The Salvation Army of Austin had two multi-million dollar groundbreakings Thursday: a new women's and children's shelter, as well as a new command and community center.
The Salvation Army of Austin has been working on the projects since 2014 when they launched their capital campaign to raise $17 million. But with the public's help, they received a record-breaking $19.2 million dollars.
The Rathgeber Center for Women and Children, which will be located at 4523 Tannehill Lane, will be developed in two phases and will include 63 new bedrooms -- along with new kitchens, dining rooms, case management offices, a computer learning center and a children's playground.
The organization says this is an opportunity to raise awareness and break the cycle.
"They're ready to improve their employment status--they're ready to get to financial security but they do need assistance. They need a safe place,” said Salvation Army Advisory Board Chairman Mike Nasi.
The project also will be able to form strong connections with the community and administration center; Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used in Travis and Williamson Counties for support services.
Salvation Army estimates there are about 500 families on the waiting list daily.
The Citadel Corps Community Center and Area Command will be located on Manor Road in Rathgeber Village. The center will hold will a chapel, gym, classrooms, kitchen, multi-purpose room, and administrative offices.
“Seeing them fight for their children, seeing the same mama bear instincts that I have my for my five and two-year-old, it’s real. Mothers want nothing more than to provide for their families,” Director of Development Jamille Ruebsahm said.
Those who attended the groundbreaking feel, there's nothing more important than to give a child a nurturing environment.
“I can't imagine how difficult it would be to not have a warm bed to sleep in, or a warm meal for my children,” Austin resident and father of two, Kyndel Bennett said. “Salvation Army provides so many desperately needed services and these two new projects are just going to be phenomenal for not just the Salvation Army but the entire Austin community,” he added.
The organization has been in operation for over 127 years in Central Texas.