By Jason KUROSU
Though the Salvation Army of Glendale continuously holds food drives and accepts donations, the amount of food received has decreased year by year. According to Kimberly Selman, Communications associate for the Salvation Army Southern California Division, there has been “a 20% decline in food donations from 2012 to 2013.”
Rick White, director of Social Services/Volunteers coordinator, noticed a drop off in donations some years back, adding that the economic downturn has been a big factor.
“It seems like our peak for collecting food came in 2010. I think, because the economy went so bad so fast, a lot of people were thinking, ‘This could be me. I have to help.’ That thinking has worn off. Most food drives we’re doing – even the bigger, more established ones – are just netting less food than they used to.”
The Salvation Army Glendale provides food for 1,100 people a month and recently held a Valentine’s Day themed drive called the “Love Food Drive,” which brought in about 3,000 pounds of food, according to White.
“I think we were all hoping for more but, I think, this is an event we can build from.”
The next big food drive will be the Postal Food Drive on Saturday, May 10, which will station volunteers at five Glendale post offices. Food delivered to post offices between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. will be boxed up and loaded onto mail trucks, which will transport the food to the Salvation Army food pantry.
“This year will mark the 22nd National Letter Carrier Food Drive,” said White. “It’s the largest single day food drive in the nation. It’s also the largest food drive we do.”
Outside of the food drives, the Salvation Army receives donations collected by various organizations including the PTSA, the Glendale Kiwanis Club, the Boy Scouts and local churches, among others.
White considers the food drives to be generally successful, but does not hide the fact that more is needed and donations are declining on a larger scale.
“I know we are not the only agency experiencing this dynamic – locally and nationally,” he said.
Food items most in need include canned goods, rice, tuna, dry pinto beans, pasta, peanut butter and plain spaghetti sauce. The Salvation Army Glendale is also seeking other personal care items including bar soap, shampoo, toothpaste, diapers and feminine hygiene products.
The Salvation Army is also seeking volunteers for food drives. It is located at 320 W. Windsor Road in Glendale. For more information, call (818) 246-5586.