The Permian Basin Area Foundation presented two $50,000 checks to the Salvation Army Wednesday morning to go toward the planned renovations to their shelter, which is growing in need as Odessa faces another oil uptick.

PBAF had awarded the Salvation Army an initial grant of $50,000 last year, and challenged Salvation Army to raise an additional $50,000 themselves, which they did. Because of this, PBAF matched the money they raised by presenting them with an additional $50,000 grant.

“With the Salvation Army, our community is a much, much more productive and safe and wonderful place to live,” PBAF COO Aaron Bedell said. “So, when we heard about the need that the army had for the building and for the facilities, which are a long time coming, we couldn’t help but do the right thing and come out and support them in a big way.”

Bedell described the Salvation Army as an essential part of the community due to its impact in helping people get back on their feet and helping them find jobs.

“These aren’t people that you think are relying on welfare,” he said. “Most of these people are looking for a job, they’re looking for employment, they’re looking for a way to give back to the community. They just need a little bit of temporary assisted living.”

Shelter Manager Chris Cooper said he was humbled and gratified by the donations given by PBAF.

“It’s easy to feel that people don’t recognize what we’re doing and this points out that we’re a value to the community,” Cooper said.

He said things have only picked up in the last year and a half at the shelter. Their shelter is at capacity most of the time, housing about 30 people a night, and serving about 100 meals a night, every night.

“We are the only facility in Odessa that people can come and have a hot meal and a bed and a hot shower and help in finding jobs,” Gloria Apolinario, chair of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board, said.

Part of the rise in the number of people is due to the recent oil boom and the amount of people coming to look for work from out of town.

“They don’t know what a motel or a house costs, so they get here and are overwhelmed,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that the shelter is seeing mostly single people right now at the shelters and the occasional family. He said what they need right now are more employees, as well as donations for hygienic products, washrags and twin bedding sets.

There is no target date for when the renovations will begin, as they still need to meet their projected goal of raising $500,000. Cooper said the main renovations that need to be done include updating the bathrooms at the shelter, updating the flooring, and doing some remodeling to create more space for beds at the shelter.

Bedell said that, while the economy has continued to strengthen as the price of oil increases, the needs of people struggling have not decreased, but are actually increasing.

“As the need grows, we hope the community will step up as well,” Bedell said.

Those who wish to donate to the Salvation Army can call their office at 432-332-0738 or mail a donation to P.O. Box No. 1111 Odessa, Texas 79760.

How to donate
  • Those who wish to donate to the Salvation Army can call their office at 432-332-0738 or mail a donation to P.O. Box No. 1111 Odessa, Texas 79760.
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