Highlighting Feeding Programs in Louisiana

We’re ending our month of feeding highlights with Louisiana. The Salvation Army locations throughout Louisiana provided thousands of meals and groceries to neighbors in need last year. The Shreveport Corps distributed a total of 85,842 of those meals and the Baton Rouge Corps distributed 95,948.

These two Corps display extraordinary participation in their communities by sending canteens out into extreme temperatures, community holiday celebrations, providing additional food assistance to other local shelters and churches, and so much more. For above and beyond involvement, the Army is highlighting Baton Rouge and Shreveport for outstanding services within their communities.

Baton Rouge

Corps Officers: Major Donald Tekautz and Lieutenant Julie Tekautz

There are food pantries that operate on a daily or near-daily basis in the Baton Rouge area, so The Salvation Army provides an emergency food pantry that supplies food for up to a week for families. Appointments and drop-ins are welcome once a year, Monday – Friday 8 AM – 4:30 PM. The prepped boxes include enough food to feed 4-5 people for up to a week. Daily feedings are available for the shelter’s rehabilitation program (CSRC), and there are two meals a day for residents of the location.

The Baton Rouge location offers many community feeding opportunities, including Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as annual spring and fall festivals. The spring festival includes an Easter egg hunt held at the corps office and a canteen that provides lunches for families that come out to enjoy the festivities. The fall festival takes place around Halloween and is a similar event involving harvest-themed fun for children and families. The corps also hosts a “Back to School” fair each July, where the canteen goes into the Baton Rouge community for mass feeding. Last year’s event had around 1,000 attendees.

Shreveport

Corps Officers: Lieutenants Jamaal and Tamarique Ellis

The Shreveport Corps has a total of 111 beds and offers breakfast to anyone who spends the night. Lunch and dinner are open to those same residents as well as any newcomers. The shelter provides 250-300 meals per day on average.

The corps takes the mobile canteen into the community multiple times a month, depending on the extremity of weather. The canteen runs more during hot and cold weather, supplying refreshing beverages during the summer months and warm soup and hot chocolate during the winter months. Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis says the shelter is aware that the homeless don’t always come to the Army for help. Hence, the Army goes to them, bringing substances to help sustain individuals through harsh temperatures. It has become a routine, and now individuals know when to expect The Salvation Army canteen and gather to receive assistance.

The Shreveport Corps does a monthly feeding at Holy Cross Hope House, a day shelter in downtown Shreveport where the homeless can shower and wash their clothes. Hope House doesn’t offer food, so the Army partners with them for food assistance. The Army also helps with feedings in the Cedar Grove community, an area with a large homeless and underprivileged population. The canteen goes out as needed for these partnerships.

A food pantry is also available in Shreveport, and groceries are provided twice a week to anyone who signs up through Social Services. The Shreveport Corps provided 480 boxes of groceries to the community last year.

Hunger Is Curable

Each night in the U.S., 17.4 million families go to bed hungry. An additional 6.9 million families experience low food security, not knowing where or how they’ll receive their next meal. The Salvation Army ALM collectively served over 1 million meals in 2019 and continues to help fight hunger. Our approach to supplying food is based on the needs of each community we serve. Although food insecurity is still a prominent issue in many areas, The Salvation Army is doing its part to help rid this curable circumstance.

 

 

 

 

 

Highlighting Feeding Programs in Alabama

The Salvation Army has a few highlights to share from our Alabama locations. In the past year, our facilities throughout Alabama prepared and served nearly half a million meals for their communities. Assistance programs including meal prep and grocery delivery were also offered. Through all of this benevolence, the Army is highlighting Huntsville, Birmingham, and Montgomery for outstanding services to their communities.

Huntsville

Captains Christopher & Kelly Bryant

The Salvation Army Huntsville Corps offers three feedings a day. Preparations for the community breakfast begin promptly at 4 AM, and breakfast is served at 5:20 AM until 6:20 AM. The Corps Salvage and Rehabilitation Center (CSRC) program’s breakfast is served from 6:30 AM until 7 AM. Cleanup and preparation for lunch begin immediately after breakfast, and lunch is served from 12 PM until 1 PM for everyone. Dinner starts at 4:30 PM until 5:20 PM for the CSRC program, and the community is served from 5:20 PM until 6:20 PM. The mobile kitchen canteen goes out every day at 5 PM for those who are unable to make it to the shelter for dinner.

The CSRC is a Christian-based program focusing on work therapy and overcoming addictions. CSRC participants work with a variety of departments within The Salvation Army – thrift stores, security, maintenance, janitorial, etc. – as they rebuild a sense of routine, responsibility, and for many, self-worth. Program participants throughout the ALM Division receive three meals a day. Huntsville also offers weekend and holiday lunches, which are served from 2 PM until 4 PM.

Birmingham

Majors Charles and Paula Powell 

The Salvation Army’s Birmingham location has a great marketplace pantry located at the Center of Hope that allows people to browse and choose the items they need instead of receiving a pre-made food box that may include things they don’t like or require. It’s staffed and maintained by two hardworking volunteers that work every week. Birmingham provides food assistance through three food pantries in its four-county footprint. The Alabaster Corps and Bessemer Service Center provide food assistance as well. The shelter also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to clients every day of the week. Daily lunch is also offered to the Birmingham community through the corps.

Montgomery

Lieutenants Bryan & Tonya Farrington

The Salvation Army Montgomery Corps serves dinner to clients and the community seven days a week. Staff and volunteers work together to keep a daily continental breakfast and lunch prepared for the CSRC program as well as dinner for both clients and the community. Dinner averages 65-120 individuals daily.

Montgomery serves lunch to the community every Thanksgiving. Food is delivered to the homes of those with physical impairments or lack of transportation. The corps does this by sending and posting fliers to areas that may need meal assistance so that people can register for a Thanksgiving meal. Community churches partner with The Salvation Army on this project by coming in early Thanksgiving morning to prepare the lunches for the big delivery.

The shelter also provides Christmas dinner. Families and individuals receive meals, winter coats, and any extra toys still available after the Angel Tree. There was a delivery of over 1,500 new and gently used coats and over 230 meals served during Christmas 2019.

The shelter also has a community canteen that they refer to as “Big Sally.” Staff and volunteers, in partnership with the Montgomery Sunrise Rotary Club and the Alabama Collision for the Homeless, take the canteen out into the community once every other month to provide food and distribute hygiene products and other necessities to the homeless or those within the community who could use the additional substances. Nearly 150 meals are provided with each outing.

Lt. Bryan Farrington has even reported individuals seeking The Salvation Army’s help with overcoming their addictions because the church is so welcoming to the community and makes receiving necessities (meals and shelter) possible.

Highlighting Feeding Programs in Mississippi

Hundreds of thousands of meals were provided throughout Mississippi by The Salvation Army in 2019. Those meals include home-cooked meals, home-delivered meals, meals provided at the shelter, mobile canteen meals, holiday meals, and more. The Army’s Mississippi feeding program highlights of the year are the Jackson and Tupelo locations, which collectively distributed 159,326 meals last year. These locations offer several assistance programs including grocery assistance and daily meals for their communities. They also host annual events to raise awareness and funds for their local feeding programs, such as Jackson’s SOUPer Bowl and Tupelo’s Empty Bowls.

Jackson

Corps Officers: Majors Robert & Karen Lyle

The Jackson Corps helps to cure hunger by providing nutritious meals to anyone in need. In addition to addressing the immediate symptoms of food insecurity, the programs are designed to help identify and treat its root cause. This holistic approach to the needs of each person helps move many from “hungry” to “fully healed.”

Jackson provides breakfast and dinner 365 days a year at its Center of Hope as well as lunch on the weekends. The Center of Hope is an adult-only shelter that provides breakfast, dinner, counseling, and access to showers, laundry, and other amenities. Residents are also provided with assistance and tools to find employment.

Meals are also provided twice a week through the senior’s programs and once a week through a youth character development class. Food boxes are also offered to every Angel Tree family each Christmas.

A total of 43,490 meals were served and 2,827 grocery orders were distributed by the Jackson corps in 2019. The location also hosted its 23rd annual SOUPer Bowl fundraiser, the main event focused on raising funds for feeding programs, Sunday, February 2, 2020, at the Sparkman Auditorium at the Mississippi Agricultural Museum.

The event takes place every year on Superbowl Sunday and features soups and desserts donated by over 20 local restaurants and served by volunteer local celebrity servers. Past servers have included many Jackson area television and radio personalities and Miss and Mrs. Mississippi. Each year, attendees can taste as many soups and desserts as they would like and enjoy live music, a silent auction, and games.

Tupelo, MS

Corps Officers: Majors Ray & Whitney Morton

“We are painfully aware that Mississippi is the most food-insecure state,” Major Whitney Morton, Tupelo Corps Officer.

Due to this awareness, Major Morton makes sure the Tupelo location is doing its best to keep the community fed and healthy.

The new Tupelo building, which opened in late 2019, features space for families, who before had to live in separate quarters, and a newly expanded Soup Kitchen.

Tupelo has a daily feeding program that serves 75-100 people at lunch and approximately 50 people for dinner. So that all meals are covered in the Tupelo area, a local church serves a hot breakfast each weekday. These meals are available to anyone in the community, free of charge.

The shelter did not have access to a kitchen during summer 2019, and the canteen had broken down and needed significant repairs. To ensure that no one went hungry in their neighborhood, nearby churches, civic groups, food trucks, and partner agencies took turns serving meals prepared off-site and brought to The Salvation Army’s parking lot.

“It was incredible to see the community in action and the church being the church in the fullest sense,” said Major Whitney Morton, Tupelo Corps Officer.

Tupelo served 115,836 meals, provided 664 grocery orders, and delivered 4,343 meals to individual’s homes. These meals are only possible through community donations of funds, food, and friendship. Many of the volunteers who prepare and serve food have been doing so for years. Each weekend for the last eight years, Stone Soup Ministry partners have made and served Saturday lunches in Tupelo. They line up volunteers, pay for the food, and prepare it in time for lunch.

Tupelo served roughly 3,000 meals with the help of 323 volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. Community members began preparation for the holiday weeks in advance, readying green bean casseroles, fluffy sweet potatoes, and dressing. Charter Tupelo Salvation Army Advisory Board member, JenniLynn Johnson, has organized the Thanksgiving Community meal for fifty years.

The Tupelo Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary hosts the community’s most significant annual spring celebration, Empty Bowls, a fundraising event to raise money for feedings at the shelter, similar to Jackson’s SOUPer Bowl. Last year’s event raised over $45,000. This year’s event is Wednesday, March 4.

Conquering Hunger in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

We celebrate food a lot in February. National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, National Tater Tots Day, National Carrot Day, National Homemade Soup Day, National Bagel Day, National Nutella Day. There’s a different celebration for our favorite foods each day of the month, so The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM Division) has decided to celebrate food as well by highlighting the fantastic feeding programs offered throughout our division. Throughout February, we will share stories from Salvation Army locations throughout our division to share how they are doing the most good when it comes to feeding and supporting their communities.

As defined in the 2017 USDA study, “food insecurity” is “a disruption to food intake or eating patterns due to lack of money or other resources.” Through food pantries, community gardens, and feeding programs, The Salvation Army addresses the national food insecurity crisis by providing 56 million nutritious meals annually to anyone in need. Over 1 million of those meals are provided annually by The Salvation Army right here in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Shelters throughout The Salvation Army ALM Division do their part by offering nutritious meals every day, 365 days a year, to anyone in need. Food gardens, food pantries, holiday dinners, and emergency food services are all offered throughout the division as well. Stay with us over the next few weeks as we highlight some of our busiest locations who are keeping their communities full.

Facts About Hunger

  • 99% reported having worried that their food would run out before they got money to buy more.
  • 97% reported that the food they bought just did not last, and they did not have money to get more.
  • 95% reported that they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
  • 96% reported that an adult had cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there was not enough money for food, and 88% reported that this had occurred in three or more months.
  • 93% of respondents reported that they had eaten less than they felt they should because there was not enough money for food.
  • 68% of respondents reported that they had been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food.
  • 48% of respondents reported having lost weight because they did not have enough money for food.
  • 30% reported that an adult did not eat for an entire day because there was not enough money for food, and 24% reported that this had occurred in three or more months.

Families Face the Greatest Threat

  • 19% of all American households with children are food insecure.
  • 35% of households headed by single women are food insecure.
  • 26% of black non-Hispanic households are food insecure.
  • 22% of Hispanic households are food insecure.

Hunger Is Curable

The Salvation Army is dedicated to eliminating food insecurity. We work to cure hunger by providing nutritious meals to anyone in need via food pantries and meal assistance. This includes help for homeless people of all ages as well as individuals and families in need of extra assistance. In addition to addressing the immediate symptoms of food insecurity, our programs are designed to help identify and treat its root cause. Over time, this holistic approach to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of each person helps move many from “hungry” to “fully healed.”