On the low stone wall in front of the old library on Spring Garden Road sits a man bundled in a weathered snowsuit, his hands curled around a hot bowl of soup. Beside him sits a milk-crate filled with some of his possessions.
Parked in front of him is The Salvation Army Community Response Unit (CRU), a mobile kitchen that, every Wednesday from November to March, provides hot soup, fruit, and water to those in need.
Increased living and food expenses are making it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to make ends meet. Often, the most vulnerable people in our community are facing the difficult decision between buying basic groceries and paying rent. As the cost of necessities continues to rise, so too does the need for assistance. Volunteer Dave Jackson says, “We see as many as 50 people come by for a hot meal.”
The mild weather makes it often easy to forget that many men, women and youth are experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. While many of us have the luxury of switching from our winter jackets to something lighter, those facing homelessness are challenged with finding a warm place to sleep.
Jan Keats, Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator, says, “Getting proper nutrition while homeless or in an unstable housing situation is incredibly difficult. This might be the only meal someone has today. If we can provide a healthy and filling soup, it is one less thing for that person to worry about. Moreover, it offers a bit of dignity and hope to someone in need.”
L to R: Volunteer Dave Jackson, Divisional Commander Major Wade Budgell, Area Commander Major Wayne Loveless work on the CRU