Some folks who rely on the Salvation Army for food may be getting a bit of a surprise this week.
On Friday, the gourmet food shop Harry and David in the Grove City Premium Outlets — which closed under the state’s disaster declaration — donated more than $10,000 worth of food to the Salvation Army’s West Grant Street location in New Castle.
“We donated food and gifts,” said store manager Laurie Tennant, “the hams, turkeys, meats, cheese, all kinds of things. It was $10,150 worth of food.”
Though Tennant’s store is in the Grove City area, she is a resident of Shenango Township in Lawrence County.
“We just decided to go local,” she said, adding that many of the 40 Harry and David stores around the country are making similar donations. “We were delivering it. I knew that I was going to be coming back this way and I wanted to put back into our local community.”
Salvation Army Lt. Matthew Stacy said that the store had left a phone message that it wanted to donate food, but he did not know what to expect.
“The next day, they arrived with gift boxes that included some savory snacks,” he said. “In addition to that were pretzels, popcorn, nuts, bread, chocolates, and chips. It was enough to fill one of our standing steel shelves.
“Although we didn’t shake hands, we expressed how thankful we were for their donation. These donations will make for great additions to our community food boxes or/and surprise gifts for those we visit for pastoral care in our community.”
Stacy noted that social distancing can be particularly challenging for the Salvation Army and anyone who is “passionate about drawing closer to those you serve when the expectation is to distance yourself from everyone.”
“But Laurie and her team show that love and intimacy with your neighbor come in different forms, and often surprising ones,” he said.
Like other churches, the Salvation Army has postponed its children’s programs, small groups and worship services, Stacy said. However, the Eastern Territory of the Salvation Army has developed live-streaming services for the corps, and small groups are meeting online.
In addition, Stacy’s wife, Lt. Stacy Stacy, dropped off supplies and papers at each home of a participant in the Club 316 youth program so that the children could finish their work and complete their Gardening Badge.
“We’ve adjusted our services to minimize contact with the public,” Matt Stacy said, “but our volunteer team continues to bring in bread and food for the corps, and we continue to provide food boxes for these in need by over-the-phone appointments.
“We continue to serve.”