Two Days Without Food

May 1, 2020

Joseph hadn’t eaten in two days when the Salvation Army emergency meal box arrived at his door. It was filled with bread, oatmeal, peanut butter, soup, some frozen dinner entrees. And hope.

“Honestly, I was ready to go to the grocery store and just eat something,” he said about the difficult days before an Army volunteer placed the box on his front stoop. “But I don’t want to beg. And I was scared to go out of the house with all my health issues.” 

Joseph is 65 and suffers from heart problems, diabetes, COPD, and high cholesterol. The medications for all his ailments cost $600 a month. When his insurance recently required that he buy three months of his medications just two days before his Social Security check was due to arrive, he knew it was going to be tight.

After a couple lean months, Joseph realized he was running out of food. When he was down to just crackers, he called 311. The two days before the food box arrived from The Salvation Army, all he had was water.

Joseph is exactly the kind of person City organizers had in mind when they launched the Chicago Emergency Food Coordination Center in partnership with The Salvation Army and other partners. Residents who are homebound or quarantined due to the coronavirus and in need of direct food deliveries call 311, the City’s social services emergency line. The center coordinates with the Army for delivery of an emergency meal box, which contains enough food for one person for a week.

Asked about his favorite of the items in the meal box, Joseph replied, “Just food. Seriously, I can eat anything.”

Joseph, an Army veteran who has lived alone since his wife lost her battle with breast cancer two years ago, was so appreciative that he called the Army and left a voicemail message. “I want to thank The Salvation Army . . . I went two days without food,” was all he was able to get out before breaking down in tears.

“You don’t know how much a basic like food is appreciated until you really need it,” he told a Salvation Army staff member in a subsequent phone call. “Thank you very much for all the help you gave me. It meant a lot to me.”

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


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


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