Small Business, Big Impact!

Hundreds of gallons of milk, 50 bags of produce and hundreds of yogurts – that’s just a sampling of donated goods The Salvation Army of Long Beach gathers monthly from all parts of the city to maintain its food pantry for hungry families and homeless people.

Supplying perishable staples like milk and fresh produce has always been a challenge for The Salvation Army‘s food pantry. But thanks to SPUD – a local service which provides online grocery shopping for home delivery of fresh produce and local organic foods – organic milk and produce are now plentiful.

“Cans and baked goods like bread are a little easier to come by, but adding fresh dairy and produce to our food pantry has really stepped up our level of service,” reflected Gail Crandall, The Salvation Army Long Beach Corps’ Social Service Coordinator. “SPUD may be a small business, but they’re making a big difference.”

While the company’s generosity is extraordinary – it comes as no surprise in light of small businesses’ reputation for charity. According to a 2008 American Express survey, small companies contribute 6 percent of profits to charity; that’s considerably higher than their big box counterparts. The Salvation Army is very grateful to all who give, but we want to give credit where credit is due to those quiet, small local businesses like SPUD which give humbly and without fanfare.

The partnership was born a year ago with a simple phone call. SPUD had a real problem: too much food, not enough customers. The Salvation Army had the opposite problem. The rest is history.

“We have a no waste policy here at SPUD and it’s very important to us that any leftover food goes out to our local community,” said Adriana Schlarb, SPUD Customer Care Manager. “The Salvation Army’s great work really resonates with us and our customers so it was an easy choice to work with them.”

In the face of limited resources, The Salvation Army’s lean operation feeds 1,000 people every month. Three days a week, families who can’t afford groceries come for nutritious food to replenish their own kitchen pantries. On Tuesdays, the food bags look a little different for homeless people, filled with easy, pre-prepared items like cereal, raisins, peanut butter and jelly, crackers and tuna.

“The biblical story of feeding loaves and fish to the multitudes comes to mind,” said Captain Moy Hernandez, Corps Officer. “We thank God for the food we can afford, and He blesses and multiplies it through generous partners so everyone can eat.”

There are a lot of reasons to patronize small businesses: support the local economy, help provide jobs and it’s better for the environment. But the next time you make a purchase, consider also the fringe benefits to The Salvation Army!

Written by Dawn Wright

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