Salvation Army lends a hand

Published 12:25 pm Saturday, July 31, 2010

FRANKLIN—For the past month, Salvation Army officials have been coming to Southampton Meadows mobile home park handing out bagged lunches, baked goods and produce to feed children and families.

“This is an area where it’s highly populated with folks that really need it,” said Salvation Army Maj. Cal Clatterbuck, as he handed a grocery bag filled with bottled water to a family on Friday.

Clatterbuck said he wanted to start the program and concentrate on feeding children because he realized there were a lot of children receiving free lunch in school.

“What are they going to do in the summertime when they’re out of school and they don’t get that free lunch?” he asked.

While children are the focus, they aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program. Southampton Meadows resident Charlie Blount said he’s grateful for the assistance.

“This right here is helping me out right much,” he said. Now, he volunteers and helps pass out food to others in the neighborhood.

Blount said many people in the neighborhood struggle to keep food on the table.

“Since they’ve been coming out here every week, it’s been a whole lot better,” he said.

Clatterbuck said the residents have all been “very appreciative” of the help. He expects the program to continue through much of August.

Jean Stephenson, who works with the Southampton County Department of Social Services, commended Clatterbuck for bringing the program to Southampton Meadows.

“Because this group is so far out of town, I think they have a hard time getting to where the resources are,” she said. “So when we can make things available out here, it just helps people by not having to pay somebody to take them somewhere.

“I just think this is a blessing.”

Clatterbuck said the Salvation Army has been handing out 160 to 175 lunches five days a week at Southampton Meadows, not counting produce and baked goods.

“It’s very costly,” Clatterbuck said. The Salvation Army buys the food for the lunches and is searching for more sponsors to keep the program going in the future. Southampton Meadows isn’t the only food distribution center—the Salvation Army has also been providing food through its office in downtown Franklin.

Clatterbuck said there are also plans to hand out school supplies and conduct other projects in the community.

“These kids are our doctors, lawyers, politicians…these are the people that are going to be taking care of us—so if we take care of them, feed them and let them know that we care—somewhere down along the line we can break the cycle,” he said.