General William Booth said, "While little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight.." and his mission continues today. Every year during Christmas week there are nearly 4,000 families whose children will not go hungry because of The Salvation Army. Those families have signed up for gifts from the Angel Tree for their children and are told they will get a food basket too. When I first saw the amount of food given, I realized that although part of it is contained in a bushel basket, the rest of it will feed a family of four for a week. We give every Angel Tree family enough food to make a holiday dinner with a whole turkey or chicken, all the fixings, potatoes, apples, a gallon of milk, butter and enough baking supplies to last a month.
The other way that we feed children is through the Center of Hope. Since the recession, the number of families with young children has increased exponentially in the shelter. We have 17 family apartments that are nearly always full, but children often stay overnight also. I'll never forget the first time I toured the Center of Hope and Arletta Robinson showed me the dining room, empty at the time. There were six high chairs lined up against the wall. "Do you ever use those?" I asked. "Every day," she said. It still makes me tear up, but at least I know they won't go hungry while they're at the Center of Hope.