Lts. Jeff and Sheena Marquis, who led The Salvation Army Clay County Corps since 2015, depart Sunday for a new assignment at the Martin County Corps.
They will be succeeded by Majs. Phillip and Lynn Irish, who have been at the Citrus County Corps, according to the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida.
During the Marquis’ tenure, the Clay affiliate in Middleburg began several new programs and expanded others, including its food pantry service. The number of people fed monthly rose from 100 to 400, 75 homebound seniors now receive meat and fresh vegetable deliveries and the pantry has become a hub for other area pantries to pick up food.
Also, the corps partnered with the University of Florida IFAS Extension to create a community garden that provides fresh vegetables for the pantry and serves as a tool to teach youth and volunteers about gardening. In addition, the Marquis' musical talents helped the Clay corps' school of Performing Arts thrive, averaging 90 students per semester and adding classes for creative arts and junior-level band.
Jeff Marquis said, “The thing we will remember most is the relationships that we’ve built … The way that there is a genuine desire to care for your neighbor is not something that is going to be easy to replicate as we move on.”
In addition to feeding the hungry, the area Salvation Army provides disaster relief, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and programs for underprivileged children. For more information go to salvationarmynefl.org.