Love: The Special Ingredient

Food and love are intertwined from the moment we are born. We are fed by our mothers as infants, and studies show that time is essential for parent-child bonding. Families spend time making special food items and meals during holiday seasons. After a kiss and a band-aid, a favorite meal is the fastest way to heal a cut or scrape. So often, food is an expression of love.

Food takes time and energy. Love takes time and energy. Giving of your time and energy to make a snack for a child after school or a bowl of soup for a sick friend is a non-verbal way of letting them know they are loved.

Part of The Salvation Army’s mission is to bring love and compassion to those who are lost, broken, and hopeless. Through a variety of food programs – pantries, mobile feeding units, Christmas food boxes, and other holiday meals – the Army spreads love as it serves those who are hungry for so much more than food.

On Thanksgiving, The Salvation Army serves a full turkey dinner to thousands of families throughout Chicago and the suburbs. In West Humboldt Park, the Salvation Army Freedom Center and Levy will provide neighbors in need a made-from-scratch Thanksgiving meal lovingly prepared over three days.

In addition to serving dinner at the corps community centers with help from partners like Levy, the Army will also bring turkey dinners to those in Chicago who are homeless. The Salvation Army’s mobile feeding and homeless outreach unit will make more than 20 stops around Chicago to provide a full Thanksgiving dinner experience to those who would normally go without.

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 nutrients 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