Looking Back: Spotlight on Pandemic-relief Volunteers the Haughawout Family
One year ago, communities across The Salvation Army Western Division -- which serves Nebraska, South Dakota and western Iowa -- began to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at our Omaha headquarters, we immediately initiated a pandemic-relief response to help those communities fight back. Twelve months later, as we continue our COVID-relief efforts, we are looking back to salute The Salvation Army volunteers who so readily and generously answered the initial call to serve. We conclude this series today with Natalie Haughawout’s story.
Natalie Haughawout has a long history with The Salvation Army, first as a client and more recently as a volunteer. During the years that Natalie’s husband, Scott, was in medical school in Kansas City and completing his internship and residency in Texas, the couple, who had young children at the time, reached out to The Salvation Army for help. “We didn’t have an income, so money was tight,” said Natalie. “The Salvation Army provided food for our Thanksgiving dinners, gifts for the kids and food at Christmas, clothes and even financial assistance.”
Back when the Haughawouts were struggling to make ends meet, Natalie made a promise to herself. “I always said that as soon as we were done with medical school and residency, we would start giving back,” she said. Today, Dr. Scott Haughawout is a spine specialist at Nebraska Spine and Pain Center, and Natalie has kept true to her word: she and her four kids – ages 14, 15, 18 and 19 -- volunteer for The Salvation Army at every available opportunity.
Last March, Natalie, Sarah, Jacob, Ethan and Adam signed up with The Salvation Army to help distribute food to kids and families in need at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Council Bluffs. The distribution was part of the Mobile BackPack Program, a multi-agency effort led by Food Bank for the Heartland. The family showed up to pitch in every Friday from mid-March until schools reopened in early August.
“The kids loved it. It was a good experience for them, and I think it made them more humble and grateful,” Natalie acknowledged.
The Haughawouts also helped prepare and deliver Thanksgiving meals for The Salvation Army’s annual TurkeyFest, sorted toys for the Toyland distribution and rang bells to help raise money for local programs. They plan to continue volunteering for The Salvation Army as long as there are opportunities available.
“When we had nothing, The Salvation Army helped,” said Natalie. “Now it’s our turn to pay it forward.”