Kroc Center Opens in Memphis, Tennessee!
The grand opening kicked off with a special appearance by the famous Peabody Ducks just before mascot R.J. Kroc made an impressive entrance landing on the soccer field by helicopter. Yes, by helicopter! The remainder of the day consisted of various forms of entertainment such as live music, multiple attractions and sports demonstrations. Saturday’s events wrapped up with an evening worship service.
Memphians are excited as the incredible 100,000-square-foot facility will serve as a great source for recreation, education, worship and arts center all-year round. The Center includes NBA-quality basketball courts, soccer fields, aquatic features, fitness center, worship area, theater, meeting rooms, classroom facilities, referral programs, food services and more!
Joining in the weekend’s festivities were Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton and County Mayor Mark Luttrell who attended the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication service on Sunday, February 24.
“From the moment RJ Kroc arrived on a helicopter on Saturday morning until the altar was lined with seekers on Sunday morning, we knew that we were witnessing the Coming Together of a community, energized by the love of Christ, to celebrate and hope for a brighter future for Memphis,” said Captain Jonathan Rich, Area Commander of The Salvation Army. “We believe that God was glorified, the mission of the Army was propelled forward and now, the real work begins!”
In 2004, the late Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, left a generous $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army designated to build a series of state-of-the-art Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers across the nation. Kroc’s condition was that each community that wished to obtain a Kroc Center would need to raise half of the funds required to build the facility. Memphis was able to accomplish just that. The intent behind the Kroc Centers is to bring communities together and help create a safe place for education, family support, recreational use, and spiritual guidance.
“From the very beginning of the Memphis Kroc development the overriding theme has been “Come Together,” said Rich. “Our grand opening weekend was a celebration and demonstration of that dream coming true. We had over 5,000 people from all walks of life come through the doors to take part in more than 35 events, from hip hopping to acro dunking to opera singing to ducks marching! Elvis even made an appearance!”