Council OKs Salvation Army mobile canteen to fill soup kitchen gap

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The Salvation Army will fill one gap in the city’s soup kitchen calendar that area churches otherwise cover. The Crestview City Council unanimously approved the organization’s plan to bring a mobile canteen to town to serve weekly Sunday dinners to the homeless.

For several years, local churches have operated a rotating soup kitchen schedule, offering hot lunches and — when cold weather shelters open — evening dinners, six days a week. After Salvation Army Lt. Chris Welch addressed the council at its Oct. 22 meeting, the seventh day was included in the schedule.

The organization and the local Sharing and Caring food bank provide the weekly service out of a “mobile feeding unit,” or canteen, Welch said. All the Salvation Army needed was a place to park the vehicle when it serves Sunday dinner.

A new downtown parking lot under construction on Wilson Street would be a prime location when the lot is ready in about 60 days, City Clerk Betsy Roy said. However, in the interim, the City Hall parking lot adjacent to the railway tracks is not a viable alternative, she said.

“Right now, as we know, our parking lot is not our parking lot,” Roy said. “It’s owned by CSX.”

Councilwoman Robyn Helt suggested using Old Spanish Trail Park’s canteen park until the new downtown lot is ready, but Roy said the park is heavily booked with activities that might disrupt having a consistent location for the canteen.

Public Works Assistant Director Carlos Jones asked whether the parking area in front of the Twin Hills Park children’s playground would work. Helt suggested asking CSX railroad if it’d allow the canteen to use the City Hall south lot until the new parking lot is ready.

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