Salvation Army reinstates weekday lunch program

Published on Wednesday, 3 July 2013 19:45 - Written by BY REBECCA HOEFFNER rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

After only 15 days, The Salvation Army in Tyler will reinstate its weekday lunch program for people outside of its shelter.

Lunches will resume on Monday.

“We’ve had a great response from the community,” Ben Lawrence, major of the Tyler corps, said. “We’re excited our plea was heard. … We all sat in a staff meeting and said, ‘The Scriptures say you have not because you ask not.’ We don’t like to do that because we ask for so much at Christmas, but sometimes you get in a situation where that’s what you have to do.”

More than 25 percent of the annual budget comes from the Christmas campaign alone.

The organization’s lunch program fed more than 5,600 people per month, according to the news release from the organization.

When officials announced the temporary termination, they suspected that people who usually donate to the organization sent funds to disaster relief in Moore, Okla. and West instead.

The news of the program’s suspension was published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, on radio, television, email, and postal mail, Lawrence said.

“We feel pretty confident we’ll be able to sustain the lunch program indefinitely,” Lawrence said. “These months every year are a challenge.”

Henrietta Grooms has been a longtime donor and volunteer for the organization, yet she said the announcement inspired her to give even more.

“(My husband and I) believe in the programs, and we hear nice reports,” she said. “The money we give stays here to help this community. We know through volunteering that The Salvation Army runs a good ship. It just makes sense (to donate).”

The rent and utilities assistance are still being limited, Lawrence said. The organization didn’t receive any grants this year, but is hopeful to receive one from the state and federal government in the fall.