Daylyn Knox greeted every customer that entered and exited Kroger at Washington Walk Shopping Center with an eager and hopeful smile as she encouraged them to donate to the Salvation Army’s sixth annual Food 2 Fight Hunger drive.
The 13-year-old and other volunteers spent four hours in the heat collecting monetary donations and nonperishable food items to help restock the Salvation Army’s food pantry and soup kitchen . The nonprofit sees a dip in donations during the summer, according to marketing and public relations manager Alesa Shepherd.
“Our soup kitchen prepares around 40,000 meals per year, so this is very important,” she said. “All this food stays local and is used in our pantry.”
The Salvation Army sees around 130 people per day at its soup kitchen, some of which are housed at the Center for Hope, a year-round homeless shelter.
Supplies have taken a harder hit this summer after the closing of the 15th Street Kroger caused many people to seek food from the Salvation Army. Nonetheless, Shepherd said, the area has come through as it has in the past.The Salvation Army recently held a pillow drive that was a huge success, according to Shepherd.
“This year’s been awesome. We’ve had a great amount of donations, and as usual the community exceeds our expectation of donations,” she said.
One donor provided $1,600 worth of nonperishable items early in the day. With just over an hour to go before the end of the drive, the trailer transporting the food was already full.
“Thank you to our community for always being there for us and knowing that what we do really impacts this community,” Shepherd said. “Without their help, we couldn’t do any of this.”
Saturday’s food drive was the kickoff for the year for the Salvation Army. There will be more drives across the area in the near future.