WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–As part of their goal to extend Salvation Army programs and services throughout the county, Salvation Army of Muscatine County Lieutenants Liz and Greg Bock brought the Red Kettle Campaign to West Liberty last winter. Local residents responded enthusiastically, helping to raise a significant amount of money to help the Salvation Army keep their programs running all year long. Seeing their commitment, the Bocks looked for ways to help bring more of their services to the city. “The folks in West Liberty raised a good amount of money in the red kettle, and it was important for me to be able to tell them that whatever was donated in West Liberty would then be spent on services for people in West Liberty,” Greg Bock emphasized.” This November, the Salvation Army completed this goal, opening a Pathway of Hope satellite site in West Liberty.
Early this year, Salvation Army board member, now chair, Mike Ruby, reached out to Marian Hart, pastor of First Church United in West Liberty, to see if Pathway of Hope could use part of their space. She welcomed the suggestion, and Bock and several others visited the church to start making arrangements. However, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived not long after, delaying the Salvation Army’s plans.
Undeterred, the Bocks restarted planning for the Pathway of Hope satellite location in the fall. With the help of newly hired Pathway of Hope Family Advocate Reverend Jaque McCoy, Salvation Army board member from West Liberty Gretchen Nollman, and First Church United, they put a plan in place for Pathway of Hope to finally start offering services in West Liberty.
According to McCoy, Pathway of Hope will operate each Monday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and each Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at 1100 North Calhoun Street, so long as the West Liberty Community School District remains open for in-person learning. Because West Liberty schools have currently moved to all virtual learning, McCoy anticipates the program will start Nov. 30. During their open hours, they will offer a wide variety of services, including help with job searches and resume creation, budgeting, family support and a diaper assistance, food assistance, goal setting, notary services, spiritual care, and technology training.
As Pathway of Hope brings these services to West Liberty, McCoy hopes that many residents can benefit from them. “The West Liberty community has done a great job with different groups stepping up to meet needs in the community; Pathway of Hope seeks to add onto those great services by providing the next step in social care,” she said. McCoy elaborated: “Many of the current initiatives in town focus on crisis intervention, which is greatly needed. Pathway of Hope seeks to provide the individualized tools that are needed to elevate families from survival to stability.”
Greg Bock shared McCoy’s high hopes for the program: “It is important to me that people know that we are there for them – no matter what. I am excited that people will be able to have a hand up offered to them in their own town rather than having to travel to Muscatine in order to be able to meet with us.”