Local News

Salvation Army able to feed families after flood of donations

Posted March 27, 2015

— With just 15 cans left on the shelves, The Salvation Army of Wake County on Friday suspended its food pantry program that helps families in need.

“It’s a little scary because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it this low,” said Lizzy Adams, public relations director for the nonprofit. “Until there are cans on the shelves, we have to suspend our outreach program.”

The food pantry is part of The Salvation Army’s Crisis Programs, which provide food, clothing and financial help to Wake County residents. Typically, the organization offers 50 appointments a week for families to collect a week’s worth of groceries. That amounts to about 540 nonperishable food items a week for the pantry.

The pantry also supplies food for residents in the Women & Children’s Shelter.

With the dearth of donations, the organization has had to cancel food appointments.

“We receive calls all the time for food assistance and, therefore, are in constant need of food donations,” said Maj. Pete Costas, commanding officer of The Salvation Army of Wake County. “This is especially true in the spring and summer months. People need to eat.”

Costas is asking the public to help by buying a few extra cans of food or hosting a food drive.

Canned and nonperishable food can be dropped off at any time at the Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope, 1863 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh.

“It may not seem like much, but every can counts,” Adams said. “It could make a world of difference to a mother trying to make sure her children do not go to bed hungry.”

After media outlets reported the shortage Friday morning, donations began rolling in. Marcie Boyes, who works at Easter Seals, was one of many people who stopped by to give.

"We are able to eat, and I know a lot of people aren't right now. So, we saw you guys on the news today, and they were so low - to have no food in the pantry. It's just devastating," she told WRAL News.

Salvation Army staffer Carlton Richardson says the donated food filled up four buggies in a half hour.

"Fantastic," Richardson said of those who rushed to help. "We can feed a lot of families in the community."

Visit the organization online to download a food drive tool kit.


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  • Al Smith Mar 27, 2015
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    An excellent point.

  • Anne Havisham Mar 27, 2015
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    I used to work for different Salvation Army programs. As someone who is not at all religious, I liked that they offered assistance to anyone in need, and that no one needed to participate in religious programs in order to receive their help.

    I no longer support them because they have official policies that permit them to not hire LGBT employees. All three of my supervisors when I worked for the S.A. were lesbians whose belief in justice led them to their careers. All of my supervisors were dedicated, loyal, hardworking women whose work made the Salvation Army look better than they deserved to, given the policies.

  • Floyd Bridges Mar 27, 2015
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  • Christopher Rose Mar 27, 2015
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    Wow. The level of meanness of some people just astounds me. I hope none of you are ever a stranger in a strange land or in a situation of basic human need and have to deal with yourselves.

  • Barbara Sossomon Mar 27, 2015
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    FYI, they changed this article at 12:55, because before that, it said 8-5 Mon-Thur and 8-2 on Friday.

  • Carl Keehn Mar 27, 2015
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    and private groups can do a far better job of providing a safety net? Not if they aren't provided with any resources.

  • Tim Kelly Mar 27, 2015
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    Really? I thought it was Pat and the legislature that have been touting their five summers of recovery. But yes, it is Obama's fault... of course.

  • Roy Hinkley Mar 27, 2015
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    From the article:
    "Canned and nonperishable food can be dropped off at any time at the Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope, 1863 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh."

  • Edward Anderson Mar 27, 2015
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    Perhaps if they had hours when "Regular Working People" could drop-off (like maybe outside of the hours of 8 to 5 on weekdays) they might see more goods coming in.

  • Matt Wood Mar 27, 2015
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    This is more an indicator of the Salvation Army's continuing ineptitude to proactively stock their shelves than it is an indicator of the state of the economy. Now, if all the other numerous food pantries out there were also having a problem, then you might have a point. Perhaps the Salvation Army should consider using some of the hundreds of thousands it pays its officers and shift that money to buying food.