Salvation’s summer meals a success

Published 8:46 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

What started out as a summer feeding program turned into a community bonding experience at the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army partnered with Cover 3 Foundation to provide the meals for the children. Cover 3 is a non-profit that provides meals for kids that otherwise might go hungry.

Meals were provided to children 18 and under from noon to 1 p.m. at the Salvation Army location, 400 Bank St. two days a week, and it was considered an open site. Being an open site meant that they served any child that came in for a meal or snack, and the children didn’t have to meet any qualifications.

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The Salvation Army had big expectations for the summer, and they were originally receiving 40 meals for the children, but they quickly had to move down to 20. On average they see about 13 kids a day, Capt. Johnny Anthony.

“That’s 13 kids that wouldn’t have had a meal otherwise,” Anthony said.

While the intent of the program was to provide meals, Anthony and the staff at the Salvation Army bonded with each of the kids that came to get a meal.

“They would come on Tuesday and Friday, but now they stop in every day just to say hello,” Anthony said. “They’ll come in and play out back and to get some water. For them, it’s a place to eat and chill.”

Anthony is happy they have a place where they can have fun and not worry about where their next meal is coming from.

Not only are they providing food, but Anthony believes they are preventing these kids from getting into some bad behavior.

“Since we are feeding them here it keeps them from stealing food from some store,” Anthony said. “We just don’t want to any kid to go hungry.”

Now, Anthony finds it difficult to get work done some days because he has kids coming by and asking him to hang out and have a good time, but sometimes he finds them wanting to help out at every turn.

Anytime he finds himself picking up trash or doing menial tasks, the children are right there on his heels asking what they can do to help.

“It makes me feel awesome. Since we’ve done it they become a part of our family here,” Anthony said. “Meals led to relationships, and we realize that this can help them.”

These meals also help the parents a great deal, because they can worry just a little less about having to make sure their kid is getting the food they may not be able to afford.

“The meals really help the parents. They know their kid is getting something to eat, and it makes me feel good just by providing a bag of hot dogs,” Anthony said.

The program will be ending the last week of August, but Anthony is sure that it will be back next summer.

He even hopes that they can open it up for more than just two days or possibly for the whole week.