Berwick Salvation Army Boosts Food Delivery with Food Bank and “Project Dash”
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
The Salvation Army in Berwick, no stranger to providing meals to those who need them, is embarking on a food delivery program with the support of The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank that will initially serve 50 local participants.
The program, utilizing DoorDash’s nationwide “Project Dash” initiative, is the first of its kind among nonprofits in Columbia County. “If you’re hungry, we’re the place to find food,” says Captain Michael Buzzard, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army in Berwick.
The Salvation Army in Berwick already offers three weekly meals, Saturday hot meals and groceries in its food panty program.
The new program will deliver monthly supplies of food for seniors and those in compromising and at-risk situations – health-compromised children and adults, those with disabilities – protecting them from unneeded risk exposure to COVID-19.
Because it is run through DoorDash’s delivery system database, clients don’t have to be home when these boxes are delivered. DoorDash’s GPS and checking system allows the drivers to record that the boxes were delivered.
“So, if they have to make a doctor’s appointment, there will still be food waiting for them,” says Capt. Buzzard. “We’re looking at anywhere from 20-25 drivers each month who might be potentially coming to deliver these boxes.”
“Project DASH” has delivered an estimated 15 million meals nationwide in more than 900 cities, including through a similar program the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank initiated via The Salvation Army in Lebanon in December.
That program services more than 260 seniors, says Adam Peterson, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Senior Program Manager.
Peterson reached out to The Salvation Army in Berwick at the recommendation of its Bloomsburg partner Agape, who has partnered with the organization in the past. The CPFB had been channeling its monthly food outreach through Berwick’s Senior Center, but the steady growth of needy seniors, the challenges of COVID-19 – even the 35-pound weight of the boxes – at times overwhelmed the volunteers at The Senior Center.
“I think The Salvation Army has the capacity to have more volunteers to dispense,” says Peterson. “They have other programs that they’re facilitating where they need that volunteer assistance. I think their outreach to have volunteers support programs like these is why it will definitely work there.”
Capt. Buzzard agrees. “The best part for us is that this is a new ministry opportunity that requires no funding on our end and very little change from our already established social service ministries,” he says. “This is an exciting, innovative new way of doing what we’ve done for generations.”
Two other programs, one through the Lebanon County Christian Ministries and another through Brightside Opportunity Center in Lancaster, are on line to begin later this month, says Peterson.
“We are really hopeful we are on the precipice of really expanding throughout our 26-county service territory,” says Peterson. “We hope to find other locations where we can utilize Door Dash. And we can utilize the partnerships with organizations like The Salvation Army to get more food to the seniors who so desperately need it.”
With re-registration scheduled for May, Captain Buzzard anticipates the Berwick program will expand quickly from the original 50 participants once launched.
“Things seem to be growing here in Berwick,” he says. “And The Lord continues to bless us.”