Salvation Army couple asks community to pitch in

Volunteers, donations needed for everyone to have a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, and Christmas right around the corner, some families are really short of cash for groceries, or perhaps for presents to put under the Christmas tree for their little ones.

To fill that need, the Salvation Army Cordova Outpost’s new husband and wife team, Antonio and Heather Romero, are asking the community to help out in several ways.

Christmas angel trees will be placed in businesses around town with tags on them marked with the age and gender of a child who needs a Christmas gift.  Anyone who wishes to help can take one tag or several, purchase age-appropriate gifts and drop them off at the Salvation Army.

“We need donations for Christmas gifts by picking up Christmas angel tags wherever you see an angel tree around town,” said Antonio Romero. “We’re also in need of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These donations will not only help during the holiday season, but assist with our food pantry throughout the year.”

The couple also requires a few jolly individuals willing to ring those holiday bells and collect donations in the red kettles.

“We would love to have volunteers to help ring the bell at AC and at our local thrift store, to collect money that will be used for all areas of assistance through the years,” he said.

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November and December are the busiest months at the Cordova Outpost.

“This month, we’re doing our holiday food box sign-ups and distributing food to the Cordova community,” said his wife, Heather.

Collection boxes for canned and dry goods will be located at AC Value Center throughout the holiday season, she said. In addition, the local Cub Scouts will be going door-to-door asking for donations during their food drive.

“If anyone else would love to do a food drive, please let us know,” she said.

The Romeros are the first couple in the history of the Cordova Outpost to be stationed here.

“We were in the Salvation Army’s training college in Rancho Palos Verdes, California,” said Antonio Romero.  “When we were ordained in June, we walked across the stage and were presented with Cordova, Alaska. We had no idea where Cordova, Alaska was. We were excited to see the adventure God had for the both of us.”

The couple said landing in Alaska is an experience they’re truly enjoying.

“We get appointed everywhere we go,” said Heather Romero. “That’s the adventure! We never know where God will place us, but we know it’s ordained and prayed about on a continued basis.

“We arrived in Cordova on June 27th 2016. We enjoy the closeness of Cordova. Before we arrived on the plane to fly to Cordova, a board member called us and explained Cordova as ‘Mayberry.’ It’s a town where we get to see the same people every single day. Where can you go and know almost everyone’s name? Nowhere,” she said.

The Romeros, married five years, are both lieutenants.

“Having a partner in ministry is a blessing,” he said. “Some days ministry can be tough. It’s nice to have someone to come along side and seek the same game plan together. We can bounce off ideas with each other and figure out solutions to issues that arise,” he said.

The two are hard at work sprucing up the thrift store, food bank, community chapel and building they now call home. They’ve replaced the ceiling tiles in the chapel, thanks to a generous, anonymous donor, and have a new coat of wax on the floors, courtesy of Pastor Steve Leppert, of the Cordova Church of the Nazarene.

“We’re also in the works of painting the chapel and doing some cosmetic fixes to our thrift store,” said Antonio Romero.

The couple said they’re happy to be of service to the community.

“We are blessed to be a part of Cordova and know that we appreciate all of the volunteers, donors and those who stop in just to say hi. Thank you for letting us serve, as The Salvation Army remains a beacon in this community,” she said.

To sign up for the holiday food boxes, go to the Salvation Army Cordova Outpost on Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and bring your identification, proof of income and residency, proof of the family members in your household (birth certificates) and Christmas wish lists for the children.

The food bank is open Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The only requirement to receive a food box is an identification card.

“We believe if anyone is in need, we’re there to assist in any way that we can,” said Heather Romero. “Also, if people need food any other time, they can feel free to give us a call and we can work out a time that is best for them,” she said.

For more information, contact the Salvation Army Cordova Outpost via email or phone:
Lieutenant Antonio Romero: [email protected] Cell: 702-528-5152

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson
Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.