OCTOBER 1936: Adjutant Florence Jones and Adjutant Clara Bivans began a tent campaign in Panama City. The meetings continued for 10 days and on the last Sunday five Senior Soldiers and thirteen Junior Soldiers were enrolled. At that time Panama City’s population was 13,000 – 14,000 people.
1937: The first corps building was constructed in 1937 out of tar paper in the St. Andrew section. Three building lots located two blocks from the Post Office were then donated to The Salvation Army. On those lots (corner of 7th Street & Jenks Avenue) a cinder block building was constructed. The building included a 100 seat auditorium, office, and classrooms. A playground sponsored by the Kiwanis Club was added as well.
1953: In 1953 an addition was constructed containing six classrooms, Young People’s Hall, Home League Community Room, kitchen, and other needed facilities.
1955: In 1995 the 15th Street Social Service Center funded by Tommy Thomas was built along with a new Thrift Store and 12 Transitional Housing units. In 2006 remodeling allowed for the Domestic Violence offices to be relocated here as well.
2003: In 2003 the Community Center for Worship & Service was dedicated. The facility was built on property in Lynn Haven that the Salvation Army had owned for many years. The kitchen is equipped in such a way as to accommodate large scale meal preparation in the event of a local disaster.
2011: In 2011 2015 Lisenby Ave. was purchased to enhance our work in the community. This property houses 26, 000 sq. ft. of warehouse space allowing us to expand our Family Store operation. This location will be the main point of receiving donations to be processed for our Family Stores. the facility also houses our Emergency Disaster Services equipment and supplies as we are the warehousing and staging location for Zone 1 (Florida Panhandle) in the event of disaster response. This location is also where bulk food is stored for stocking our food pantry and where Christmas distribution to needy families takes place.
TO BE CONTINUED: Phase II of the community center includes plans for a gymnasium, additional classrooms, and sports fields that would be used to conduct an after-school program. Community support and funding will need to be evident in order to proceed with this phase.