Food Drive Profile: Seven people form bond at The Salvation Army

Mar 10, 2023

Your donations to The Salvation Army’s March Food Drive allow our food pantries and hot meal programs to serve people all over Minnesota. Donate now

That includes a tightly-knit group of men and women at The Salvation Army in Fergus Falls. The seven-person crew became friends while eating together at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army’s hot lunch program. For years they have carried on a tradition of breaking bread together several days a week. (Pictured from left: Mable and Paul; Gary and Lynn; Cheryl; Jim and Rose.) 

Cheryl pioneered the group after she and her husband, Norm, ate their first meal at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army many years ago. 

“My husband loved to come here and visit – he was a talker,” Cheryl said with a chuckle.

Sadly, Norm passed away in October. Cheryl said she is thankful that she can lean on her lunch friends as she grieves the loss of Norm and their 39 years of marriage.  

“Not only does the lunch program provide food for the community, it also provides a place for fellowship – which in many ways is just as important,” said Captain Anthony Nordan, Fergus Falls Salvation Army administrator (pictured speaking to the group). 

Jim and Rose started coming to the lunch program several years ago. They found out about it from Cheryl and Norm. 

“The food and the company are great,” said Jim, who has lived in Fergus Falls since 1962 and spent 25 years working locally as a Coca-Cola salesman. He and Rose have also spent time volunteering in the kitchen. 

Paul and Mable have been coming for the past five years. 

“I like the people here and the food – and the convenience,” said Paul, who has worked in lawn maintenance and snow removal for 40 years.

Gary and Lynn started coming right before the pandemic began. Lynn had retired early from her job as a lab technician because her body was wearing out.

“The lunch program helped get us through until I could start collecting my social security,” Lynn said. “I’ve gotten to know so many nice people here.”

Gary discovered the lunch program while working for a local nursing home, when he used to drive seniors over for a bite to eat.

“I saw how many people would come here for lunch and I knew how much they enjoyed it,” said Gary, who spent much of his life working as a mechanic. “There’s good food here and it helps get us through.” 

Gary added with a laugh: “But it sure gets a little windy at this table sometimes.”

The Fergus Falls Salvation Army last year served an average of about 50 hot meals every weekday – not only at its lunch program, but also for dozens of children at a local childcare facility. In addition, staff and volunteers prepare and distribute dozens of food boxes every week.

Throughout The Salvation Army Northern Division, we provide about 2.25 million meals annually for people in need. Our March Food Drive aims to raise 2 million pounds of food and make a large impact on replenishing our food supplies for months to come, while providing help for people and families struggling amid the highest inflation rates in 40 years

Get Involved

Please help The Salvation Army raise 2 million pounds of food by donating nonperishables, hosting a food drive, giving a cash donation, or volunteering.

Donate food: In the Twin Cities, drop off nonperishable foods March 1-31 at Cub grocery stores, Morrie’s auto dealers, Slumberland FurnitureSchuler ShoesSPIRE Credit Union, or Salvation Army Store locations. View a map of drop-off locations.  

In greater Minnesota, drop off nonperishable foods at your local Salvation Army Worship & Service Center anytime in March. 

(High-demand foods include pasta, rice, and peanut butter, plus canned items such as fruit, veggies, and soup.)

Donate online and your gift will be matched: Help us feed hungry families by donating online. Your gift will be matched, up to $10,000. This matching opportunity means a gift of just $25 become $50 – enough to buy up to 280 pounds of food for Salvation Army food pantries. 

Host a food drive: Collect nonperishable foods from friends, neighbors, coworkers, church members, and others. We will send you a Food Drive Starter Kit that includes tips and promotional materials for your website or social media. When you’ve finished your collection, bring your food to The Salvation Army’s headquarters in Roseville, 2445 Prior Ave. N., on Saturday, April 1 for a special drive-thru weigh-in event. (Read about successful grassroots food drives from previous years.) 

Buy a Star Tribune newspaper on Sunday, March 12: Inside the newspaper you’ll find a brown paper bag. Fill the bag with nonperishable foods and bring it to a participating drop-off location, or donate money by scanning the QR code on the bag. 

Volunteer: Do you have time to spare? Support our food drive by helping us unload delivery vehicles, weigh food, stock shelves, and more. Sign up to volunteer now. 


Watch this video message from Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, leader of the Salvation Army Northern Division, about why this year’s food drive is so important. 


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