Salvation Army battles record inflation while serving more people in need

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 3:11 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Record inflation impacts everyone in some way, including those who help people in need. The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids serves breakfast and lunch to anyone who needs it Monday through Friday. While a good portion of the food is donated, they foot the costs for the rest.

”You know we have certain dollar amount that we can spend each month and the cost of things has gone up more than just a little,” explained Michelle Starks-Stuefen, Kitchen Assistant at the Salvation Army.

At a price of $3.80 a plate, the Salvation Army serves around 100 meals a day. That’s up from $3 a plate less than two years ago. And meals don’t stop completely on weekends, instead they’re taken out.

”We do also do a homeless outreach on Saturdays where a volunteer crew goes out and we do about 80 sacked meals, breakfast and lunch meals,” said Shawn DeBaar, Captain at the Salvation Army.

They’re continuing to serve those in need despite the higher costs of food, and painful prices at the pump.

Workers in the kitchen are gradually lessening the use of to-go boxes. It comes as they’re seeing more people coming in for meals and requesting a second one to take home. But like most things, Styrofoam boxes have been getting more expensive.

”We almost always have seconds available towards the end of the meal time and you’re more than welcome to have a second meal but we’re trying to move away from using anything to go just to cut the costs,” said Starks-Stuefen.

While it’s gotten more pricey to provide their services, the Salvation Army says community support is getting them through. That includes the donations they received exceeding their red kettle fundraising goal during the Christmas season.

”If it wasn’t for the generosity of individuals, if our giving was at what it maybe has been traditionally it would be really difficult for us to keep up,” said DeBaar.

It’s been a gift that keeps on giving at a time where more people need it.

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