The Salvation Army of Laurel’s Emergency Food Assistance program has dramatically increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bankruptcy, health conditions, and lack of government assistance left a Laurel, Mississippi family strapped for money and food during the pandemic. Grandparents have become caregivers so that parents can work during the pandemic, resulting in a need for more food to keep children fed. The family turned to The Salvation Army for assistance and received weekly food boxes to aid them during financial recovery.
“We have been able to do weekly distributions due to community support and local food assistance programs. The family has since shared how this food has kept them from going hungry and how The Salvation Army’s outreach to this family has encouraged them during a difficult time in their lives. This is why we exist; to help our neighbors in need,” shared Major Raymond Pruitt, Laurel Corps Officer.
Another family applied through the Angel Tree program and needed bedroom furniture for their children. Laurel Corps Officers informed the community of the need to help this family. A donor saw news coverage of the need and purchased beautiful new beds for the family right away. The Salvation Army delivery truck needed repair and was unable to deliver beds to the family, so the donor also donated an additional $600 to pay for our vehicle to get out of the shop. The Salvation Army delivered the new furniture to the family, thanks to this giving individual.
“Our neighbors help us just as much as we help them. It’s a community effort to make sure everyone is well taken care of. We are so appreciative of our donors, and we’re blessed and thankful to be here to serve the Laurel community,” Major Pruitt shared.
Whether it’s manning the kettles during the Christmas season or manning a Salvation Army canteen to help flood survivors, it truly takes an army to serve those in need across Northwest Louisiana. Because of all their hard work, a “thank you” luncheon on Monday was more than just a meal, but a gathering of angels.
Majors Ed and Carla Binnix, who lead The Salvation Army of Northwest Louisiana, along with Advisory Board and Women’s Auxiliary members called together community leaders and first responders to share lunch and tell them how much they are needed and appreciated.
“You are an incredible blessing,” said Major Carla Binnix.
Major Carla leads hundreds of volunteers who make sure nearly three thousand children and families receive gifts and food during the holidays through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. But, she also has appreciation for all those who donated and purchased gifts and toys.
“Your gift is more than a toy, it is a picture of grace and mercy for a child you’ll never meet,” said Major Carla Binnix
In March, heavy rains led to floods destroying home after home leaving thousands with no power and in need of shelter, food and cleaning supplies. Led by the Binnixes, The Salvation Army worked hand in hand with first responders to serve flood survivors as well as police, fire and paramedics. Again, with the help of the corporate community, whether it was food, water or supplies, by the grace of God, all needs were met.
“You are helping people who never thought they’d be entering the doors of The Salvation Army,” said Advisory Board Chairwoman, Sonja Bailes.
Bailes reminded the 200 in attendance, God is seen in their work and through you He will make a difference.
“The Salvation Army was founded on the motto of Soup, Soap and Salvation,” said Bailes. “That remains the core emphasis today.”
Major Carla Binnix also unveiled a new piece of art that will recognize the top corporate partner each year following Christmas. The angel’s wings signifies the sponsor who completes the most Angel Tree requests with two toys and one clothing item. The sponsor who does will receive the wings for display at their business for the entire year.
The need across the nation is year round. If you would like to help The Salvation Army of Northwest Louisiana or any of our other 30 corps in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi you can find the location nearest you and donate here: www.salvationarmyalm.org