them to leave everything behind. Come in and get a fresh start. We’re here to support them. We’re here to guide them. We’re here to not judge them. We’re here to wrap our arms around them,” explained Robinson.
For guests like Kerri Merkel, The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg provides what’s called job acclamation. It gives them an opportunity for part-time work experience before they take the next big step.
“It gets them started to be back, a part of the community, by getting to know people and get that structure and routine that they’re going to need when they go into the work field,” said Robinson.
Majors John and Martha Wheeler arrived in June to help guide The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg after 34 years as officers with the charitable organization.
“Every place is new, it’s a new chapter for us here. A new challenge. And there are always challenges,” said Maj. Martha Wheeler.
Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser chose The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg as one of its top four finalists to receive funding to address the ever-growing need for shelter and services.
“We’re just the purveyors of the services. We rely on the community and generous people that are willing to give of themselves and of their resources to keep us going,” explained Maj. Martha Wheeler.
“Just keep going forwards. Just keep living my life the way I, the way I should. And not going backward. And I’m going to thank them until the day I pass away. I’m going to be thankful for them,’ said Merkel.
Please join us for “Where Hope Meets Help”, this Thursday night. It’s for the 2021 Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser. You can watch the stream live here starting at 7:00 p.m.