Napanee Salvation Army’s incoming community service director is a familiar one.
Abby Mills has called Napanee home for the last 25 years and will now oversee her hometown Salvation Army after having served in a similar capacity in Belleville for the last six years. Mills was formally introduced at the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store last week, while the departing Valerie and Mike Hennessy were saluted for their service in the community.
“For the past year, my husband Mike and I have had the privilege, and I really mean that, to work with the Salvation Army in this wonderful community of Greater Napanee,” said Hennessy. “During this time we have witnessed and as Salvation Army representatives, benefitted from the great community spirit of this generous and caring community that is the Greater Napanee area. On top of that, you have the best Christmas parade I have ever seen.”
“From food drives, supporting our Christmas campaign, to sponsored families, backpack campaigns, community gardens, members of the community have supported them along with other wonderful and worthy agencies in this community,” added Hennessy.
Mills steps into the role with plenty of experience working with the Salvation Army and knowledge of the area.
“This community is my home,” said Mills. “For 25 years my husband and I have lived here, we raised or family here and I’m so excited that I now have the opportunity to grow ministry here for the Salvation Army, to develop new partnerships and to find new ways to help people in need in our community.”
Greater Napanee mayor Marg Isbester was on hand to help welcome Mills. She noted the Salvation Army is an integral part of the community as its often the first place council will send residents who come to them with financial issues. They’ve also worked in partnership with the town in developing strategies to address the homeless. She said the appointment of Mills is an encouraging sign the Napanee Salvation Army won’t be folding anytime soon.
“With the rumour mill, we keep thinking ‘are we going to lose the Salvation Army, are we going to lose that base we have here for volunteers and the good work that they do?’’ said Isbester. “Yes it is a religious organization but it’s certainly a huge support organization for people in this area.”
Mills has already begun her on the job training, travelling across the Napanee salvation Area’s catchment area to deliver food boxes. She’ll now assume the role in earnest and will be working with vulnerable members of the community.