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91104234_2809029459166273_5129621351627227136_n palm beach The Salvation Army in West Palm Beach, Florida held its monthly food distribution with a few safety modifications to continue service during the coronavirus pandemic.

The drive-through service was made possible through donations to the food pantry from the community, Palm Beach Harvest, Whole Foods, and FitTeam Ballpark.

“We are grateful for the community support of businesses such as the FitTeam Ballpark, who donated food that would have been used for the many Spring Training games that were canceled,” says Major Chip and Leisa Hall, Administrators for The Salvation Army serving Palm Beach County. “We are also grateful for the many volunteers, including Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Katherine Waldron, who withstood the midday sun to help others.”

More than 100 families (327 individuals) were served in one day, with an expectation of that number increasing over the coming months.

The Salvation Army in Palm Beach County is seeing an increase in requests across their three social services offices from individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.

Those wishing to support their local Salvation Army food pantry are asked to drop off boxes of non-perishable food items to their local unit or visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/give to make a gift online.

91402590_10163332654935333_1102329134912110592_n sanfordIn these days of social distancing, The Salvation Army in Seminole County (Sanford, Florida) is still committed to connecting with their community.

Over the course of several days, Salvation Army pastors and employees dropped off care packages on the doorsteps of church members and program participants, and even took boxes to a local assisted living facility for seniors that may be feeling the effects of isolation more acutely than others.

The care packages included food bags, water, snacks, activity books, cards, and other personal items.

“We have loved our people from afar,” says Major Julia Tarnue, Administrator for The Salvation Army serving Seminole County. “Smiles, hand waves and “hugs” through windows are not the norm, but I feel we are more connected than ever!”

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

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As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, The Salvation Army in Manatee County (Bradenton, Florida) temporarily suspended its traditional community dinner offered weeknights.

This meal has always been free to anyone in the community in need – regardless if they are homeless or not.  Knowing this is a vital service, the decision was made to hold the community dinner outside and serve meals in to-go packages.

“Initially, we saw a drop-off in our numbers,” stated Tom Giglio, The Salvation Army’s Food Services Manager in Bradenton.  He added, “but now, with so many people losing their jobs and not knowing when they will see a paycheck again, we’ve seen a spike of new people coming for food.  We are seeing many more families than normal now.”

Since so many of the dinner patrons are not homeless, this gives them the opportunity to pick up meals for their family, while staying within the CDC social distancing guidelines and eat that meal in the comfort of their own homes.

Didi, a regular at the community dinner, is appreciative to be able to have a hot meal each evening.  She said, “I am so grateful that The Salvation Army is there to serve this dinner. I worried about what would happen when all of the restaurants had to close, but you are still here to help people like me.”

Mobile handwashing stations have also been put in place to give people a chance to wash their hands before handling their own dinner.  Clients staying at the shelter are also directed to wash their hands when they reenter the building.

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

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After spectators for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg were barred from attending the race due to COVID-19 precautions, food vendors were left with an abundance of items.

With prepped cook-on-demand food, vendors could not travel home with the supplies and thankfully sought local charities to bless.

The men, women, and children at The Salvation Army shelter in St. Petersburg, Florida received salmon, seasoned pork loin, seasoned chicken, bacon, olives, and fresh fruit to enjoy on their weekend menu.

The Salvation Army is grateful to all of the community partners and donors helping continue service to individuals and families in need.

Donations of non-perishable food items, sanitizing supplies, and paper goods are needed across all Salvation Army pantries. Click here to find your local office.

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

 

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delivering meals in lakelandIn trying times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools, churches, and community programs across the United States are closed and, as a result, many young people are in search of nourishment to replace missed meals. In Lakeland, Florida, that is certainly the case, and The Salvation Army is stepping into the gap.

While The Salvation Army Lakeland Corps (church) did not have scheduled services on Sunday, March 15 in order to maintain recommended social distancing, members from the church came, as they do each week, to prepare breakfast.

This meal was then delivered to children that depend on it, with three families that regularly attend weekly activities currently living in hotel rooms.

“Knowing that many of our children rely upon school and corps feeding programs, it became apparent that we would need to step in and fill the food gap for a while until the COVID 19 situation improves,” says Major Barry Corbitt, Administrator for The Salvation Army serving the Lakeland area. “We are grateful for caring church members who go the extra mile to care for our kids.”

The Salvation Army plans to continue this service, beginning on Wednesday evening, in an effort to meet human need.

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*NOTE: These resources are currently only being provided to individuals previously enrolled in The Salvation Army’s programs.

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

With the holiday season approaching and the potential for colder temperatures, a fourth-grade student named Zoey Brown sprang into action.

Zoey, who attends PVPV-Rawlings Elementary School in Ponte Vedra, Florida, was inspired by The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program and, with a bit of help from her family, she created the “Tree of Warmth,” attracting attention from across the Jacksonville area.

Zoey, whose grandmother, Pam Brown, is the sister of Major Candice Biggers, drew her initial inspiration from an otherwise innocuous conversation during a family dinner. Majors Keath and Candice Biggers are the administrators of The Salvation Army’s programs and services in northeast Florida.

“From my understanding, the trigger for this initiative was a conversation we were having during dinner with Pam, her husband, Steve, and their grandchildren,” said Major Keath Biggers.

“We were discussing the Angel Tree, and one of the children, Bronx, began calling it the ‘Homeless Tree’ by mistake. We shared how cool it was that he called it that, and how it would be great if something could come from his ‘mistake.’ Out of the mouths of babes – although he’s in elementary school – came an inspiration that the Brown family took to make a ‘Homeless Tree’ expression into the ‘Tree of Warmth,’ providing clothing accessories to protect against the cold.”

From there, Zoey urged her relatives to help, and the family purchased a Christmas tree, along with gloves, hats, and socks. They used the items to set up the “Tree of Warmth” at The Salvation Army Towers Center of Hope in Jacksonville. Since then, hundreds of winter items have been hung on the tree for shelter residents and homeless individuals to take and use to stay warm during the cold-weather season in the region.

“Several hundred men, women and children have already been recipients of the tree, and it will continue serving during the winter months, especially when the temperature drops those cold nights,” Major Biggers said. “We thank God for Zoey, Bronx and the family making this a reality and a great service to those we serve in Jacksonville.”

Zoey’s family has been a long-time adopter of angels through the Angel Tree program and, with that backdrop of experience and the familial connection, the pathway was clear. Still, the inspiration was centered on improving the lives of others by any possible means.

“Knowing that you truly can make a difference in someone’s life is huge,” said Pam Brown. “I want the children to grow up feeling that way. I want them to know how wonderful it feels to help others. We can’t thank Candy and Keath enough for allowing the children to do this and helping them to get it set up. It really means so much to our family to participate in giving back.”

By: Brad Rowland, original article

For centuries, Christians around the world have observed Lent in preparation for Easter as a way of drawing near and reflecting on Jesus’ death and resurrection and preparing themselves for baptism.

Before the fourth century, the traditional Lenten observance only lasted for 40 hours – the number of hours Jesus spent in the tomb. But since the early fourth century, Christians have fasted for the 40 days of Lent.

The number forty has several Biblical references: the forty days and nights of the great flood in the story of Noah (Genesis 7:4); the forty years the Hebrew people spent wandering in the desert (Numbers 14:33), and; the number of days Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–2Mark 1:12–13Luke 4:1–2).

For many who observe Lent today, the practice often involves giving up or “fasting” something important.

This year we invite you to take the #LentChallenge with us. Add something to your Lent observance that’s a bit more public – one where in addition to giving something up, you give something back.

You can give something easy, something needed. Like smiling at a stranger while you wait for the elevator. Or buying an extra cup of coffee and sharing a cup of encouragement for a co-worker, classmate or friend.

Or you can fast some of your time or financial resources to help us care for people who are struggling to make ends meet in your community. For instance, you can help pack up boxes at one of our food pantries or deliver hot meals to home-bound seniors. Or you can make a financial gift that helps us purchase the nutritious food that sustains our neighbors in need.

Sign-up for 40Acts: The folks at #40Acts are challenging us to “do Lent generously.” Click here and sign up at their website to receive a daily Lenten meditation and suggestion for an easy act of generosity. You’ll be glad you did.

Fast your time: Spend some time making life better for someone else who lives in your community. Click here to locate your nearest Salvation Army location and look for a meaningful way to give back. Invite a friend!

Fast your $$: The Salvation Army has dozens of ways to care about someone in need in your zip code.  Click here for our donation page so we can pool our gifts together to make life better for our neighbors. Thank you!

Thank you for taking the #LentChallenge with us. May your season be filled with meaning as you share and prepare for Easter.

>> This post originally appeared on ExpectChange.org <<<