CLEARFIELD – Many people in the United States will go on vacation this summer.
Great deals of people in this country are fortunate enough to have the resources to do so; however, there are also many who can’t afford it.
“Hunger doesn’t take a vacation over the summer either. There should be no hungry children in America,” stated Captain Helen Johnson, commanding officer of the Clearfield Salvation Army.
The fact is that many children do go hungry during the summer. In Clearfield, transportation to summer feeding sites has proven difficult for families, Johnson explained.
The Salvation Army, she said, is piloting a new mobile feeding program this summer that will combat these problems. It will use its fully-equipped canteen feeding truck to serve healthy lunches at Edgewood Housing Complex, Monday – Friday at 12 p.m.
While the children are gathered around eating, she said they will be read to, given learning worksheets and do learning activities, in order to keep their literacy and reading skills fresh for the new school year.
“If this unique pilot program proves to be successful with the Edgewood Housing Complex, the Salvation Army has plans to expand to many parks and locations throughout Clearfield as funding will allow,” stated Johnson.
“In other Salvation Army locations where this type of program is happening, when kids see the Salvation Army truck coming, joy comes over them as if it were an ice cream truck.”
She added, “To have that kind of reaction for healthy food from children is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, knowing that this may be the only meal the children have that day.
“Part of the excitement from the kids is that they know there are also volunteers on the truck who truly care about them [and] who will be doing fun (learning) activities with them.”
According to Johnson, many low-income children receiving free or reduced lunches during the school year are not so fortunate in the summer for various reasons, including the transportation issues people face in Clearfield.
The Salvation Army, she said, is pleased to take a proactive role in addressing the specific needs of local communities.
This program begins in Edgewood on June 13 and ends Aug. 26. The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers to help make the lunches.
They are also accepting donations of new and gently-used books to be given to children in grades K-12.
If you can help, please contact the Salvation Army at 814-765-4981.
About The Salvation Army:
Celebrating 150 years of global service as both a church and a social service organization, the Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865.
Today, it provides critical services in 127 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services.
To learn more about the Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log on to www.wpa.salvationarmy.org. The Salvation Army … doing the most good for the most people in the most need.