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Concord Salvation Army to expand warehouse as it deals with COVID-related cutbacks

Monitor staff
Published: 10/26/2021 5:45:39 PM

Concord’s Salvation Army store will be expanding in the coming year but it shouldn’t affect local customers much – certainly not as much as COVID-19 has done.

“We’re expanding the warehouse part. It will help us to run more efficiently, bring in more donations to make money to fund more programs,” said Maj. Rick Starkey, pastor of the Concord Salvation Army. “There won’t be any changes in the store.”

Preparatory work for the expansion, budgeted at half a million dollars, is scheduled to start next week but above-ground construction probably won’t happen until the spring, Starkey said. He noted that the Salvation Army is facing the same issues in hiring and scheduling construction crews as everybody else.

Concord’s store at 58 Clinton St. handles clothing collected from smaller Salvation Army stores in New Hampshire and needs room for storing, cleaning and processing them. Clothing that isn’t sold eventually gets shipped overseas but must be compressed into bales and trucked out.

“We need to fill up a semi-truck. That takes 36 large bins of compressed clothing (which requires) a baler, forklift, space for sorting,” said Starkey. The expansion will give more room for that work, which frees up space for preparing and dealing with products sold locally.

“We’ve got to think about the future. The store is a good asset for Concord, and for the Salvation Army,” Starkey said.

The church-oriented charitable organization is continuing to deal with pandemic-related changes that have made it harder to hire workers and get volunteers.

“COVID has definitely affected the store. Just like every place else, we have an employee issue – and lack of volunteers. Without volunteers we can’t pick up donations,” Starkey said.

Among other things, the Salvation Army has removed most donation bins around the region because they don’t have the people to deal with them.

“We’ve been making changes, looking at the way we do things. Sometimes we think maybe we should have been doing things like this all along … so we might keep up with some of the changes,” he said.

(David Brooks can be reached at (603) 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)
David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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