How Strack & Van Til Is Turning Spare Change into Life Change Through The Salvation Army

Sep 4, 2020

Cynthia was struggling. After surviving a couple tough years of medical issues – including multiple surgeries – COVID-19 put her at risk again. And then it took her job, leaving her no income to pay for her medical expenses and the home she’d just bought.

Thankfully, The Salvation Army of Lake County, Indiana, was able to help Cynthia with her mortgage and utility bills, as well as provide much-needed food, household items, and spiritual support. This kind of assistance is now being funded by an unlikely source: local grocery store shoppers.

To help meet the growing needs of Lake County residents, Strack & Van Til Food Markets and The Salvation Army of Lake County have teamed up again this year for a “Checkout Challenge.” From August 31 until September 13, shoppers at the grocery store chain have the option of rounding up to the nearest dollar when checking out. Strack & Van Til donates that spare change to The Salvation Army to fund the kind of assistance that changes lives in these difficult times.

Unfortunately, stories like Cynthia’s have become increasingly common since the pandemic began. In Lake County, Indiana, and elsewhere, hard-working men and women who have lost their jobs due COVID-19 have run out of resources. Since the start of the pandemic, The Salvation Army of Lake County has experienced a 500% increase in requests for emergency assistance.

Recently, a man who had been unemployed since April asked The Salvation Army for help. He presented the caseworker at the Hammond-Munster Corps Community Center with a shut-off notice from the utility company, demanding more than $1,900 in missed payments.

Strack & Van Til Food Markets in Lake, Porter, and Jasper counties in Indiana are encouraging their customers to help meet these rising needs. Last year, their Checkout Challenge raised almost $26,000, and this year the goal is $35,000.

The Salvation Army of Lake County consists of three Corps Community Centers – Gary-Merrillville, East Chicago, and Hammond-Munster – as well service extension programs serving southern and eastern Lake County. To request assistance or make a donation, please visit or call 219.838.1328.

Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at

Help The Salvation Army Do the Most Good

Donate to Our COVID-19 Response      Fundraise for Good

For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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