While I have no direct involvement with the Salvation Army except as a periodic contributor, I hope the North Street Neighbors, whose letter was published in the October 16-22 issue of The Island News, will reconsider their response to the Salvation Army’s disallowing parking in their private lot for a political gathering. Having been on the staff of several nonprofits, I can assure readers that it isn’t easy to be a nonprofit in today’s world. There is a litany of hoops to be jumped through and often onerous regulations to be adhered to in order to maintain 501(c)(3) status.
Please consider that the Salvation Army undoubtedly is concerned about unauthorized parking in its private lot because of liability issues. What if someone had fallen while getting into or out of a car? What’s to prevent that person from lodging a complaint or claim against the Salvation Army?
And what’s to stop a disgruntled resident from accusing the Salvation Army of supporting a particular candidate by allowing the use of its facility in violation of nonprofit rules and regulations. It seems a stretch, but we all know that stranger things have happened.
Lastly, would the North Street Neighbors suggest that people could park on a neighbor’s private property without first consulting the neighbor? This could all have been avoided had there been communication in advance. It’s so easy to criticize a situation without fully understanding the ramifications. However, it seems very shortsighted to chastise a valued community service provider over an incident such as this. I hope the “North Street Neighbors” will re-think the situation and reconsider their stance. The Salvation Army needs and deserves our support.
Kay E. Merrill, Beaufort