Serving lunch is a team sport

By Brooke Graham, Volunteer Coordinator

In an unparalleled cold weather shelter season, St. John’s is blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate with other local agencies. When St. John’s decided to open a second 24/7 shelter location to meet social distancing guidelines this past November and continue to meet the full need for individuals experiencing homelessness, we knew that we’d need to reach out for help!

Remaining open 24 hours a day meant providing another daily meal, lunch. We reached out to The Salvation Army, asking if they could partner with us to provide weekday lunches to our guests. Providing lunches to the community was already a part of their programming but adding 70 portions daily required adjusting their process.

Nan Pahl, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army, says “The Salvation Army is so happy to be partnering with St. John’s to meet the lunch needs for [their guests]!  When the call came in October our immediate response was, ‘we can make this happen, we just have to talk through how our agencies can best work together to meet this need.’” Regarding why this is such important work, Nan continues, “We all know that if our basic needs are not met and we are hungry, it is hard to focus on the things we really need to do in order to grow and make changes.”

Both agencies agree- collaborating is a great way to meet the need. In the first three months, The Salvation Army provided 4,220 meals to our guests. Nan says, “This is another way we share our time, talent and resources to make a difference in our community.  This project demonstrates our commitment to collaborate and coordinate.  We do all this through God’s grace and caring hands.”

Thank you, Salvation Army!

The Salvation Army is a church offering men’s and women’s bible studies, youth character building programs and church service on Sunday while also providing faith based social services.  They offer basic needs services such as rent assistance, gas vouchers, utility assistance and thrift store vouchers.  They also have a transitional housing program for families, a food pantry, the noon meal program and a program for seniors in the community.  Additionally, they offer a Pathway of Hope service model to provide long term case management to families to help them meet their goals by providing pastoral care and spiritual engagement as a key piece of the service. You can learn more at:

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