You’ve probably heard of  The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinners, food pantries or the provision of meals during a natural disaster. But you might not know that TSA in communities across the country fills backpacks or other bags with food to send home from school with kids for the weekend.

That’s to make sure kids who receive free or low-cost breakfasts and lunches at school don’t go hungry at home.

Hemet, California, is one of those communities.

Located some 80 miles from downtown Los Angeles in the San Jacinto Valley, the 28-square mile city has a population of roughly 85,000 people. With a median household income of about $37,000, some 23 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line. And the number of children who qualified for the National School Lunch Program was so high, the school district decided to make it easier—now everyone qualifies.

For Lt. James Fleming, the corps officer or pastor of the Hemet Corps, making sure a person gets the help they need is his greatest passion. And that includes these kids.

In this episode, Lt. James shares more about The Salvation Army’s weekend food program for school kids in Hemet. He works with volunteers, donors, drivers and school nurses to make sure bags with four meals, four snacks and two drinks go home on Friday afternoons with the kids who need it.

Do Gooders Podcast 17 Keeping Kids Full with Lt. James Fleming

Show highlights include:

  • Life in Hemet: Beautiful area and community consisting of various cultures, people and needs.
  • Why become an officer and pastor? Salvation Army helped Lt. James grow and change during recovery by surrendering to the Holy Spirit.
  • What is Lt. James most passionate about? Making sure people get the help they need.
  • Kids don’t go hungry: Now, every kid qualifies for a free breakfast and lunch in Hemet schools.
  • Making an impact? Look at the difference on Monday morning, thanks to nutrition over the weekend.
  • God will provide: Overcoming obstacle of serving more kids and schools.
  • Anonymity maintains dignity: Buy, pack and deliver hundreds of non-distinct bags of food to specific locations, brought to school nurses and selected students take home a bag on Fridays.
  • Weekend Food Program for School Kids: Costs $10,000 a year, and community comes together to raise funds via grants, donations and food drives.
  • Meals and ministry: The Salvation Army provides spiritual growth and prayer, not just a handout.

Nutrition and Kids Quote Lt. James Fleming

Good words from Lt. James Fleming in this show:

“When somebody just gives you love and you don’t even really deserve it, you question it.”

“I felt God was calling me to do something bigger. Maybe he wants me to serve with the rest of my life.”

“Knowing that they had some nutrition over the weekend, it probably made a huge difference.”

Additional resources:

Download this episode wherever you get your podcasts. Find show notes for this episode and more at caringmagazine.org/podcast. Connect with Lt. James Fleming via The Salvation Army Hemet Corps

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