A group from Jenkins Industries, a company that offers services for disabled adults, stopped by the Pine Bluff Salvation Army location Friday morning with 241 pounds of food for the pantry, which helps feed those in need in the community.
Keisha Smith, floor supervisor for Jenkins, said that when they learned about the food shortage at the Salvation Army, they made collecting food a part of their current events curriculum.
“We help people in need,” Smith said.
They began collecting the food last Friday, Smith said.
Among the Jenkins clients helping to unload the food was Tery Givens, who hoisted large boxes from a white van onto a four-wheeled cart. Around 20 other clients made their way into the Salvation Army with the food, smiling and congratulating each other on their accomplishment.
“We love helping,” Givens said.
As for the Army, Office Manager Nina Brown told the group that they were grateful to get the food.
The Salvation Army food pantry feeds around 60 families throughout the Pine Bluff community every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, relying on food items from their emergency food pantry to prepare a number of food bags.
Sections of shelves that once held cans of sweet peas and corn are now bare, while the Salvation Army struggles to hold on to their remaining stock. A plentiful supply of tomatoes line the shelves, but according to Salvation Army Office Manager Nina Brown, without other ingredients to go along with them, there isn’t much families can do with those items alone.
A normal food bag that Brown fixes for families includes a couple of cans of corn, green beans, sweet peas, tomatoes, beans, chili, hot dogs, spaghetti, tomato and spaghetti sauce, cereal for the children, and a few cans of tuna and canned chicken for sandwiches and such.
Brown said these are the Salvation Army’s staple items, including small bags of rice when they have them available.
“The Health Department … they want us to get rid of all our dented cans, and, all of this is like dented,” said Brown, motioning towards a few cans of chicken, tuna and an assortment of soups. This is what Walmart give us, and that’s why they give it to us because its dented. But we’ve been told that as long as it’s not on the seam, as long as it’s not anything leaking out, that they’re okay.
“But the Health Department said that we need to get rid of all our dented cans in our pantry. So we started pulling stuff, but if we start pulling everything that’s dented then that’s going to deplete it much more.”
At the moment, the food pantry has a decent amount of canned green beans from schools who donated items from their food drives, the post office’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive in May, as well as pre-packaged meals from the the meal packing event held by Simmons Bank and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield back in July.
For people looking to donate items to the Salvation Army’s food pantry, please call their office at (870)-534-0504 or stop by the building on 501 E 12th Ave.