Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary launches capital campaign to fund transitional housing renovation in New Orleans

Jun 6, 2022 | by Brad Rowland

Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary launches capital campaign to fund transitional housing renovation in New Orleans

The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans Women's Auxiliary recently launched a $200,000 capital campaign to renovate and update 20 apartments in the Center of Hope that give respite to daily challenges for families in our area when they need it most. Everything from the interior walls to flooring, lighting, plumbing, and cabinetry is being upgraded or replaced to convert what admittedly are somewhat drab apartments due to extensive wear and tear and hurricane damage into more inviting, modern living spaces.

"Our goal is to lift people up and create an atmosphere that promotes dignity, self-sufficiency and hope," notes Cathy Espenan, president of the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary. As Espenan adds, "We want to do more than just provide a roof over someone's head. We want Center of Hope guests to experience warmth and comfort, so this experience becomes the beacon of hope needed to bring stability in their lives."

In response to the campaign, on April 7, the Women's Auxiliary hosted a thank you for all donors at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). In addition to food, drink, a fashion show by the upscale boutique Ballin's, and a special viewing of the Nefertari Exhibit, nearly 300 guests were on hand to honor the first-ever Women of Grace Award Recipient – New Orleans Saints and Pelican's owner Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson was recognized for her Capital Campaign donation and her ongoing generosity to non-profits across the city, and her love of everything New Orleans.

Leading the organization of the NOMA event was Major Lynda Thornhill, co-commander in New Orleans. She along with a dedicated committee worked for months on organizing and planning. As Major Thornhill noted, not only was it the first major Salvation Army public event to occur since the beginning of the pandemic, but it came on the heels of two natural disasters that hit the area, Hurricane Ida and an EF-3 tornado that ripped through the New Orleans area just two weeks before the event.

"We were overwhelmingly surprised by the attendance and the support we received from area restaurants who donated food and others who donated supplies and their time,” said Major Thornhill. “Our region has been impacted by so many misfortunes; a lot of people are still trying to rebuild their lives following COVID, a hurricane, and then a tornado, and yet, so many generously donated to support our capital campaign. It was a wonderful evening that was well received and more importantly, it was a celebration for a cause that will impact the lives of thousands who come to us when most in need."

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