Local News

Salvation Army Meals Skyrocketing

(LaPorte, IN) – The number of people showing up for a hot meal at the LaPorte Salvation Army has more than quadrupled since the COVID-19 outbreak started last week.

         The meals are served from a truck inside take home boxes given to people in vehicles to comply with the social distancing happening everywhere to try and slow the spread. 

         LaPorte Salvation Army Capt. Chris Karlin said about 200 meals have been served every evening compared to 40 or 50 when hot food was offered inside.

         “It’s literally a drive-thru,” he said.

         The number of meals climbed Thursday to 290 when chili and apples were handed out.

         Sky Talbert has been coming every evening for hot meals to take home to her daughter, two nephews and her sister.

         Talbert said things are tight since her sister lost both of her jobs and the grocery stores have a limited selection now from demand fueled by the outbreak.

         “It’s hard times and I’m really thankful for them,” she said.

         Chet Patton said he was there to take hot meals to several friends.

         “You got to help friends out and make sure they get something to eat,” he said. 

         Food is offered from the truck brought in from the Salvation Army headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday.

         Karlin said the number of households at the food pantry has also gone up dramatically from 30 to 40 per day to about 80 in just the past week. 

.        He expects the numbers to increase from people just now losing their jobs and finding out where to go for assistance.

         Many of the people showing up to the food truck and pantry are first timers. 

         “They were working up until a week ago or this week and now they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to survive,” he said.

         Karlin said he’s working with food suppliers to try and keep up with demand.

         His biggest concern is having enough money to purchase food when donations of food are not enough.

         The Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte has already given a $10,000 grant to the cause.

         Other financial help has come from the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County and The United Way of LaPorte County.

         Karlin said the unexpected surge is scary but it’s also brought out the best in people.

         “That’s been one of the real blessings from this,” he said.


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