The Salvation Army serves up ‘Sacks of Love’ and encouragement in Muskogee, Oklahoma
By: Cindy Fuller
In these days of “social distancing,” The Salvation Army of Muskogee, Oklahoma, is stepping up to help those in the most need. Not only is the Army still providing food boxes through its social services office by appointment, it is taking food and words of encouragement directly into the community.
The Muskogee Salvation Army is adjusting its ministry to the poor and elderly by taking food boxes to those who are unable to get out and drive to the social services office. It is an important part of the mission and ministry of the Army to meet human needs in his name.
Stories of personal encouragement have strengthened those on the front lines of service. Shay Reeder, a Salvation Army employee, shared two stories about her food ministry. Moved to tears, one shut-in told her, “I only had a bag of green peas to eat for the last three days with some ice cubes. My insides are so empty I’ll have to eat small quantities so as not to become sick.”
The elderly, deaf shut-in then sent Reeder a “long-distance” hug of thanks.
Another recipient of the food ministry mentioned she had just been discharged from the hospital, was on oxygen and was unable to get out of the house. She told Reeder, “I am not used to asking for help. This is truly a blessing.”
In addition to serving those who are immune-compromised, The Salvation Army’s catering truck is strategically going out into the Muskogee community with “Sacks of Love” for lunch and dinner. This ministry provides meals to anyone impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a tremendous amount of appreciation from those being served. Many people are already feeling the effects of the pandemic by having trouble finding enough food and supplies.
The truck and Salvation Army employees and volunteers are making deliveries in locations of high need and are maintaining social distancing by “honking” to let people know there are meals available.
During one delivery, a woman requested that the team check on a neighbor. When the ministry team arrived at the home, they discovered the family was in dire need of food boxes, as they had taken in homeless persons due to the pandemic. The Salvation Army provided the needed food and pastoral care to the family.
Neighbors have also helped The Salvation Army be the ‘hands and feet” of Jesus. During a recent meal delivery route to a low-income apartment complex, neighbors went knocking on doors to ensure everyone received a meal.
Children in a high-need area are also helping. One little boy was so excited to get food, he began to dance and encouraged his friends to come over to get a meal. It was an exciting time for the little ones who have been cooped up in their homes, and a bright spot to their day.
Along with a kind word and encouragement from The Salvation Army, the “Sacks of Love” food ministry outreach is providing food for the body and for the soul during this unprecedented crisis. As someone stated, “I now have something to look forward to!”