Wadell Lewis, left, looks on as G. Easter, Donna Saubier and Roosevelt Johnson gather some food in bags. -- Stephen H. Cowles | TIdewater News
Wadell Lewis, left, looks on as G. Easter, Donna Saubier and Roosevelt Johnson gather some food in bags. -- Stephen H. Cowles | TIdewater News

Archived Story

Salvation Army nourishes

Published 10:21am Friday, March 22, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
playback58@gmail.com

FRANKLIN—As part of its mission to meet the physical needs of people, the Salvation Army in Franklin regularly feeds the hungry.

On the second and fourth Thursday of each month, for example, there will be people lined up outside the office on North Main Street. Many bring their own plastic or canvas bags to collect fruits, vegetables, canned goods, juice or tea, breads and even pastries.

Around 10:30 a.m., Administrative Assistant Geaster Taylor, will call one by one the names of those people who signed up the day before. Someone such as Wydell Lewis of Franklin will come in and look through what is available, and on the way out pick up another sack of food previously prepared by the volunteers.

Lewis, 55, said he’s retired from Smithfield Packing, and he’s also taking care of four other people, including a grandchild.

“Money doesn’t go as far,” he said.

Brigitte Picot, 48, of Courtland, came to the Salvation Army for the first time earlier this month. She had to quit work in order to take care of her mother before she died. But Picot said she hopes to be working again soon.

“It’s a good program,” said the mother of a boy and girl, as she went through crates of fruits and vegetables.

“I needed help,” said Lawrence Powell, 55, of Franklin. She was there to get food for her son and herself.

William Jenkins, 58, said he’s been coming to the site for two years. He said he loaded trucks before becoming disabled.

Administrator Donna Sauerbier said usually the same people sign up. Though last month there were 32 clients each distribution day, the number is most often closer to 50. There are no pre-existing qualifications to meet.

“We give the food until it’s all gone,” said Sauerbier, who added that the bulk of the groceries comes from the Salvation Army in Suffolk, led by Major Calvin Clatterbuck. He, in turn, gets the food from the Farm Fresh in that city.

New Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Stonewall Street in Franklin periodically gives items, and the local Pizza Hut donates pizzas twice a week, she continued.

“We can collect only food because of space,” said Sauerbier. She welcomes donations of rice, beans, cereal, oatmeal and other staples that won’t soon spoil.

Working for the Salvation Army is fitting for her, she said, because as a child her family received a lot from the organization.

“I’m giving back,” said Sauerbier, who’s been at the site for five years. She got the work just by looking for a job. Previously she had been doing clerical work in the medical field for nearly 30 years.

Taylor came to the site three years ago. She was working for the American Association of Retired Persons at Obici Hospital’s occupational medicine program.

Roosevelt Johnson, a volunteer of two years, helps get the food out of the truck and assists elderly with putting bags of food in their vehicles.

For more information, call the Salvation Army at 516-2636.

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