A Special Birthday Celebration Helps to Fill the Shelves at a Salvation Army Food Bank

cans of food sit by Salvation Army truck. Donor and Community and family services director stand alongside
by SalvationArmy.ca
Categories: Articles, Blog, Feature, Mobile, Newswire

When COVID-19 hit Canada, day by day, things changed, and lives were put on hold. Due to restrictions that were put in place to keep everyone safe, Lisa was unable to celebrate her 25th birthday with the party she had longed for. But she still found a way to make it memorable.

“Growing up, I never had the luxury of selecting a snack or cereal of my choice. We simply couldn’t afford it,” says Lisa. “By donating to a Salvation Army food bank, I was able to pay my success forward and am grateful to be someone who could make a difference.”

“By donating to a Salvation Army food bank, I was able to pay my success forward”

Born in Guyana, Lisa and her mom eventually fled due to an abusive relationship her mother was in. They moved to the U.S. to be closer to family. But when her mom’s visa ran out, she had no status or access to resources. Essential purchases, such as food, became a challenge.

“Mom made $100 a week, and $50 of that went to my daycare provider,” says Lisa. “It was hard eating little, and watching my mom eat less.”

At age eight, Lisa and her mom moved to Canada to begin a new life. In 2019, Lisa graduated from university and secured a  job in sales.

“I am blessed to still have my job,” says Lisa. “When it came to my birthday, I was unable to celebrate due to the virus and had read how food banks were suffering. I asked family and friends to donate money instead of gifts. I collected more than $800 to buy food.”

Lisa looked online to find a food bank and saw that The Salvation Army ran one is Oshawa, Ont., where she lives.

“I aligned with their values and knew that’s who I wanted to support”

“The fact that The Salvation Army was a Christian organization appealed to me,” says Lisa. “I aligned with their values and knew that’s who I wanted to support.”

It was an exciting day when Lisa and her best friend arrived at the food bank with a carload of food items. It was also humbling to see people from all walks of life lined up for help—people who had no option other than that so they could eat something for the next few days.

“On The Salvation Army’s website, we found a list of food items needed and bought everything on the list,” says Lisa. “From canned goods to cereal to snacks and tuna, we filled my Volkswagen.

“What The Salvation Army does is phenomenal,” continues Lisa. “Their influence on society is incredible, and I was grateful to be part of that.”

By Linda Leigh