Food, Love and Compassion

by The Salvation Army

Food sustains us. Food brings back memories. Food brings us together. Food says, “I love you.”

There are a lot of ways people use food to show love and compassion: a mother feeding an infant, a volunteer delivering a meal to a homebound senior, a child sharing a cookie with a friend, and a family bringing canned goods to a food pantry.

Every day, The Salvation Army gives love and compassion through food. The mobile feeding and homeless outreach units make more than 30 stops throughout Chicago to give families and individuals a cup of hearty soup or stew, bread and a cup of juice, water or lemonade.

But it’s not just a service line. While people are waiting for food, Salvation Army staff visit with them, checking to see where they’re sleeping, if the kids need coats or shoes, or if they’re ready to leave the streets. Whatever the need, The Salvation Army tries to help – providing hygiene kits, coats, hats, case management and spiritual support.

“The food is our calling card,” said Major Nancy Powers, administrator at The Salvation Army Freedom Center, the home base for the mobile feeding and homeless outreach units. “They come to us for food, but they leave with help and the knowledge they are loved.”

On Thanksgiving, the mobile feeding and outreach units hand out complete Thanksgiving dinners prepared and packed by Levy. This small and simple act provides a warm holiday greeting and compassion for those who are often forgotten.

While the food is delicious, warm and satisfying, sometimes the food isn’t the most important thing. What is often more important than the actual protein, vegetable and starch on the plate is the fact that someone gave of their time to hand out a meal – especially on a holiday. This is called the ministry of presence. And presence is love.

Learn more about how The Salvation Army cures hunger and how you can help, visit the website at