Archive for food pantry

Spreading Smiles: A Volunteer’s Mission of Hope

Geryl - WebsiteGeryl Force came with his wife to volunteer on our first Thanksgiving Day in The Salvation Army Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope. They were two of the 350 volunteers who came through our building that day.

“It made it easy for us as volunteers to be able to serve everybody like they wanted to be served – like they were personally being served by a person. If they needed anything, we could go get it for them. With that many volunteers, we waited on them hand and foot, you could say.”

After the holiday, Geryl began volunteering in the Client Choice Food Pantry. He loves talking with the clients who come for the food assistance program and strives to make them each feel appreciated.

“Since I’ve started volunteering in the pantry, I’ve really enjoyed it. I have fun with the people. We joke around. They talk and I listen if they’ve got something they need to say to get it off their chest. I try to be a listener as well as communicate with them because I like to listen to what they have to say. If they have any problems, they can talk to me. I can’t solve them but at least I can listen.”

It’s been eye-opening for Geryl too as he sees the need in our community for food assistance. The clients are so grateful, continually expressing their thanks, which puts a smile on his face that he shares with the next person.

“I try to have some fun with them. They laugh, and it puts a smile on their face.”

Story of Hope: From Parking Lot to Food Pantry

JamesJames Dixon prayed a simple prayer upon retirement – “God, put me in a place where I can serve Your people with the opportunity of changing their lives.” James, our client choice food pantry manager, gets that opportunity every week as individuals leave, changed by the food assistance they receive at The Salvation Army.

But James didn’t come to The Salvation Army for a job. He started his service as a volunteer parking cars at the Senior Living Fair in 2014.

“I saw they needed volunteers through my church and decided to help. I met the volunteer coordinator who invited me to help with the food pantry program and I fell in love with working alongside The Salvation Army.”

James went from three hours a week to nine hours in just a short time. Volunteering at the Angel Tree distribution center during Christmas he felt such compassion for the people coming in who had so little yet were so grateful.

A military veteran of the Vietnam War, James has seen a lot during his life. Yet, the most amazing thing to him is those moments in the food pantry when someone comes in to find hope.

“I’ve learned a lot in my lifetime, and I still have a lot more to learn, but one of the most beautiful moments is when I’m here in this place helping others in need.”

Today, James is living out that request he asked of God several years ago. He has the privilege to work in the Client Choice Food Pantry where lives are changed not only with food, but with love and hope.

If you would like to get involved at The Salvation Army, you can:

  • Volunteer: Contact Liz Banks at 405-246-1107 or liz_banks@uss.salvationarmy.org to give of your time and talents to one of our programs like the Client Choice Food Pantry.
  • Collect non-perishable items – oatmeal, cereal, applesauce, boxed dinners, peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned soup, rice, & powdered, dry or shelf milk – and perishable items – milk, eggs, cheese, juice, frozen vegetables & meat – for the Client Choice Food Pantry.
  • Click the Donate Now button above and give a financial gift to the Client Choice Food Pantry.