Salvation Army shares love and food
Wiping the sweat from his brow on a hot, muggy summer afternoon, Sgt. Les Ashby picked up a box of food as another car pulled up in front of the Salvation Army Thrift Shop. He waited for a trunk to pop open, placed the box inside and exchanged pleasantries with a family who now had one less meal to worry about thanks to the Salvation Army of Davidson County.
"We're just trying to give blessings out to other people," Ashby said. "We're out here showing the love of God and that's our pledge — heart to God and hand in hand."
The Salvation Army of Davidson County on Thursday held a free food give away in Thomasville where hundreds of families received a helping hand made possible from a group of young people a thousand miles away. The Salvation Army of Fort Myers, Fla., designated 375 boxes of food for the Chair City, and Ashby, along with his wife, Mary, and Melissa Blackburn, spent the afternoon passing them out to families in need.
"It means a great deal to us," said Les Ashby, core administer for the Salvation Army of Davidson County. "I'm just so thankful that the Salvation Army of Fort Myers, Fla., is able and willing to do this for us. We did it last year in Lexington and figured this would be a good thing for us to do in Thomasville."
With need for assistance at record levels, Mary Ashby, assistant core administrator, said the chance to help so many families at one time made standing in the hot sun more than worth it.
"To be able to give this much out and serve all these people, we're just overwhelmed with joy," Mary Ashby said. " It's amazing to see the love and the happiness of the people receiving the food, they're so appreciative. We serve a lot of people with food and necessities on a daily basis, and to be blessed this way is special."
Children at Camp Walter Johnson packed the boxes with enough food for several meals with food items such as peanut butter and jelly, cereal, spaghetti and roast beef. The children, many of whom came through the Salvation Army system, also wrote letters of encouragement for each box they packed.
"They're just showing the love," said Les Ashby. " It's amazing how some of them have gone through the same situation of those who we are giving out this food to and are now on their feet."
Stephanie Curry appreciated the kindness of people she may never meet.
"It's really a blessing," Curry said. "There are a lot of families in need but their pride is so hard they wont come get it. I'm blessed."
Blackburn, secretary and human resources director for the Salvation Army of Davidson County, said the nonprofit hoped a free food give away would happen in Thomasville following the success of last year's event in Lexington.
"It was very generous," Blackburn said. "We're very thankful they chose us."
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.