Tough times can reveal endless possibilities. No one knows that better than Major Kari Booth, corps officer for The Salvation Army in Smithfield, who opened Sally’s Kitchen when flooding devastated eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew in October, 2017.
Last Monday, September 11th, Sally’s Kitchen moved meal service from three days a week to lunch service Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 Noon until 1:00pm and Thursday evenings from 5:00pm until 6:00pm. The meals are served in the fellowship hall of The Salvation Army, located at 306 N. Brightleaf Blvd., Smithfield.
“When the floods came after Hurricane Matthew, we opened an emergency shelter in our gym and were feeding three meals a day. We also were delivering three meals a day to a special needs shelter in another community,” said Major Booth. “One day we realized that we are not too little to do this every week –we could open a soup kitchen and continue to feed the community. It was exciting to think about how The Salvation Army could help feed bellies and also provide nourishment for the soul!”
When Sally’s Kitchen first opened, 10-15 people came for the hot lunch. Now 75-90 people come for a meal, available to anyone in the community looking for good food and fellowship. One man who regularly eats at Sally’s Kitchen is a community volunteer who mows the grass for the elderly and people who are not physically able to maintain their lawns. Some of the other regulars are homeless; some are from a senior citizen public housing facility down the street from The Salvation Army.
“This food means I have more money for medicine,” said one elderly woman eating lunch. “My budget is so tight that I can either choose to eat or have the medicine I need. I am thankful.”
Dana, who eats at Sally’s Kitchen regularly, is a decorated war veteran who had several tours with the Army. He enjoys the food as much as he enjoys the community and the friends he has made through Sally’s Kitchen.
“The Salvation Army is the unsung hero of Johnston County,” he said. “I had lost faith in people but I kept hearing about The Salvation Army so I decided to come by. The first person I saw was Major Booth—she smiled at me and welcomed me in. Where were these people all my life?”
The kitchen opening daily will give access to regular nutrition to more people living at the poverty level.
“People count on Sally’s Kitchen to get the food they need,” explained Major Booth. “We have to do this for our community. When the wreath goes up on the entrance door, everyone knows that Sally’s Kitchen is open for business and they begin to line up. Opening the doors daily means we can help more people who are struggling to get by.”
The additional days that Sally’s Kitchen will be open will create a need for additional resources of monetary donations, food donations from community groups, churches, and restaurants, and kitchen volunteers. To help Sally’s Kitchen, contact Shenika Howard at 919-934-9102. Financial donations can be mailed to The Salvation Army, 306 N. Bright Leaf Blvd., Smithfield, NC 27577. Please indicate Sally’s Kitchen in the memo.
About The Salvation Army of Smithfield serving Johnston and Harnett Counties
Since 1865, The Salvation Army has been dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His Name without discrimination. Today, The Salvation Army serves in every state in the United States and in 128 countries throughout the world. The Salvation Army of Smithfield has many programs that address social concerns in our community, which include social services, Christmas assistance, nutrition assistance, worship, clothing assistance, and youth programming. For more information visit SalvationArmyCarolinas.org/Smithfield.