Structural changes are underway at a Vernon organization that helps residents in need.
The Salvation Army is restructuring its Vernon operation because of steady public demand for services and financial instability.
“We want to ensure minimal to no impact on public services, and there could even be enhanced services,” said Capt. Jean-Curtis Plante, with the Salvation Army in Vernon.
The primary changes will occur at the agency’s two thrift stores.
“There has been declining revenue for a number of years and that impacts our ability to operate the food bank,” said Plante.
The number of full-time staff at the thrift stores will increase but the total number of employees will be reduced, trimming the Salvation Army’s labour costs.
Plante could not say how many employees will be impacted.
“We are giving notice to our staff and everyone will have an equal opportunity to apply for positions. We will post the positions in March,” he said.
There will also be some changes to the food bank but the Salvation Army could not provide any specific details.
“It’s been struggling financially for a decade and we’re working to reduce duplication,” said Plante.
“We want to ensure we meet the community need and the need at the food bank is increasing.”
It costs about $500,000 annually to operate the food bank, with most of that money coming from donations and the thrift stores.
“The profit margin is getting so narrow that we need to restructure. We have to match revenue with expenses,” said Plante.
The Salvation Army will continue to provide food, clothing and counselling services for individuals and families.
“We are committed to this community and to expand programming to those in need. Due to a growing demand on services and greater need in the community, we are actively working to enhance our capacity by narrowing our focus in a strategic and community centric manner.”