By Will E Sanders
PIQUA — For the charitable sorts who are looking for a reason to either donate their time, money or non-perishable food items, Piqua Salvation Army Capt. Doug Dolder has 7,200 reasons.
That’s the number of dinners that will be served to children and teens during the local Salvation Army’s Summer Feeding Program, which starts June 2 (first Monday after school ends) and continues through Aug. 15 (last Friday before school begins).
Meal delivery takes place Monday through Friday in between those dates from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Meals are also served at the Salvation Army from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
Dolder said the program “targets at-risk children in the Piqua community” and consists of a hot meal, fruit or vegetable, and a dessert.
“Everything that is used in the Summer Feed Program is raised right here in the community,” Dolder said. “We always have a large outpouring, but it is good to remind folks that we do need donations to make it happen. … The Piqua community has always been very supportive of the Salvation Army, but particularly this program.”
The program first began in 1996 as a lunch carry out, but in 2005 the Salvation Army added a mobile program for children up to the age of 17 that makes use of a traveling canteen that acts as a mobile kitchen to serve meals at six locations in the Piqua area.
This year the feeding program will have six stops, which are Paris Court Mobile Home Park, 10220 N. County Road 25-A; Central Baptist Church, 115 Staunton St.; Washington Commons, 950 McKinley Ave.; Piqua Village Apartments, 1345 Covington Ave.; Fountain Park, 1300 Forest Ave.; and Das Park, 859 S. Main St.
This year the summer feeding program added two locations — Fountain Park and Das Park — to the program’s routes, Dolder said.
In addition, the program also serves meals out of the Piqua Salvation Army, 129 S. Wayne St., which is the location where donations can be sent to or accepted at.
Last year the program provided 6,800 meals, but Dolder said the hope this year is to serve 7,200.
“We really want to increase the number of meals served this year,” he said. “We want to feed as many children as possible.”
In order to reach that goal, Dolder said he hopes members of the community can make monetary donations to the program or donate canned fruits or vegetables.
“The feedback from those that receive a meal is always one of appreciation and gratitude,” Dolder said. “The kids always have a smile on their face.”
Almost completely volunteer-driven, the Salvation Army also employs a part-time cook for five to six hours a week in order to give a volunteer cook a day off.
For more information about donating or volunteering, contact the Piqua Salvation Army at (937) 773-7563. Additional information can be found at the organization’s website or Facebook page.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.