QUINCY — Beginning Wednesday, the Salvation Army will begin its new Canteen Ministry. A new “boots on the ground” program, the Canteen Ministry will see employees and volunteers on the streets to serve those members of the community most in need.
The primary focus of the ministry will be providing food and personal care items to those who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or have food insecurities. The four-person team will also hand out blankets and information on services available at the Salvation Army.
The Canteen Ministry will be a weekly program that rotates through different Quincy neighborhoods. The first outing tomorrow, from 4-6 p.m., will focus on the Salvation Army’s Social Services’ office area, around 5th Street and surrounding blocks.
Quincy Area Command Coordinator Captain Michael Sjogren has worked on other similar ministries. In a statement, he said he’s looking forward to bringing this much-needed service to Quincy.
“We feel this expanded outreach will allow us to connect with residents who may not be aware of our services or don’t have available means to find transportation to our facilities,” Sjogren said.
Regional Social Services Director Heidi Welty will be one of the members of the Canteen team.
“I am excited to be out in the community and meeting people where they are at and providing homeless outreach services,” Welty said.
Along with this new program, the Salvation Army’s food pantries provide shelf-stable pantry items, bread, cereal, meat, and other household necessities. The Bread Basket program also offers a variety of breads and treats that have been donated by local bakeries and businesses.
It’s hoped that the new Canteen Ministry will be a benefit to the Salvation Army’s volunteers as well as those they service. Volunteer and Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator Jeremy Koren said that responding to disasters comes in many forms.
“Keeping our volunteers active and engaged will help us to be prepared to serve our community regardless of the obstacles we are facing,” Koren said.
For those that may need help, the Salvation Army’s Family Services office at 501 Broadway in Quincy is available 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. they can be reached at 217-222-2087.