Every Monday night, Candace Neumann serves up food to some of society’s most vulnerable people at The Salvation Army’s hot meal program in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Candace is just one of 140,000 volunteers who help The Salvation Army.
During National Volunteer Week, from April 10 to 16, we want to take time to celebrate their contributions and thank them for their support.
“Every day, Salvation Army volunteers contribute their time and skills to improve the well-being of marginalized people,” says Major Murray Jaster of The Salvation Army in Medicine Hat. “They are a vital resource that increases our capacity to respond to community challenges.”
Many people who attend the hot meal program in Medicine Hat are dealing with inadequate access to food and difficult life situations. “One day a man experiencing homelessness was shivering so bad he needed help carrying his plate to the table,” says Candace. “The meal program helps us connect with people and look for solutions to their other concerns as well.”
The hot meal program wouldn’t run as effectively without volunteers. On any given night 75 people gather around tables to socialize and eat nutritious food.
“There are people who come with deeper issues such as housing challenges or food insecurity,” says Candace. “Volunteers free up Salvation Army workers to come alongside them and help where possible.”
With close to 30,000 meals being served every year, it would be impossible for The Salvation Army to run the program without its volunteers.
“If clergy and Salvation Army staff are the heart and soul of ministries such as this, then
volunteers are the backbone and the body. Without them, it would simply not get done," says Major Jaster.
“Helping someone go to bed with a full stomach is the right thing to do,” says Candace. “My faith encourages me to help alleviate another’s misfortune. Feeding the hungry through The Salvation Army is a good fit for me.”