Local Salvation Army in need of canned goods, other food

Published 6:37 pm Saturday, September 17, 2016

The pantry at the Salvation Army of Vicksburg is more sparse than usual; the food boxes they hand out to those in need are a little lighter than they would like.

The cans that used to fill the shelves range in the tens instead of the hundreds. And the need has not decreased with the decrease in available foodstuffs, Maj. Steve Welch said.

“It’s kind of hard because you just have to work with what you have,” he said of the process for packaging the boxes of food the Salvation Army distributes each Tuesday and Thursday.

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Valerie Cook, who handles social services for the Army, estimated she distributes 13 to 15 boxes each distribution day that range in size from 30 pounds to 100 pounds depending on what is available.

“We look to put all non-perishables in the boxes: canned goods, pasta, sugar, coffee, fruit cocktails and other stuff like that,” Cook said.

She attributed the dip to an increase in demand.

“They have not normally been coming in like this,” she said. “Normally the beginning of the month, I may have three or four people come in. They’ve been surprising me. Even at the beginning of the month, they’ve been coming in.

“I heard from a lady the other day and she said a lot of people had been cut off food stamps, so that may be why.”

Welch said most of the regular donations they receive are from other non-profits and local businesses, but donations dip in the summer months.

“We don’t get as many donations of time, money or food in the summer months through late fall,” he said.

Cook said the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary has been providing food.

“They’ve been bringing some here and there. That’s how we’re surviving now,” she said. “We were able to make 10 boxes Tuesday because of what they brought in.”

Welch said the food they receive is either dented, in the case of cans, or “either out of date or soon to be out of date, but still good.”

If anyone wishes to donate food to the Salvation Army, call (601) 636-2706. Cook said the organization would be happy to pick up any donations.

“It’s not a problem at all for us to come pick anything up,” she said.