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Signs led director to Carnegie's Salvation Army Service Center

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kelly Melfi

Kelly Melfi couldn't help but follow the signs.

The new director of the Salvation Army Service Center in Carnegie said a series of coincidences led her to “just know” she was supposed to end up at the center.

“I prayed for a while, asking God to guide me wherever I should be,” she said. “Then I started to get emails from the Salvation Army that were addressed to my dad. I'd never gotten one before.”

Then one night as she drove home on the Parkway, she said, she looked up and saw the center.

“I started seeing the red kettles everywhere and thought, ‘I should check this out,'” she said. “I kept praying out it.”

Three weeks later, a friend, who worked at another Salvation Army service center, told her of an assistant position open at the Carnegie Center.

That was five months ago. Now, Melfi, 31, has taken over as director after her predecessor, George Barron, took a job with the United Way.

Melfi had previously owned a clothing store on the South Side but three years ago decided to pursue what had always been what she calls her true passion — to serve and help. So she went back to school at Geneva College, majoring in human services. She will graduate in three weeks.

“It's been amazing,” she said. “Everything has fallen into place.”

She said she hopes to build stronger relationships with local businesses, like Bottom Dollar Food, which donates the meat to the Army's food pantry every week.

“I'm just looking forward to making connections with local businesses to expand services and change some lives,” she said.

The biggest thing she can bring to the position, she said, is her faith.

“I'm just trying to love and support people who are going through really difficult things in this community,” she said. “That's something that I will go to great lengths to do — if I can help somebody genuinely change their life.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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