Bringing Smiles Back: One Little Girl at a Time

September 15, 2017
Tawny Cowen-Zanders | Tawny.Cowen-Zanders@use.salvationarmy.org | (215) 880-9036

Naples, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017)  - There are many things a kindergartner could be doing on a September evening – playing with dolls, riding her bike, chasing the ice cream truck, even, practicing her ABCs. Translating for her mother who wants to know if she is allowed to get food from The Salvation Army canteen should not be one of those things.  Yet, this was what precious, six-year-old Carmen found herself doing, while her anxious mom held her five-month-old sister nearby. 

“Of course you can have something to eat,” said Nancy, The Salvation Army volunteer, as she helped Carmen’s mother gather hot meals, shelf stable meals, fruit, and drinks for her family.  

Nancy then graciously helped the family pile the food on the baby’s stroller because that was their only means of transportation. 

Carmen, struggling to find the right English word, explained the family had been without power since the storm, and they were scared and hungry. 

Carmen shared she was “very scared” when the storm came through the area.  Her mother added that Carmen had not been herself the last couple of days.  She is afraid to go outside, even though it is hot inside their home.  She thinks it is because she thinks another storm will come.

“The first time I saw her excited in days was when she saw your truck.  She pulled my shirt and pointed towards it,” her mother explained.  Then, with tears welling up in her eyes, she added, “She told me, ‘Mommy, they will give us food!’” 

Yes, Carmen, you can be assured The Salvation Army will make sure you eat. The Salvation Army is committed to ensuring those who are the most vulnerable in Collier county have hot food, cold drinks, and hope. This is the sacred commitment. 

As, the family walked away, with Carmen pushing the stroller and her mother carrying her sister, they both glanced back at the canteen.  Carmen simply smiled and shyly waved.  Her mother, still crying, said, “Gracias, le diste a mi hija su sonrisa.”

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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