Salvation Army volunteers like Ed are a vital weapon in our Fight for Good.
Three days a week you can find East Chicago resident Ed Liss driving around his city in a car filled with pizzas, bread, and fresh produce. Once with a vanload of turkeys. Through the Heartline Feeding Program, we feed and shelter those in need in our community. Volunteers like Ed, help to make this possible.
Ed volunteers with The Salvation Army East Chicago Corps Community Center. He picks up donated food from Panera, Whole Foods, Pizza Hut, and Ameristar Casino, and delivers it to the corps community center. There it provides a free lunch for 80 seniors, families, homeless, and working poor each Monday through Friday.
Ed, a 65-year-old retiree, knows this feeding program well. Many years ago, he frequented the hot lunch program after he lost his job and money got tight. Ed says, “I lost everything, including my house. It was a big fiasco for a while.” Thankfully, Ed knew exactly where to turn for help. He’d been a bell ringer with The Salvation Army for several years and was familiar with the many ways we help people in our community. “They helped me out a lot,” Ed recalls. With the daily stress of figuring out where meals would come from erased, he was able to focus on finding a new job and getting back on his feet.
He says, “When things finally straightened out, I wanted to help pay The Salvation Army back for how they had helped me.” That’s why you’ll see him driving around East Chicago picking up leftover or nearly expiring food, ensuring it gets to people who have nowhere else to go for a meal.
Lieutenant Leta Marin, corps officer at The Salvation Army’s East Chicago Corps, says volunteers like Ed play a vital role in their care for East Chicago. “We wouldn’t be able to feed as many people without someone picking up all these donations and delivering them every day,” she says. “We really appreciate Ed.”
Now that Ed is officially retired, he’s grateful that this volunteer work gives him something productive to do several days a week. “It gets me out of the house,” he says with a slight laugh. He encourages others to consider volunteering with The Salvation Army as well. “They could always use more help.”
Lt. Marin agrees. Her corps community center currently benefits from the help of 15 regular volunteers but could use more. Specifically, The Salvation Army needs people to help manage their community garden this summer, help run their summer soccer programs, and teach seminars on essential topics such as managing finances or parenting.
Learn more about the weekly lunch program and how you can help. Learn more about Salvation Army volunteer opportunities.