Towards the end of March 2023, Indian River News had the opportunity to interview homeless and impoverished Indian River County residents at the Salvation Army of Indian River County, at the behest of Camp Hummingbird Shelters and Retreats Inc. President Jennifer Rahm.
Many of the homeless that have received food at the Salvation Army of Indian River County have had health issues, both mental and physical, and even difficulty obtaining IDs due to the difficulty of acquiring out-of-state proof of name change paperwork.
Some of those with physical health issues are even physically disabled, rendering them unable to work and unable to escape the homelessness that has been trapping them.
Some of the homeless even told Indian River News they have had difficulty obtaining work due to lack of showers and being insulted for being homeless, despite putting in their best efforts to obtain work and better themselves.
The homeless diners mentioned their struggles with being able to find adequate mental health and physical healthcare, especially those who are disabled. The lack of access to healthcare has caused issues to compile, making their situation worse.
The Pastor at Salvation Army
We also had the chance to interview Pastor George Pellington about what Salvation Army does with feeding the homeless and those who are not homeless but choose to come to Salvation Army for a free lunch.
Pellington is in charge of the kitchen at the Salvation Army.
Pellington is the Outreach Pastor at First Methodist Church in Vero Beach. The ministry started preparing hot meals at the Salvation Army of Indian River County six years ago.
The team at Salvation Army of Indian River County delivers food to many of the Section 8 complexes in Indian River County. Meals are also delivered to Saint Francis Manor, Lexington, and a special needs community called Ark, which is next door to the Salvation Army of Indian River County.
The “church family” does all the cooking, serving, and cleanup for the free lunches provided by the Salvation Army of Indian River County.
Pellington said 8 menus are rotated through each week, with the cycle of menus starting over at week nine.
Pellington said food is served on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Food on Mondays averages 100 meals, Wednesdays average around 225 and Thursdays average around 150 meals.
Food boxes are available at the social services office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, according to Pellington.
Pellington says those who eat at Salvation Army are allowed to eat as much food as they want. Dinners can also take food to go as well so they have food when they’re not at the Salvation Army of Indian River County dining hall.
Notably, Pellington said Rahm is a “celebrity” at the Salvation Army of Indian River County’s dining room. When Indian River News’s Ryan Blade entered the dining room with Rahm, she got a literal standing ovation from the people in the dining room.
Pellington said he and his team do what they do because of their love of God and want to honor everyone regardless of who they are.
Rahm said the meatballs rolled by the cooks are so good that “Chef [Dave] Ramsey would be happy” with them.
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