Walker County Delivers with Senior Feeding Program

One of the most considerable impacts made by The Salvation Army Walker County Service Center is its Senior Feeding Program. The program started in 2019, and services have amplified due to COVID-19. Volunteers and staff deliver groceries to between 250-300 seniors every week, with a high of 400 one week. Groceries are taken to the homes of seniors who cannot grocery shop for themselves due to illness, lack of transportation, or lack of money. The program caters to those aged 60 and above, with $600 or less a month.

“When we do this, I’m cautious about what I purchase for those bags of groceries because these seniors have no transportation. They don’t have a family who is active in their lives, so they don’t have someone to take them to the store,” stated Cynthia Smith, Walker County Social Services Director.

“They’re at a high risk to complications from COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions or old age, so we try to pack complete meals. If we supply a box of hamburger helper, we’re also going to be sure to supply the meat and milk to go with it,” Smith added.

The Walker County Service Center also works with a produce truck that comes on Thursday mornings at 6 AM to collect produce boxes, which typically contain milk, eggs, cheese, potatoes, and onions. Grocery bags are packed according to the supplies received from produce boxes. Reusable face masks are also placed in the boxes every few months to replace old or torn masks. Personal hygiene products, toilet paper, and other cleaning supplies are also included in the delivery.

The service center also partners with the Walker County District Attorney’s Office for senior meal delivery for seniors under mandatory isolation and quarantine. The Salvation Army provides and packs the groceries, and police officers will deliver them to seniors who cannot leave their homes.

“If they need sugar, it’s in there. If they need flour, it’s in there. We make sure to pack whatever they may need,” Smith stated.

“When we take groceries, we knock on the door to let them know that we’ve delivered the groceries and step away. We know them so well now that sometimes we exchange air hugs or they’ll blow kisses. Sometimes they cry. One woman cried because it had been years since she’d last seen peanut butter,” Smith added.

Walker County Service Center: “We’re more than just a thrift store.”

COVID-19 has impacted most communities in one way or another. Some have adjusted by working and learning from home, and others follow CDC guidelines with their office life. Some lost their jobs or received pay cuts that have altered the daily functioning of their lives. Some families suffered such financial hardship that they have turned to The Salvation Army for assistance with food, utilities, and holiday aid.

‘There’s just so much that The Salvation Army does. We are more than a thrift store,” stated Cynthia Smith, Walker County Service Center Director.

Although The Salvation Army provides food and hydration for our neighbors in need, we also provide financial relief amid COVID-19. People who have never been in the system before have reached out to The Salvation Army throughout 2020. Some have lost their jobs, had pay cuts, or gotten sick from COVID-19 and weren’t able to work, which meant they couldn’t pay their bills. Smith was able to get a grant for the Walker County Service Center to take care of all of anyone who needed aid’s bills for a month. It gave them a month of not having to worry about bills. The bill type didn’t matter (car note, insurance, utilities, etc.). If they showed a need, The Salvation Army would cover it.
“Now what we are seeing is people who are actually sick with the coronavirus who need assistance with their bills. We’re also dealing with house fires and other disasters this time of year,” Smith stated.

Other ways the Walker County Service Center offers assistance includes Project Share, where we cover utilities for seniors or anyone who is on 100% disability. The Army is also partnered with Daybreak Family Resource Center, which deals with domestic abuse. When women and children have a domestic violence situation, it’s through this program. It’s confidential and hidden away to keep them safe. Most of them leave home with nothing to escape the abusive situation. When they are ready to get back out on their own and get a new home, the Army supply’s them with food and household goods.
The Walker County Service Center is also partnered with the Department of Human Resources. Six children were taken from their parents due to substance abuse and placed with a great aunt and uncle. The new guardians didn’t have any clothes for the children or the resources to provide those necessities. Smith allowed the family to come into the thrift store after hours and let them shop for anything they needed, free of charge.

“A little girl came running across the center to me, and she had something cuffed in her hand. She looked at me and said, ‘Can I have this!?’ She was so excited, and I looked to see what it was. It was a pair of socks. She’d never had a pair of socks, and it meant the world to her. She received her first pair of socks at age four. These are the things that we can do,” Smith shared.

To learn more about what The Salvation Army does to serve the Walker County community, visit To Support the Walker County Service Center, donate at

Providing Food and Hydration to Students in Walker County Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Salvation Army of Walker County, AL has assisted the Walker County, Marion, Winston, Coleman, Marshall, and Blunt communities throughout the pandemic by helping with rent and utility payments, delivering meals to the elderly, and grocery services, but the most unique service that this corps has provided during the pandemic is partnering with the Jasper County School System to provide snacks and hydration to students who are without water. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, all school water fountains are off-limits, leaving many students who do not bring water dehydrated throughout the school day.

“We have a relationship with the school district, so I reached out to see what could be done for students doing the pandemic. It’s great to be able to help our neighbors,” stated Cynthia Smith, Walker County Service Center Director.

Nearly 87% of students are below the poverty level and have zero percent parent participation. After a Stuff the Bus school supply drop off, Smith asked what The Salvation Army could do to assist these children in need. The school principal asked for the Army to provide water and juice to students. Teachers have provided these supplies in the past, but it gets expensive over time. The Salvation Army received a grant to provide the school with hydration and snacks for the entire school year. Water delivery services began in October 2020, and hundreds of cases have been delivered to schools since then.


“If there’s a problem, there’s a solution.”


During Covid-19 isolation, students at Maddox Intermediate School in Jasper County had to bring the proper paperwork to schools to enroll for online learning. One of the students confided in the school librarian, Molly Bailey, informing her that she didn’t have food at home. Bailey, a United Way Spokesperson for Jasper County, called The Salvation Army and told Smith about her student’s situation.
“If there’s a problem, there’s a solution. I called Ms. Cindy [Cynthia Smith], and she immediately told me to go to Suns Grocery in Jasper and get that baby and that family whatever they need food-wise. No questions asked. It gives me the chills just thinking about this,” Bailey shared.

Bailey and another teacher grocery shopped for the student’s family and delivered the groceries to the child’s home. The confidentiality stays there so that the child doesn’t receive backlash for letting someone know that they need food.
“That teacher and I filled up two grocery buggies with groceries. We were thorough and thought through what we should get for the mom and her two daughters. We were able to feed this family for weeks and help the mom get back on her feet. We couldn’t have done that without Ms. Cindy and The Salvation Army. The mom didn’t ask for groceries, but it was the right thing to do,” Bailey stated.
Bailey signed up to volunteer with The Salvation Army during COVID-19 and became a regular volunteer.
“We built a rapport with the Salvation Army and ended up turning to them to partner to help our school systems provide water for students,” Bailey stated.
“I got my role of United Way spokesperson through volunteering with the Salvation Army. Ms. Cindy is a huge blessing to all of Walker County, whether we notice it or not. She does what she can to help those around her. No matter who they are., if she sees a need, she’s going to help or find someone who can. If we know there’s a need with students, we will help them,” Bailed added.

“There’s just so much that The Salvation Army does.”


The Walker County Service Center also partners with The Children’s Advocacy Center for abused kids. Comfort food provided by The Salvation Army helps these kids who have dealt with trauma to open up and become more welcoming to receiving help. The Army also helps Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), where students in foster care go for a safe place to visit with potential adoptive parents. These kids are also entered into the Angel Tree Program so that they can receive gifts for Christmas.
“That’s something they don’t have in their budget, but we do. So the organization comes to us for comfort food for their programs to help make the kids comfortable,” Smith stated.


“All of the kettles add up and it all helps.”


“I tell my funders that we’re blessed. Everyone has a role that God puts them in. For many, their role is the funder. It comes down to the journey of that donation. We’re on the front line. We see the donations and exactly how far every dollar goes when paired with other donations and how they help others. It’s huge. It all starts with the giving,” Smith stated.
“Partnerships are huge within our community. As we partner with other agencies, we can reach so many more people within our communities, but it all starts with that donor. If they didn’t do it, we couldn’t do what we do. For instance, with kettles. Many people think they are just sticking a little bit of change in it, but that change adds up. Last year, my granddaughter requested to add a kettle to her school. She and her classmates rang the bell upfront at their school for one week. At the end of that week, they’d raised $600 plus dollars in change from one small elementary school. That taught those kids what it means to give. You’re never too young to start giving, and you’re never too young to start volunteering. You can make a difference.
“All of the kettles add up, and it all helps. You figure out a way to make it happen, and you don’t stop. Our social services have not stopped since Covid-19 began, and that’s what you do. That’s what our mission is. That’s what we’re here for. You don’t stop when you’re tired; you stop when the job’s done, and it’s not done yet,” Smith added.