CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Record inflation is affecting everyone in one way or another, including those who help those in need. The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids offers breakfast and lunch to anyone who needs it Monday through Friday. While most of the food is donated, they take care of the rest.
“You know we have a certain amount of dollars that we can spend each month and the cost of things has gone up more than just a little bit,” explained Michelle Starks-Stufen, a kitchen assistant at the Salvation Army.
At $3.80 a plate, The Salvation Army serves about 100 servings a day. That’s more than $3 a plate less than two years ago. And food doesn’t stop completely on weekends, instead it’s taken out.
“We also do homeless work on Saturdays when the volunteer team goes out and we do about 80 lunches, breakfasts and lunches,” said Sean DeBaar, a Salvation Army captain.
They continue to serve those in need despite higher food costs and painful gas station prices.
Kitchen workers are phasing out the use of takeaway boxes. This is because they see more people coming in to eat and asking for a second meal to take home. But like most things, Styrofoam boxes are getting more expensive.
“We almost always have seconds to spare towards the end of meal times and you can more than welcome a second meal, but we’re trying to forgo using anything just to cut costs,” Starks-Stufen said. .
While providing their services has become more expensive, The Salvation Army says community support is helping them. This includes the donations they received by exceeding their Red Kettle fundraising goal during the Christmas season.
“If it wasn’t for the generosity of individuals, if our donations were what they could traditionally be, it would be very difficult for us to keep up,” DeBaar said.
It was a gift that continues to be given at a time when more people need it.
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