Fernando Mena sat at a cafeteria table consuming a hot dog, chili and potato chips.
The 25-yr-old who stated he lives in the woods began going to The Salvation Army 3 times a day for meals after recently quitting his job cleaning at a fast-food restaurant. Mena cited well being issues as the rationale behind quitting his job and stated he’s in search of temp jobs.
At one other table, Artherine Booth, seventy five, sat with a few buddies. Ms. Booth moved in to The Salvation Army ladies’s shelter in June after having to leave her previous residence.
She is planning to move into the Catherine Booth Gardens of Tyler, one of two residential facilities that The Salvation Army operates for low-income and senior citizens via a federal government contract.
Though Disa Brown has a house she shares together with her fiancé and eighty three-yr-old father, she eats lunch at The Salvation Army two to 5 times every week, one thing she’s done off and on for the past 4 years.
“It simply is significant, because Tyler isn’t a large metropolis, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of assistance for us, so for this to be right here to feed us three meals a day, it means so much to lots of people who don’t have,” stated Ms. Brown, 36, who described herself as a homemaker and self-employed. “You by no means know when your life can turn around and you don’t have anything.”
These individuals are amongst a rising number of East Texas residents who’re going to The Salvation Army for meals.
This summer, the nonprofit has seen a 40% increase, from 5,000 to 7,000, in weekly meals served.
In addition, about 10% of the 127 shelter residents are within the facility due to climate.
The nonprofit has a 200-bed facility and further housing area for 250 cots for emergency situations. Water and cooling stations for short-term use can also be found.
Director of Development Cindy Bell mentioned, because the Salvation Army doesn’t survey their shoppers, they can’t formally attribute the rise to one thing in particular.
However anecdotally, they stated the summer season does create greater pressure on folks, as a result of rising utility cost, and people must make harder decisions about the way to spend their cash.
“I have to decide, ‘do I buy meals for my household or the medication that I need?” Ms. Bell mentioned.
Lindsey Galabeas, The Salvation Army’s community and public relations coordinator, mentioned when individuals already live paycheck to paycheck, any increase in expenses, makes it tougher.
For the organization, the challenge comes as a result of, despite the fact that the individuals utilizing its services are growing, donations are declining as they usually do throughout the summer season.
“Lots of people consider us as a Christmas group,” Ms. Galabeas stated. The fact is the group is largely active throughout the year.
The nonprofit’s services include men’s, women’s and family shelters, free daily meals, a residential drug rehabilitation program, rent and utility assistance, emergency disaster services and afterschool programs.
The agency is seeking donations to help fund its programs, which is about $four million for the shelters, social services and administration buildings.
Ms. Bell stated the company has a lean budget, and 87 cents of each $1 donated goes to services.
HOW TO GIVE
The Salvation Army of Tyler is in need of monetary donations to help fund the growing number of clients utilizing its services. For more details about The Salvation Army or to donate, go to www.salvationarmytexas.org/tyler , stop by the office at 633 N. Broadway Ave. in Tyler, or call 903-592-4361.
DINING AT THE SALVATION ARMY
The Salvation Army serves three meals a day Sunday through Friday and two meals a day on Saturday. These free meals are open to the general public. Serving times are as follows:
Breakfast: 7 to 7:45 a.m.
Lunch: 12 to 12:45 p.m.
Dinner: 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Brunch: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Dinner: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.