Salvation Army survives crisisPublished 1:53pm Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Three days away from closing its doors due to lack of food in early November, the Niles Salvation Army sent out a desperate cry for help to the community.
The community answered in a big way.
Food pantry shelves that were empty a month ago are now overflowing with nonperishable food items. Boxes upon boxes of food are piled up in a storage room at a local church waiting to be sorted, packaged and sent home with needy families.
In less than a month, the community brought in more than 10,000 pounds of food to the Niles Salvation Army, according to an estimate by Jan Nowak, the organization’s director of caring ministries and social services.
“We have stood jaws slacked and eyes moist as people walked in the door with stuff, just stunned at the outpouring,” Nowak said. “There were drives going on that we didn’t even know about. People picked up the ball and ran with it and we are so thankful.”
While the crisis is over at the Niles Salvation Army, Nowak said the organization is not out of the woods yet.
What the community brought in is expected to last only for the next two to three months.
“The need is always going to be there,” Major Tracy Walters of the Niles Salvation Army said. “We are trying to encourage people to know that even if they helped before the holidays, we are still going to need their help in January. Even though we have a lot of food now, we will go through it quickly.”
The Niles Salvation Army assists more than 100 families a month and that number is growing, according to Nowak.
Because of this, the Niles Salvation Army is considering adding a second heavy food drive in October or November each year.
“Realistically, until we see a significant upturn in the economy I expect we will need to do a second drive in order to keep up with support,” Nowak said.
The Niles Salvation Army has relied on one heavy food drive each year — the postal service’s Stamp-Out Hunger food drive in May. Nowak said they have been receiving less and less food from the postal drive over the past several years.
Tags: Niles Salvation Army