By Atticus Agustin
Even when road construction was heavy on a stretch of 900 West in Poplar Grove, the doors of the Salvation Army remained wide open. Their fourth annual back-to-school bash held on August 19 distributed over 300 backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary school children in need.
This annual community block party seems to get bigger each year. Over 521 people attended this year. There was face painting and pizza provided by Little Caesars, and attendees received free vision checks courtesy of the Utah Ophthalmology Society.
According to Major Troy Trimmer, head of the Salvation Army Corps in Poplar Grove, this event essentially celebrates the west side and the unofficial end to summer. “There is a genuineness of the people with a good work ethic in this community. Even though many struggle financially, they don’t want a handout. Gang violence is also problem here, but we hold events like these to remind everyone in this community that we care,” Major Trimmer said.
The current location of the Salvation Army at 438 S. 900 West is planning to expand into other tracts of land next to the main building, which would include a music conservatory for children.
“We are living in interesting times of demographic change. This is a cultured community, which is what gives it its vibrancy. It's like a piece of heaven. No one in heaven is too Greek or Irish,” said Major Trimmer. “The ultimate goal of our church is to not leave people in the same physical condition.”
The Salvation Army holds regular Bible Study and Sunday Service. The facility hosts a handful of human services: utility assistance, a case-management program, a food pantry, hot meals distributed to needy families, and a six-week summer camp for children.
The Salvation Army is an international missionary organization spanning 128 countries. It has an Evangelical- and Wesleyan-leaning tradition, in which divine sovereignty is acknowledged in concert with individual free will.
Founded in 1865 in the United Kingdom, the church is a quasi-military organization started by William Booth in London’s East end where prostitution, alcohol, and looting were rampant. Booth gathered people involved in those activities with the aim of bettering them through his Christian mission. Following a dictation accident, in which a pamphlet called the new mission the “Volunteer Army,” Booth decided that it was not really a volunteer mission, but a Salvation Army.
Around 1887, the Salvation Army made its way to several locations across the Wasatch Front before landing in its present location, where it currently serves many people in need.