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Mayor Menino Joins The Salvation Army to Celebrate the Groundbreaking of the Kroc Community Center

BOSTON, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Salvation Army officials along with Mayor Thomas M. Menino gathered today with community members and elected officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the largest social service community center in the history of Massachusetts -- the $115 million Kroc Corps Community Center on the Dorchester/Roxbury Line.

Mayor Menino, the Honorary Chairman of the Kroc Campaign and a longtime supporter of the Kroc Center, spoke about what the Center means to the City of Boston.

"This is a wonderful day for this neighborhood and for all of Boston," Mayor Menino said. "Thousands of children, teens, adults and seniors will benefit from the good work happening at the new Kroc Center. From day care and fitness, to early education and night classes -- the Kroc Center will become a crucial part of the fabric of this community."

The Boston Kroc Center project begins construction today after reaching its initial fundraising goal, which was set as a condition of the Kroc gift and challenged the Boston community to raise funds locally before construction of the Kroc Center could begin. Having achieved that goal, The Salvation Army is continuing to raise the final $2.5 million needed locally to complete the campaign.

"Today is a very proud day for The Salvation Army and all of our community partners, investors, and local supporters. It has been a long road, and to see these shovels in the ground is a testament to the tremendous commitment demonstrated by the Boston community to move this enormously important project forward," said Major William Bode, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army's Massachusetts Division. "For every resident of Boston, but especially for thousands of elders, children and teens in the Uphams-Dudley section of the City, this project will provide enormous opportunities to improve their lives."

The 6.5 acre Kroc Center campus will serve thousands of local residents and families -- including more than 19,000 children -- residing in the Uphams-Dudley neighborhood, bringing a large vacant lot to life and knitting together a neighborhood. The Center will offer social services, counseling and mentoring, a teaching kitchen, after school programs, computer labs, classrooms, musical instruction space, a visual and performing arts center, an aquatic center, gymnasium and fitness center, a basketball and tennis court and a soccer field. The center will also provide meals for elders and auditoriums for community meetings.

"This is a dream come true for the people of Dorchester and Roxbury who have worked so hard to make this incredible project a success," said John Barros, Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. "The Salvation Army has been a wonderful partner in this community, single-mindedly committed to bringing this tremendous opportunity to the people of Roxbury and Dorchester. The Kroc Center is going to make a significant difference in the lives of local families for generations."

A significant factor in the success of the campaign was the commitment of local residents, many of whom invested their own time, efforts, and money into the project in order to make it a reality for their families and neighbors. Through a combination of selling engraved Kroc center paver bricks and tireless door to door campaigning, the community continues to help raise these funds to make Kroc a reality.

"The Kroc Center has been designed not just for the community, but with the community," said John Hamill, Chairman of both Sovereign Bank New England and the Kroc Center Capital Campaign Leadership Gift Committee. "The facilities, programs and services are all the result of an extensive and thoughtful community process, and as a result this center and its programs will have an immediate and measurable impact for residents in the areas of education, wellness and workforce development."

About the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers

The Kroc Corps Community Center is the vision of the late Joan Kroc -- widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc -- a long-time supporter of The Salvation Army. Mrs. Kroc saw the life-changing impact of the first Center built in San Diego and bequeathed $1.5 billion in 2004 to the Army to establish and maintain first-class educational, athletic and spiritual centers across the nation. Boston's Kroc Center is the only such facility to be built in the New England region. For more information, log onto .

    Media Contacts:
    Salvation Army
    Katie Ward

    Mayor's office
    Nick Martin

SOURCE The Salvation Army
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