Loving Our Looted Neighbors
Lieutenant Karen Felton of The Salvation Army Midwest Corps Community Center shares how they are reaching out to local business owners impacted by recent looting.
My husband, our intern, and I had such a beautiful opportunity yesterday to go to ten businesses around our corps and bring them care bags. We wanted them to know that between COVID-19 closings, and the looting many of them experienced, we know how hard it has been for them.
In the care bags were gift cards to the local sandwich shop across the lot from our corps community center. Each business got enough to take all their staff to lunch. This way we got to support a small business that has been there for 40 years – with the same owner, no less! I am so grateful for the church that donated the money for us to buy those gift cards.
The Blackhawks gave us hats, some other fun Blackhawks items, and Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to include. We are so thankful for their generosity. The bags also contained some Salvation Army water bottles, tons of candy, and a letter from my husband and I expressing our support and prayers and letting these business owners know that we are there for them as they begin the process of rebuilding.
The businesses were, across the board, so surprised to see us. Some even felt bad for taking a care package! One man whose family business was completely emptied during the looting said, “You serve people who are much worse off than us. We shouldn’t take this.” I told him it isn’t about who’s worse off – that right now, at that time, it was about all they had come through.
Another woman said she was so exhausted and struggling to see how she was going to get caught up, and our visit was “right on time.” It was a joy to see how surprised they were to see us and how overwhelmed they were by this small act and gift. We got to meet a lot of people we had not met before and we are resolved to spending more time in and out of the businesses to keep showing up and encouraging them.
Recently, my husband has been enamored with the phrase: The Church has left the building! More and more I am convicted that we need to be out of our buildings and listening to the people we serve, walking alongside them, and letting the neighborhood see the love with which we want to surround them.
Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus.
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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.