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Annual "Day of Caring" Serves Residents in Need

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http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/annualdayo_5021.mp3

Thursday marked the 16th annual United Way “Day of Caring.” The United Way of the Ozarks had 1,400 volunteers working on more than 150 projects. The Salvation Army participated in the Day of Caring by providing essential back-to-school supplies for local children at its Thrift Store on Campbell Avenue. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.

Over 2,000 outfits, 700 pairs of shoes, and scores of backpacks full of essential school supplies went home with over 700 needy children.

Major Claire Grainger is the joint pastor and administrator of the Salvation Army of Springfield and has participated in the “Day of Caring” for six consecutive years.

“It’s sad they are trapped in poverty, [and] they need that help. But on the other hand it is encouraging to see that we can continue that support.”

The Salvation Army says it’s seen a 30% increase in people who rely on their charitable services over the last year.

Grainger says the people she works with inspire her to keep doing the work she does. She gives one example of a mother and son she recently encountered.

“And this little boy kind of turned to his mom and touched her arm and said ‘Mom, am I dreaming? I’m getting new shoes?’ And my reaction was no first-grader should ever have to worry about that.”

One local woman who was at the Salvation Army to get school supplies was a mother of four; the oldest is in 2nd Grade. She didn’t want to give her name.

“We got a really cute outfit, and he’s getting his haircut. Which we couldn’t afford the haircut, so it’s good we got that. And I guess they’re giving him a backpack. I don’t know what else, but they’ve given us a lot of stuff and we’ve only been here like 30 minutes.”

This was her first time at the Salvation Army. She said the help she receives here will certainly ease her burdens as well as those of her children.