Shelby County Salvation Army expanding soup kitchen to keep up with demand

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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - When you think about giving to hungry Hoosiers, canned goods come to mind, but Shelby County needs help in a different way.

The number of people on a fixed income is growing there, and they often don't have the means to cook for themselves. That's why the Salvation Army needs a bigger soup kitchen. Each year, the nonprofit serves 22,000 meals.

“That’s enough to give half the county Sunday dinner all at once,” said Lt. Stephen DeLacy with the Shelby County Salvation Army. "We are running out of space!"

The group recently shut down the Salvation Army store to make room for a bigger soup kitchen, which is more important than a food pantry.

“If you’re on fixed income or live in an efficiency apartment you’re lucky to have a full standing fridge let alone a stove, or a hot plate," DeLacy said. "Even lucky to have a microwave oven. So to be able to have a home cooked meal that was prepared in love, to be able to touch them with the name of Jesus, is a powerful way to provide dignity to people.”

The next step is finding more food. Midwest Food Bank gives the group about 150,000 pounds of food every year at no charge. They'd like to provide more--and that's where Hoosier generosity comes in.

“Transportation is one of the biggest pieces. When we send a semi out to pick up a truck load of product it costs us sometimes up to $900 to do that,” said John Whitaker with Midwest Food Bank.

A cash donation of $30 will feed one hungry neighbor for a month--and every dollar counts.

“To be able to come to a safe place where they know they are going to find love, find safety, find hope and find a warm smile that does all the work for them to be able to them get to the next day," DeLacy said.