EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV/CNS) - The Salvation Army San Diego's El Cajon Corps celebrated the tilt-up of the walls of its new community center Thursday.
According to the Salvation Army, the community center will include a food pantry, a social services center, a gymnasium and youth center and meeting spaces for senior nutrition and youth classes. The facility will give the organization's clients access to free and affordable health, wellness and sports activities and the ability to choose what they want from the food pantry.
"Today, we'll go from not a whole lot to see to about three-quarters of the building being up," said Salvation Army Capt. Sean Kelsey. "So, we'll see the shell and we'll see kind of what it will look like."
Kelsey and wife serve as directors of the center, which will be nearly 30,000 square feet -- more than twice the size of the old center. The old center will be kept in service right next door as a worship sanctuary.
According to the organization, the Salvation Army needs a total of $5.2 million to complete the community center and has raised $4.1 million of that total so far. The El Cajon Corps. assists more than 40,000 people each year, and the organization expects that number to increase once the community center is completed.
"You know, everyday my wife and I drive home and see all the kids on the streets," said Kelsey. "Just to have a safe place for them to come after school to play basketball, indoor soccer; it's a joy. We're really looking forward to it."
The facility will be located next to the El Cajon Corps' main office, which sits at 1011 E. Main St.
The Salvation Army is still actively raising another million dollars to see it to completion.
Kelsey said he hopes to celebrate the grand opening in August.
"We are hoping to see even more lives changed as a result of this project," said Kelsey. "We are so blessed to have the support of the community to build such a wonderful facility and we hope that it will give back to El Cajon ten-fold."