Library helps Salvation ArmyPublished 11:00pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The Salvation Army’s Feeding His Sheep program has been saved thanks to an offer from the Niles District Library in the 11th hour.
Last week the program, which provides weekend meals in backpacks to students in area schools during the school year, appeared to be in jeopardy due to lack of space at The Salvation Army office.
Jan Nowak, director of caring ministries and social services, told the Star last week that the program needed a 1,000 square-foot space that is heated and secure at no cost.
Her prayer was answered.
Library officials, after reading in the Niles Daily Star this week about the situation, contacted The Salvation Army about room in its basement.
“The library is always looking for ways to serve our community,” said library Director Nancy Studebaker. “We are a tax-supported entity and we are happy in any way we can use the resources of the library to benefit our community, especially children in need.”
Major Tracey Walters said the room is a “lifesaver.”
“September through Christmas, our building is a little small for everything going on, so this was really needed,” she said.
Walters said the space needs to be cleaned and organized before the Feeding His Sheep supplies can be moved in.
“The upside for the library is The Salvation Army will be helping us with a major reorganization of the basement,” Studebaker said. “So it’s a win-win situation.”
Last year the program served six meals every weekend to 170 children in need in the Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan school districts. That’s 3,216 backpacks of food and 19,296 meals for the year, and Nowak expects those numbers to double this year.
“The fruit of all this is parents and teachers reporting children with greatly improved grades, attendance, better attitudes and more energy,” Nowak said.
To find out more about the Feeding His Sheep program, contact Nowak at (269) 684-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org/niles.