In late March Karen quietly explained her situation to The Salvation Army worker. It had been over two and a half years since she sought help. Since then she worked 35 to 50 hours a week, cobbling two part-time jobs to equal a full-time one. For this single mother of two, two jobs enabled her to provide for her family. While she barely covered her monthly bills most months, she had not needed any help, that is until recent circumstances overwhelmed her and what little she had saved evaporated.
The distraught mother explained her sales clerk hours were cut by a quarter during the slow winter months and so too were her hours at the fast food restaurant that employed her. More hours would be coming, but that the increase in hours was weeks away. When her son became ill in late January, her portion of her son’s recent prescriptions coupled with higher winter heating bills left her family short of food. With payday still four days she explained that for the last two days all they had eaten was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The Salvation Army was pleased to help Karen and her children. Karen’s family received two bags of non-perishable groceries as well as a whole chicken. Fresh vegetables, bread and pastries which arrived hours before were also placed into a third bag. For Karen, the groceries were a godsend and more than enough to get her through to her paycheck later that week.
Thanks to generous donors The Salvation Army’s Food Pantry exists to serve Harrisonburg and Rockingham County low-income families, many families like Karen’s who occasionally encounter issues due to an unexpected emergency. Monthly the pantry serves between 200 and 260 families with two to three days worth of food. It costs The Salvation Army $39 to provide a family of four with food, bread and other perishables. Over the course of a year, the food pantry provides over 140,000 meals to Harrisonburg and Rockingham families.