Salvation Army and LDS partnership provides 24,500 food boxes across West

The COVID-19 pandemic thrust The Salvation Army into new territory, responding to a crisis that affects us all while expanding its existing services to meet increased community need. In late February, interruptions in the food supply chain left many grocery store shelves bare in populated cities across the country. To complicate matters, many seniors and high-risk individuals were quarantined or self-isolating and needed a contact-free way to get food. Low-income children were suddenly out of school requiring their families to come up with one more meal each day. Further, a huge influx of people found themselves suddenly unemployed or under-employed and didn’t know how they would continue to feed their families.

A partnership between The Salvation Army and The Church of Latter-Day Saints served people in all of these situations and built new partnerships in communities across the Western Territory.  

In total, 24,500 food boxes were distributed across the West.

Each of the West’s nine divisions set-up drive-through food box events to provide a contact-free service powered by volunteers and supported by the LDS Church and other community partners. Each family also received a $20 gift card with each box so they could purchase perishables and culturally appropriate ingredients.

Impact at a glance

  • More than 30 events
  • 490,000 meals provided through the food boxes
  • 12 states in the western U.S. as well as the Southern, Central and Eastern Territories
  • More than 23,000 $20 gift cards donated
  • 45+ additional partners came on board providing in-kind support to supplement the food boxes and events
  • Nearly 1,300 volunteers from the LDS Church
  • More than 800 volunteers from the community

What’s in a food box?

Each family received a standard food box valued at approximately $30 and $20 gift card that allowed for cultural diversity and the purchase of fresh product including milk, bread, produce and meat. Each food box provides approximately 20 meals. 

Quotes from the field 

“What I love about The Salvation Army is they are willing to work with whoever is willing to partner with them. That is what Christianity is about, being able to take the bull by the horns and say, ‘let’s do this, who will help? This pandemic has hit so many people and I feel blessed that I have fought for the country and have both my arms and my legs, which many veterans cannot say the same, so I want to continue to give back since God has given me so much. They feel like they are the ones receiving but honestly, it’s us. What I like to do is make it easier on them by making them laugh, making them smile, by letting them feel the love of Christ. People think you cannot change the world, but this, this is changing the world, one box at a time in the back of a truck. Changing the world is one act at a time which has a ripple effect to other people. Ripple effects change the world.” —ROSS CURTIS, CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

“Thank you for holding this event and allowing my children and I to participate in this way. It’s been a blessing to talk to the families who we are helping today.” —TERRI, CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

“There was this great energy at this event. LDS and TSA volunteers and staff had joy and were dancing as they served. At one point I saw a mother and daughter drive through, receive their food box and gift card. Then they held up a handwritten sign made in marker that said, “Thank You” with a smiley face. This warmed my heart. Recipients said, “thank you” and “God bless you”. They knew that we were there because of our faith and to meet human needs in our community. That’s a very powerful thing and speaks beyond words.” —LT. ELIZABETH GROSS, CALIFORNIA SOUTH DIVISION


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