Salvation Army of Comanche; more than just holidays

Pattern Energy Stories

November 30, 2021

“People tend to associate the Salvation Army with volunteers outside of stores, ringing bells with the kettles for donations,” Kenneth told me. “But really, we serve our community year round and have been for decades.”

Holiday fundraising still counts.
(all volunteer pictures pre pandemic)

As the calendar turns from Summer to Autumn, many people’s minds start drifting to thoughts of holiday fun with friends and family.

The truth? Some families experience hardships around the holidays and need assistance making it through.

Since it’s launch in 1865 by WIlliam Booth in London, England, the Salvation Army has been helping people struggling in different ways.

Recently, I was able to speak with Kenneth Hagood, who serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Comanche Salvation Army. We discussed its history as well as its current mission and, given the time of year, we thought it would be nice to share with the communities we serve around Logan’s Gap Wind.

Salvation Army of Comanche’s roots

“People tend to associate the Salvation Army with volunteers outside of stores, ringing bells with the kettles for donations,” Kenneth told me. “But really, we serve our community year round and have been for decades.”

For more than 20 years, the Salvation Army of Comanche was administered by a local Judge, who would make sure funds were disbursed correctly.

Back around 2002 – ‘03, the local Salvation Army formed an Advisory Board with the Judge’s blessing. “He was a busy guy,” Kenneth chuckled, “and he was quite happy to pass us the torch.”

During this period the new Advisory Board was finding its feet as it moved forward when a problem presented itself. To Kenneth, it was an opportunity.

“We used to have a local food pantry,” Kenneth said, “but it disbanded at one point, and to me that showed a clear need.”

Dan Wright, a retired minister, led the effort to find a permanent home for a Salvation Army Food Pantry in Comanche.

After a local woman passed, she left her estate to the Salvation Army. Her husband had passed years before, and they had no children.

The President of the local bank was the executor of the estate, and at the time, that person happened to be Kenneth Hagood.


A minor problem

“The only problem,” said Kenneth, “was that the estate went to the Salvation Army National HQ in Atlanta, Georgia, and she had meant to leave it to Comanche.

“Of course,” Kenneth said with a smile, “the Salvation Army is an incredible organization, and they knew the true intent. We had to make it all work. It took awhile to do it right, but we got the building, and the rest is history.”

Proud Volunteer.

Pride in Community

“We’re incredibly proud of the work we do, and the people we help,” Kenneth told me. “We’re expected to be good stewards of the funds we receive, and we are.”

“When we moved from the old building into the new one, we thought it would take us three days!” Kenneth exclaimed. He said they have 26 volunteers who all work a four-hour shift, one day a month, and wasn’t sure they were up to moving heavy boxes.

In the end, they were saved by community.

Kenneth’s son is a member of the Comanche Electric Cooperative Association. When he saw all that needed to be moved?

“He said to me, ‘Dad, I can get some guys.’” In three hours, eight men moved everything to their new building and, while they are related, Kenneth assured me the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors is community wide.

Fridges don’t move themselves.

How Salvation Army Helps

The Comanche Salvation Army runs a food pantry year round, but can also help people with other essential needs, like utility bills.

“If one of our clients has a utility bill that is, say, $250, but can only pay $100, we’ll pay $150 to get them through.”

I thought that was generous, but then I asked what happens if a person doesn’t have $100?

“We help people wherever they are,” Kenneth said. “We provide advocacy for people if they can’t pay, and we have a Ministerial Alliance that can sometimes help make it up.

There are resources we reach out to, or solutions we can point people towards.”

Logan’s Gap Assistant Facility Manager Juan Maldonado presenting a check to Kenneth Hagood, Salvation Army.

Community Support

Kenneth said the whole community supports the Salvation Army. Businesses, schools, private citizens and more.

“We were very appreciative to get a commitment of $25,000 from Pattern Energy. A $5,000 donation, five years in a row via Logan’s Gap Wind was significant to us,” he said.

How you can help

“It is better to donate cash to us than canned goods,” Kenneth said. “People often don’t realize, but we are able to purchase food more cheaply than a regular person.”

He gave me an example of a can of green beans. “The food pantry pays $0.19 a can, but it retails for $1.50 So when people donate cash to us, their donation goes much farther than canned food.”

The Future

“We’ve had great success in the community, and we’re very proud of it,” said Kenneth. He went on to tell me that a Major in the Salvation Army at Division level told Kenneth that the Comanche branch is one of the best run units under their command.

“I’m very proud of that,” said Kenneth, “and people in our community are appreciative.

“We are a Christian ministry,” said Kenneth, “but we don’t push. Once we’ve gained people’s respect and credibility through our service, sometimes people want to talk, and we are here for them.”

As we ended our call, Kenneth said their mission was simple: “We see a need, and we try to fill it.”