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From Helping Center to Salvation Army, Sue Kennedy is on a mission

At her retirement party in February 2014, The Helping Center of Marble Falls board members, volunteers and donors recognized Sue Kennedy, who served as the executive director of the center. Pictured are Pastor Freddie Walker (left), a family friend; Elizabeth and Zion Marquart, Kennedy's daughter and grandson; and her niece LaKeisha Anthony. File photo

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — Even after she retired as the executive director of The Helping Center in Marble Falls a year ago, Sue Kennedy didn’t stop helping people.

That was evident when she continued as the treasurer of the local service unit of The Salvation Army of Marble Falls.

But now Kennedy will spend more of her free time in the service of others.

Kennedy is the new unit coordinator of the local Salvation Army, which has relocated to St. Frederick’s Baptist Church, 301 Ave. N.

Kennedy credited the Rev. George Perry, the staff and members of the church for allowing The Salvation Army to move into its building.

Families in need may contact The Salvation Army by calling the church at (830) 693-4499 and leaving a message for Kennedy or chairperson Gloria McCain.

Families must live in south Burnet County and present photo identification and a documented physical address before filling out an application.

Kennedy said The Salvation Army helps with most everyday costs such as utilities, a night’s stay in a hotel and some traveling expenses. Because the area has many local food banks and the local unit doesn’t have a way of storing food, The Salvation Army purposely focuses on helping with other needs, she said.

People can apply without fear of being poorly thought of, the coordinator said.

“I’m not sitting in judgment of them,” she said.

And those who give can rest assured that The Salvation Army is a good steward of meeting needs, Kennedy said, by issuing checks directly to utility companies or to the hotel after she has communicated with the staffs of those places.

“People give their money,” she said. “They don’t want to see it abused. And I won’t let people abuse it.”

Kennedy’s association with The Salvation Army started two decades ago while she was working at The Helping Center. The Marble Falls Police Department was in charge of the local chapter of The Salvation Army, but it became too much for the officers, she said. And since they knew of her work at The Helping Center, they decided Kennedy was the ideal choice to take over the work of The Salvation Army.

It was simply heart-wrenching, she said, “from The Helping Center, to see people who are homeless and hungry. But the most important thing is the homeless. They’re not able to make it with everything going up so high.”

The Salvation Army raises money through fundraising, usually through its bell-ringing campaigns during the winter holidays. Kennedy was hesitant to take over the office duties, she said. But when she met with volunteers, they reassured her she was the right person for the task.

“They said, ‘You don’t have to ring the bell. We’ll do your part,” she said.

For Kennedy, taking over The Salvation Army’s local chapter came down to one very good reason that trumped relaxing into retirement.

“I do it to help the people,” she said.

jfierro@thepicayune.com