Children's Gift Offers Chance for a Lesson About Need

Aug 18, 2023

Cousins Emarie, Ellyse, Kamdyn, and Cannon had a summer birthday party at the pool. Instead of gifts for themselve, they asked party guests to bring food for people who didn't have enough to eat.

Major Connie Shaw and Envoy Shannon Benner, along with the help of the cousins' moms, weighed the donations when everything was delivered to The Salvation Army and found out that the kids had gathered an incredible 232 pounds of food! Then the children then enjoyed a tour of the spaces where the food is sorted and prepared for our food pantry, which is open Mondays and Fridays, 1-3:30, every other week.

The children were curious about a half box of cat food that they saw, so Envoy Shannon asked if they had pets. They all had dogs, so she asked if their dogs ate every day, to which they said yes. We shared that people sometimes ask us for food to feed their pets, too, and when we have it, we gladly supply it.

The kids were excited to get their exclusive "behind the scenes tour" to see bare pallets from food that had already been discributed. With the pantry demands increasing, it takes donations like the one from these caring cousins to feed the hundreds of people who receive food each month.

The homeless community is also served by The Salvation Army, so the children were shown the shelves of supplies for this population and learned the importance toilet paper has to the unhoused.

Next the cousins visited the dining room, where approximately 2,500 meals are served to the hungry every month. Envoy Shannon explained how there's no such thing as a holiday from eating and that food is provided every day of the year. The Salvation Army provides hot meals, Monday through Friday with dine-in available 11:30-12:15 and to-go orders handed out from noon to 12:30. Weekends and holidays are also coordinated so that coverage is 365 days a year.

They were concerned by the lack of drinks, but were reassured even though The Salvation Army no longer has Gatorade, juice or canned sodas, that bottled water is still available.

Lastly, the children saw the clothing area and shoe rack where people are allowed to take four items of clothing per day, Monday through Friday, 11:30-12:30. We told them about the homeless lady who showed up without owning shoes and how when she left today, she had a pair of her own.

They saw that socks and underwear that are given out daily and that the space for size 30/32 jeans was empty. Envoy Shannon explained that some sizes are harder to come by, and that one homeless man has been waiting for a clean pair of pants for over 2 weeks. She reassured the children that someone will donate them, just like how they had donated food.

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