August 2, 2009
For many Americans, a full stomach is something taken for granted. Our nation has an abundance of food, ranging from the highly nutritious to the downright gratuitous (did we really need to cover Oreos with chocolate?).
And still, even when our economy was humming along, scores of people went hungry on a daily basis. Now that many Americans are facing reduced wages, if they were able to even hold onto their jobs, more of them are showing up at food pantries and soup kitchens to help ensure their families get at least one decent meal a day.
As reported last week by The Democrat’s Tonya Fennell, the Salvation Army soup kitchen at 1200 E. Broadway Blvd. is feeding more people on a daily basis than it has before, and it would provide even more meals if head cook Mark Bergman had more resources.
“When I first started, the most (people) I saw in one day was 43,” Bergman said, adding, “I’ve seen between 60 and 90 people daily for the last month and a half.”
The meals Bergman is able to provide are greatly appreciated by those who show up for lunch.
“This place is a godsend,” said Alice Stoltman, who lives on a limited income due to a disability.
Unfortunately, the recent increase in patrons has forced Bergman to turn some people away hungry.
Salvation Army Capt. Mark Haslett noted that the soup kitchen is supported solely by community donations. And while currently the program is “squeaking by by the skin of our teeth,” Haslett has hopes to expand and offer more variety and higher quality meals.
American entrepreneur and journalist Susan L. Taylor said, “Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”
The Salvation Army’s honorable noontime effort may not yet be at crisis stage, but we can help ensure it does not reach that point. We can help nourish our community by making donations to support the soup kitchen and, in turn, those who benefit from the bounty it provides each day.
HOW TO HELP
Donations of financial support or canned or boxed, unprepared food can be dropped off at the Salvation Army facility at 1200 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, call 826-1525.