A recent article reported on the decision by The Salvation Army to discontinue the use of its building as a REAL Services lunch site. The Advisory Board supported this decision for many reasons that were not reflected in the story.
Providing food to those who are hungry is certainly a need in our community, as is care for our seniors. The Army works to meet those needs by maintaining an emergency food pantry and by serving a free breakfast to an average of 145 people of all ages and from all walks of life. In May, the Army began a new program called “Mobile Manna”. This service delivers groceries to homebound seniors, offering them a way to prepare fresh meals with their personal dietary needs in mind. Volunteer grocery shoppers and delivery helpers currently have the capacity to serve 20 to 25 seniors each month in this way.As the need for food was evaluated during the development of this program, four other sites within walking distance of the Army’s building were found to also be serving lunch to seniors — one of those sites actually being another REAL Services location. The lunch site at the Army had declined to an average of only five to eight participants for more than a year, and in fact served more volunteers and their families than it did seniors. The Advisory Board could not in good conscience appear to support such a duplication of resources, particularly using government funds.JOAN RHOADE