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Salvation Army feeds homeless people, kicking off Empty Stocking Fund

By Sharon Dooley | sklscoops@cox.net

Working together for one common goal, both the Salvation Army and The ROCK Ministries have been feeding homeless people and the hungry once a month in downtown Fort Walton Beach.

“We partner with this church,” said Lt. James Milner, who serves as corps officer with his wife, Lt. Abby Milner, in the Salvation Army Okaloosa and Walton counties facility.

Ismael Patterson (left) and Steven Chadwick prepare hot meals from the Salvation Army’s mobile kitchen.

“We take the mobile kitchen, and we cook from the truck,” Milner added.

With its mobile kitchen, the Salvation Army provides the facility to prepare food, while The ROCK Ministries’ Taking it to the Street program brings together homeless people for a hot meal.

More (2019 event):PHOTOS: Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Event

Both organizations also offer spiritual comfort and acceptance to people who may feel they have been forgotten.

A man receives a meal and kind words during from the Salvation Army and The ROCK Ministries through the Taking it to the Streets program.

The two groups recently held a dinner on Nov. 14, with prayers offered and meals served. They can easily be found next to three large, wooden crosses.

A prayer is shared Nov. 14 as the Salvation Army and The Rock Ministries conclude their combined work through Taking it to the Streets.

This weekend will be another big one for the Salvation Army.

The Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Magnolia Grill, 157 Brooks St. SE in downtown Fort Walton Beach. The public is encourage to attend, but social distancing and wearing a mask are highly encouraged.

"We are still encouraging individuals and organizations to be Red Kettle Campaign volunteers ringing bells in both Okaloosa and Walton County sites," said Tom Rice, owner of the Magnolia Grill.

Anyone interested in volunteering to ring the bell during Red Kettle Campaign can contact Rice at 850-302-0266.

The event also serves as the launch of the Empty Stocking Fund, a fundraising effort facilitated by the Northwest Florida Daily News and administered by the Salvation Army. The Empty Stocking Fund exists because of donations made by the people who live in Northwest Florida, people who want to give a helping hand to their neighbors who face financial distress. All money donated to the Empty Stocking Fund remains in Northwest Florida.

For information about the Salvation Army of Okaloosa and Walton counties, visit www.salvationarmyflorida.org/fortwalton.

For information about The Rock Ministries and Taking it to the Streets, visit www.facebook.com/RockMinistriesFWB.