Salvation Army, Feed the Children: Care packages for 800 families

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Easter may have come and gone, but on Wednesday, April 3rd, 800 struggling families on Milwaukee’s northwest side got quite the basket of goodies — containing food and personal care items.

The Salvation Army and Feed the Children arrived at the Brentwood Church of Christ on 60th Street with two semi-trucks full of boxes. Some were filled with the staples – cereal, rice and other non-perishable food.  Other boxes were filled with personal care items.

“There's some soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste,” Major Roger Ross, Milwaukee County Commander of the Salvation Army said.

Each family took home three boxes for a total of 35 pounds of needed items. It’s enough that will last an average family of four for up to one week.

“Been in Milwaukee for 3 ½ years.  This is my first time,” Dennis Mitchell said.

He said he’s never had to ask for help, until now.

“I don't have money all the time for food.  You got your insurance, you’ve got pay for your car and gas.  You got insurance, you got rent, pay gas and water,” Mitchell said.

Another first-time recipient at the distribution was Kandi Burks, a mother of three.

“Right now, we're kind of struggling with the economy.  My husband's retired,” Burks said.

Organizers say these are the types of stories that are becoming more common — creating an even greater need to support struggling families.

“We're getting many, many more requests from people who have never asked for assistance from the Salvation Army before, so we're having a much higher percentage of people coming in for the very first time,” Ross said.

While the big distribution happens only once a year, to those receiving the good, it means one less week they’ll have to worry.

“I think it's great.  I think it's beautiful.  I think it's a Christian act,” Lyphenia Bryant said.

The distribution is part of a national effort through the Feed the Children caravan.  Since it started in 2009, Salvation Army and Feed the Children have helped more than 450,000 families across the country.