The Salvation Army of the Midlands is seeking donations for its downtown food pantry, which is running low on inventory.
The pantry serves about 150 families a month and typically has a 10 to 20-day supply of food on hand. But agency officials say the supply has dwindled to about two days because of the summer season, as children are out of school and many families served by the pantry have children who had received free breakfast and lunch at their schools.
“Nutrition plays such an important role in the physical and cognitive development of growing children,” Salvation Army director of program services Melani Miller said. “It is essential that we have food to give to people who truly need it.”
Needed food items include meals in a can (chicken and dumplings, stew, chili, lasagna), rice and pasta, instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, cereals, fruit juices, canned fruit packed in juice, low-salt canned vegetables, diapers and toilet paper.
Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Center for Worship & Service, 3024 Farrow Road, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Calling volunteer drivers
The program operates a 15-passenger shuttle bus and to take seniors to doctor appointments and to personal errands such as banking, salons, grocery and other types of shopping.
Volunteer drivers are needed for Monday and Thursday shifts from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on an ongoing basis. Substitute drivers also are needed.
Volunteers must have a standard driver’s license and be comfortable operating a large vehicle. The ability to work with the public and seniors is essential, and familiarity with the downtown Columbia area is helpful. Some physical aptitude and mobility is necessary.
For more information or to learn about volunteering as a 5 Points Wheels driver, call Stephanie Benjamin, at (803) 779-1971, ext 12.
In support of animals
The grant will be used to buy first-aid kits, cameras to document evidence, dog crates, leashes and other supplies.
“We hope this grant will better safeguard the quality of life for animals in Richland County,” said Matt Stern, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group Operations.
The Sheriff’s Department responded to 23 animal abuse incidents, including animal fighting and neglect cases, in 2013.
“The well-being of animals and the prosecution of those responsible for their abuse are imperative,” Sheriff Leon Lott said. “Animals need someone to take up the fight on their behalf. We thank the ASPCA for their support and compassion for animals.”