How the Church is teaming up with the Salvation Army to feed the hungry this Christmas

During this holiday season, the Salvation Army has seen increased demand on its food kitchens and anticipates a decrease in donations for its annual Christmas campaign. 

A recent $1 million donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will help support food distribution in more than 150 communities throughout the United States, Newsroom reported on Thursday, Dec. 17. 

Colonel Kenneth Johnson, national chief secretary of the Salvation Army in the United States, said of the most recent donation, “We know what James says [in the New Testament], that a religion that is accepted is characterized by taking care of the widows and orphans, those who are hungry, those who are suffering in this world. 

“And what the Latter-day Saints do to come alongside the Salvation Army and impact in a positive way those lives that are suffering — we cannot say thank you enough.”

Boxes of food are prepared for shipping at The Salvation Army in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020
Boxes of food are prepared for shipping at The Salvation Army in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Colonel Johnson participated in a video call on Dec. 16 with Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, Church Managing Director of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Blaine Maxfield and other leaders of the Salvation Army in the United States. 

Referring to the efforts of the Salvation Army that aid more than 2.5 million lives annually in the United States, “We feel a small part of this great work,” Bishop Caussé said during the video call. “You have experience that is unmatched. 

“It’s a great honor for any member of the Church that gives of their resources to this cause because they know there is a trust there. It’s not only trust — it’s also something with the right spirit because we are all Christians. We want to emulate the example of the Savior, loving Him and loving our neighbor. The best way to do it is by reaching out to those who are suffering.”

Colonel Johnson added, “Our pledge to you is that we will continue to honor your trust in us. And that as we work together, shoulder to shoulder, we’re (going to) turn a lot of frowns into smiles of people that are suffering in this world. From the bottom of our hearts, we salute you.”

A volunteer helps pack food at the local Salvation Army in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The April and December donations represent 52,000 food boxes, each of which feeds four to five people for several meals.
A volunteer helps pack food at the local Salvation Army in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The April and December donations represent 52,000 food boxes, each of which feeds four to five people for several meals. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Since 1988 the Church has given about 350 cash or commodity donations to various Salvation Army locations across the United States, according to Newsroom. Outside the United States, the Church has contributed to more than 100 Salvation Army projects in 30 countries since 1994.

This most recent donation — plus the Church’s April donation to the Salvation Army for pandemic relief — represent 52,000 food boxes, each of which feeds four to five people for several meals, said Salvation Army U.S. Western Territory Commissioner Doug Riley.

“Your volunteers, your employees, your Church members who come alongside and provide those hands and feet and make our distribution and pack our boxes — it’s been a godsend to us,” Riley said.