Salvation Army Feeding Program Closes the Hunger Gap

Salvation Army emergency disaster services delivers boxes of produce to low-income families

For many low-income children, attending school is not only an opportunity to learn, but a chance to have access to adequate and nutritious food. But when schools and feeding programs closed due to COVID-19, already vulnerable children were at risk of being hungry.

“The Ontario School Nutrition Program approached The Salvation Army to help with food delivery,” says Trevor McLellan, emergency disaster services coordinator. “It was a no brainer. People in low-income neighbourhoods needed assistance and we had the resources.”

Every Friday, from April until late August, boxes of produce provided by the school nutrition program were delivered to The Salvation Army and then to one of eight locations. The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services truck handed out 1,200 boxes of fresh food items that included potatoes, lettuce, vegetables and fruit.

Families receive boxes of fresh produce

Families receive boxes of fresh produce

“I want to thank The Salvation Army for supporting our families throughout the summer,” says Heather Fleming, vice principal at Rick Hansen Public School. “Our most vulnerable community members knew that someone cared about what they were going through and that they weren’t alone. That is powerful!”

Fleming goes on to say that because of the partnership between The Salvation Army and the Ontario School Nutrition Program families ate together and no one had less food because there wasn’t enough, parents could now afford basic back-to-school supplies and those with health issues didn’t have to go to a grocery store where they were more vulnerable.

“There were often tears as families received their boxes,” says Fleming. “They were overwhelmed by the generosity and support.”

“To see the direct impact of our services was rewarding,” says McLellan. “People arrived without food and left with food. We were happy to fill in the gap for children and families who may have gone hungry during this time of crisis.”

By Linda Leigh