2013-12-12 / Opinion

Salvation Army Meals Nourish

To the Editor:

In reading the article in the Nov. 27 issue of Newport This Week regarding local soup kitchens, I was surprised by the line “The food offerings range from the Salvation Army’s Friday night selection of hot dogs, pasta and salad to a meal served at Community Baptist that Deacon Willa Johnson describes as four star.” The meals served at the Salvation Army vary; sometimes they do serve hot dogs or spaghetti and meatballs and other nights roasted meats, potatoes and vegetables are offered. On Nov. 24 a complete Thanksgiving meal was served. The kitchen is operated by volunteers with varied culinary skills, but regardless of what is on the menu it is made with one goal in mind: to provide a homestyle meal to our fellow citizens.

The Salvation Army serves two soup kitchens per week, an effort that is very demanding to its leaders, budget, building and volunteers. The Salvation Army remodeled its kitchen last year and is working hard to improve their current location, which serves as a church, kids club, and social service center. They rely on donations to keep their doors open and operate on a shoestring budget and are as resourceful as possible. Although it is good to have some much needed press on the subject, it seemed The Salvation Army’s menu was depicted in a slightly negative light. Not everyone is seeking a gourmet meal. All meal sites are different and comparing them like you would be comparing local restaurants should not be the goal. As you did mention, nobody waits in line and it is a friendly welcoming environment where many come not just to eat, but to be part of a fellowship.

We are fortunate that we live in a community where there truly is a hot meal served every night of the week. Your article was a great wake-up call to the need in our own backyard. There are many meal sites and faithful, caring volunteers work tirelessly to make that happen.

Michael Dawson Newport Salvation Army Advisory Board Member

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