May 14, 2020 | by A/Captain Mika Roinila

Every family with children will have empathy for one another as the people of Michigan continue to follow the Stay-at-Home orders imposed by the State Government. With schools closed, along with almost all other establishments, families are running out of ideas in order to entertain their children. Even playgrounds are off limits.  “We miss the kids” was the message heard from Auxiliary Captain Grace Roinila as she visited some twenty children and their families on Thursday. And as far as kids and parents were concerned, the feeling appeared to be mutual.

In order to help with these challenging times, The Salvation Army’s GROW After-school Program at Fulton Heights Citadel reached out to local families and their children who have not been able to participate in our after-school program. Children and staff haven’t seen each other for almost two months. And everyone is missing each other.

The idea envisioned by Jennifer Oosterhouse, the Director of Fulton Heights Community Center, was to visit (safely distanced) some 50 children in the city to drop off toys, games, books, as well as food. With lunches provided by Kids Food Basket, the staff and the pastors of the Fulton Heights Citadel Corps traveled to each home.  The timing of this unexpected drop off was greeted with thanks and enthusiasm by all. One young boy was completing his chores in the yard and was delighted to see what he would soon be able to play with. Another received a break from doing his homework. Another boys was to celebrate his birthday the next day, and this unexpected visit brought a smile when he received the gifts. The GROW Program plans to open its Summer Day Camp program as soon as it is allowed. Support for the work of The Salvation Army will always be used locally, and continued financial gifts are greatly appreciated.

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