On Saturday, I was honored to be a guest at the grand opening of the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Philadelphia. The beautiful day was the perfect kick-off for the new Center, which will offer state of the art recreational facilities, a family resource center, classrooms for pre-school care, meeting and conference space, and other facilities and services for the community. I was honored to congratulate the organizers and community members on their wonderful achievement, and spoke about the vital role that faith- and neighborhood-based organizations, like the Salvation Army, play in serving communities across the country.
Philadelphia’s Salvation Army Kroc Center is one of eight Centers that have opened since the first was launched in San Diego eight years ago. When Mrs. Kroc passed away in 2003, she gave the Salvation Army the largest gift ever given to a private charity. Her vision was to build outstanding recreational and arts facilities in underserved communities throughout the United States. At 130,000 square feet, the Philadelphia Kroc Center is the largest Salvation Army facility on the East Coast; 1,000 people are expected to use it every day, regardless of their ability to pay.
The Kroc family celebrated the Center’s opening along with members of the Philadelphia community, Mayor Michael Nutter, members of Congress, and many state and local officials. We toured the facility and the breadth of services it will offer.
Congratulations to The Salvation Army, the Kroc family, the Nicetown neighborhood in North Philadelphia, and everyone who made the grand opening possible.
Alexia Kelley is the Director of the HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.