The Salvation Army Kroc Center Story
|The concept of a Salvation Army community center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast first began in 2002 with a $2 million donation from Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.Although the project was delayed due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, our leadership’s vision never wavered. The project scope continued to expand, and in 2009, the final tally culminated in a multi-million-dollar gift from The Salvation Army, courtesy of a donation from the estate of Mrs. Kroc, to Gulf Coast residents for the construction and future operation of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of the Mississippi Gulf Coast opened its doors to the public on September 19, 2011. In keeping with Mrs. Kroc’s charge that every Kroc Center be a beacon of hope and an agent of change in an under-served community, the Kroc Center is located in the very heart of the East Biloxi Community, at the historic Yankie Stadium. The Center provides facilities, programs and services that encourage positive living, offer life-changing experiences for children and adults, strengthen families and enrich the lives of seniors. These facilities, programs and services promote educational enrichment, life skills development and spiritual and physical wellnessThe Kroc Center is 52,000 square feet and features a chapel/performing arts center with state of the art audio/visual capabilities; full-sized gymnasium for indoor recreation sports; weight and exercise rooms; dance and aerobic studio; men’s, women’s and family locker rooms; multi-purpose room/dining hall for Salvation Army and community events; and monitored childcare; classrooms; meeting rooms; and a multi-purpose lobby for art and music exhibits. The Center also features an indoor Aquatics Center with exercise pool with zero degree entry, and lap pool for lessons and sports programs, splash pad and two-story water slide. The outdoor recreation area will include a stadium complex with a full athletic field, 1/4 mile track and visitor stands
While The Salvation Army Kroc Center is ideally located to meet the needs of underserved residents, the programs and services that will be provided are being designed to serve as a magnet that will attract the entire coast community, be financially self-sustaining and further the mission of The Salvation Army.