WHEN times are tough, one of the busiest places in town is Leeton's Salvation Army organisation.
There's no doubting it has difficult for many of late, first with the drought and then the coronavirus pandemic.
The Leeton Salvation Army has been operational throughout all of this, making sure its doors remained open to those in need.
All of this came at a time when Lesley Ward started as a candidate officer, running Leeton's Salvation Army after Major Wendy-Sue Swann finished up at the end of last year.
"This is my first appointment as a minister, I'm not fully trained yet, so I'm doing a year before college," Ms Ward said.
"I've basically been involved with the Salvation Army for most of my life."
Originally from Dubbo, Ms Ward has lived in Griffith off and on for the last 30 years.
She's also worked in childcare, nursing, hospitality, as well as being a mother and foster parent.
All of these experiences have led her to have a broad understanding of the community and its needs.
Amid the pandemic has been the Salvation Army's traditional Red Shield Appeal.
In Leeton and Narrandera this meant stationary collections at various locations, with the fundraising goal reached.
"That was really fantastic ... people were so generous even though we know how hard it has been," Ms Ward said.
"I think because we haven't stopped during COVID-19, people were really appreciative."
The appeal is still running online at https://digitaldoorknock.salvationarmy.org.au/, with residents able to donate through that avenue should they wish.
With so much happening in the world and here in Leeton shire, Ms Ward said her passion for helping others grew everyday.
There's many projects happening at the Leeton headquarters and they are open to one and all.
This includes the church side of the army, but also its community garage where items such as clothing and blankets are available, its food hall which is open twice a week, there's a community garden and now a small cafe inside the Maple Street building.
All of these initiatives are designed to reach and help as many members of the community, not just in tangible ways, but also by connecting with each other.
There are of course many welfare programs offered by the Leeton Salvation Army and volunteers have also been hard at work during the pandemic.
Ms Ward is also hoping to build connections with the shire's schools by offering new programs for students.
For more information, take a look at the Leeton Salvation Army's Facebook page.