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Salvation Army office in Northampton to close; two laid off

  • Clients wait in the hallway while Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning.

    Clients wait in the hallway while Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning. Purchase photo reprints »

  •  Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/><br/>

    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning.



    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands a client a clothes voucher Thursday morning. <br/><br/>

    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands a client a clothes voucher Thursday morning.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/><br/>Salvation Army office in Northampton which is closing.



    Salvation Army office in Northampton which is closing. Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/> Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>


    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work with Sarah McGahan, the service Center Coordinator at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing. <br/><br/><br/>

    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work with Sarah McGahan, the service Center Coordinator at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work  at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing. <br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>


    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing.




    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands Sujeinz Pagan, of Florence, a  clothes voucher Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>


    Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands Sujeinz Pagan, of Florence, a clothes voucher Thursday morning.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Clients wait in the hallway while Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning.
  •  Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands a client a clothes voucher Thursday morning. <br/><br/>
  • <br/><br/>Salvation Army office in Northampton which is closing.
  • <br/> Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, helps Kathy Johnston with services from Hampshire County Fuel Fund Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>
  • Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work with Sarah McGahan, the service Center Coordinator at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing. <br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, looks over paper work  at the Northampton Salvation Army office which is closing. <br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Jessica Dorman, a case worker at the Salvation Army office in Northampton, hands Sujeinz Pagan, of Florence, a  clothes voucher Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>

The Salvation Army office at 27 Brewster Court is preparing to close March 21, and the two employees who work there are being laid off.

Dale Clark, field representative for the Salvation Army, said the staffed walk-in office that had been operating in the city for 30 years is being replaced by an all-volunteer service system that clients can access by phone.

The office is open from 9 a.m. until noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Clark said the volunteer model has been successful in other locations, and she believes it will mean the organization can spend more of its donation-based funding on the projects that benefit the people who need it most. Clark said the Salvation Army spends about $130,000 on the Northampton Service Center annually.

“Instead of paying rent and paying for office supplies, we can put more of that money back into the community,” she said in an interview Monday.

Clark works out of the Division Headquarters in Canton. She oversees Salvation Army services in 89 towns throughout four counties in Massachusetts.

“The volunteer structure has proven to be effective,” she said. “The volunteer unit will be very busy.”

The Northampton office offers help ranging from emergency food and clothing to rent and utility bill assistance for those in need. The new model will still offer this type of help, although instead of a walk-in service, clients will need to call to request help.

Clark said the agency will have the same phone number until April 30, after which the number will be changed and will be answered by a recording. Salvation Army volunteers will return the calls 24 to 48 hours after they are received, depending on the request. She said the organization will publicize this change.

Clark said she believes the two employees now working in the Northampton office, one full-time and one part-time, will find work at another social service group in the area.

“They have been great employees through and through, and they will be missed,” Clark said.

Clark said she appreciated that the employees have been helpful and cooperative during the transition.

Sarah McGahan, the Northampton center’s coordinator, declined to comment on the closing. Her co-worker, Jessica Dorman, a case worker, is also losing her job.

“We really appreciate the public’s support,” Drew Forster, director of communications, said in an interview Monday. He also works in the Army’s Canton division headquarters.

With the new structure, there will be a volunteer assigned to work on site for different areas of need: one for the Northampton Senior Center at 67 Conz St., one for families and one for Soldier On and the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System in Leeds, to name a few. Development of these plans is still under way, accordingto Clark.

The change means the Salvation Army will need help from the community now more than ever. “It’s not ‘thank you and goodbye,’ it’s ‘thank you, now we need you more,’ ” Clark said.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to visit the Salvation Army website . To contact the Northampton office call 586-5243.

Services will not be the same... There will be no toy or rental HELP...

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