Still without a freezer, the Salvation Army continues on its way

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As the Salvation Army scrambles to replace items lost when their freezer broke down, their customers aren’t being left behind.

“We’re kind of hobbling right now,” said Salvation Army Captain Chris Clarke. “It’s not ideal, but we keep feeding people.”

The organization suffered a major blow over Labor Day weekend when it was discovered that the freezer had broken down. On September 6 after the holidays, Clarke and a host of volunteers spent their time throwing away spoiled food.

The freezer contained approximately 2,000 pounds of meat and other frozen goods for the agency’s free meal program. Clarke said the replacement value of the lost food was $5,000.

While the loss of food was a blow to the budget, the other blow came when the estimate to fix the freezer came in at $5,000.

Unfortunately, the freezer hasn’t been fixed yet and Clarke doesn’t know when it will be fixed, although he hopes it will be before the end of the month.

“We had a repairman come in…and found out the whole mechanical unit needed to be replaced,” Clarke said. “We don’t have a figure on when it will be fixed, but we need to get it fixed soon. We just don’t know how long it will take to get the parts we need to fix it.”

For now, the Salvation Army at 331 W. Douglas Ave. relies on a double sliding glass door freezer that sits in the pantry, but Clarke said he doesn’t have nearly the space the organization needs. Not having a large freezer prevents the Salvation Army from being able to store frozen food, which affects what it can provide to customers.

“We serve more than 300 meals a week through the free meals program and provide groceries to more than 150 families each week, so we eat a lot of food,” Clarke said.

“We had good community support,” Clarke said. “We received the equivalent of about $3,500 in donations to help replace the food, but that’s still less than what we lost, and we also need to fix the freezer.”

For every $1 donated, they can buy $20 worth of groceries. Besides non-perishable foods, the Salvation Army seeks all types of meat, including ground beef, chicken, and pork. Clarke said any donation helps.

“This comes at a time of year when we typically struggle to meet demand due to a backlog in donations,” Clarke said, adding that the Red Kettle season begins Nov. 9.

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