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AUG 26 2010

Joint Program Feeds Local Children When and Where They Need It

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photo of Salvation Army volunteer handing out nutritious meals to inner-city youth

Salvation Army volunteer hands out nutritious meals to inner-city youth

Think globally, feed locally.

That’s the philosophy behind the Salvation Army Potashcorp Food on the Move Program, a meals-on-wheels initiative that delivers healthy food to low-income neighborhoods in Saskatoon, SK.
“As a company, we’re focused on helping feed a hungry world,” says Rhonda Speiss, PotashCorp’s Manager of Corporate Philanthropy. “This program gives us a chance to do that closer to home.”

Operating from a Salvation Army emergency and disaster vehicle, the mobile canteen distributes healthy meals to up to 150 children per day. Meals include a sandwich, carrot sticks, cheese, fruit, a granola bar, unsweetened fruit juice, and milk.

“Many children who appear well-fed are eating inexpensive food, which is often the least healthy,” explains Salvation Army Government and Media Relations representative Jackie Kripki. “Giving them a sizeable, healthy meal in the afternoon ensures that they won't go to bed hungry.”

Food on the Move targets children who are being missed by other meal programs, according to Salvation Army Charitable Gift Advisor Coni Evans. “We used our community connections to identify kids who needed the most help,” says Evans. “We learned that when school is out, they tended to spend mornings home and afternoons and evenings playing in city spray parks and paddling pools, so a mobile program operating later in the day made sense.”

It has made so much sense, in fact, that children now flag the truck down in the street if they miss a park visit. “You know your program is successful when you see 100 children running to get your meal,” says Evans.

“The Salvation Army has extraordinary expertise in serving the community,” says Speiss. “We knew we wanted to support a meal program that met the needs of as many children as possible, but they supplied the ideas and hard work to pull it off. We’ve found that the best way to get results is to trust the knowledge of our partners.”

That trust is not lost on the Salvation Army team. “It’s a strong partnership,” says Evans. “They have a vision, but they respect our experience. We’re incredibly grateful for their support and commitment to helping fight hunger in our community.”

What may be most valuable to the children of Saskatoon, however, is the message that a program like Food on the Move conveys. “We’re showing them that someone cares,” says Kripki. “Knowing that someone is there to help – without question, and without asking anything in return – is a very valuable message for these kids to hear.”

For more information about Food on the Move, visit www.salvationarmysaskatoon.org.

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