Detroit 3D Cover-5

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One Night in January 1988…
One night in January 1988, a Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services truck loaded up with 75 sandwiches, soup and hot chocolate to serve Detroit’s homeless. After driving around the city’s east side, the crew couldn’t find anyone to serve. When the truck pulled into an alley nearby a burned-out apartment building on the corner of Kercheval and St. Jean, a few men, women and children walked up to the truck to get their meal. It was on that night The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Bed & Bread program was formed.

The Emergency Disaster Services truck was used for the first few months until The Salvation Army purchased several old food trucks. They repaired and renovated them into the Bed & Bread trucks. Over the years, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Bed & Bread program has expanded to now serve more than 4,600 meals every day at 60 stops along three different routes in the city of Detroit.

Winter storms may keep students and workers home, but The Salvation Army Bed & Bread trucks still drive along their routes to provide warm meals on the coldest days.

Hunger and Homelessness Don’t Take a Day Off
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s poverty rate (13%) is well above the national average. That means more than one million Michiganders are living in poverty – a single mom of three struggling to put food on the table, a young man living out of his car because he could no longer afford his rent payment.

The Bed & Bread program is the Salvation Army’s answer to hunger and homelessness. The program serves food and shelter to those in need, providing nearly 1.7 million meals and nearly 52,000 nights of shelter annually.

Volunteers from Bank of America prepare sandwiches to be served off The Salvation Army Bed & Bread trucks.

Meeting the Community Where They Are – Literally
While there are approximately 124 Bed & Bread programs across the United States, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s program is unique because it serves people via mobile feeding units: Bed & Bread trucks.

The Bed & Bread trucks serve meals seven days a week, 365 days a year, alternating between sandwiches, stews and soups, and other hot meals. Each day, The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread truck drivers make their way through Detroit, including holidays and days when the weather may prove dangerous.

“On the coldest winter days, schools and businesses close – sometimes the postal service can’t even deliver mail – but the Bed & Bread trucks still make their way through the community,” said Major Toni Dorrell, Metro Detroit Area Commander for The Salvation Army Great Lakes Division. “Detroit has its share of economically depressed areas, making access to quality food and shelter more difficult. This innovative approach to food distribution reaches those who are unable to make it to a soup kitchen.”

The “bed” part of the Bed & Bread program helps provide more than 140 nights of shelter each night. The Salvation Army has three shelters located in the Harbor Light System (Detroit, Monroe and Clinton Township), as well as the MATTS Shelter in Macomb and several corps community centers.

The Salvation Army Bed & Bread trucks load up at and depart from the nonprofit’s Great Lakes Harbor Light System in Detroit.

It Takes a Village
The Salvation Army Bed & Bread program delivers staggering amounts of food and shelter to combat the vast need in the community. This essential program is possible thanks to the generosity of corporate and community partners who donate to The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club Radiothon.

The Salvation Army Bed & Bread trucks distribute food to hungry metro Detroiters every day of the year.

For the past 36 years, this fundraiser has been the primary source of funding for the Bed & Bread program, raising more than $43.1 million to continue the fight against hunger and homelessness.

The Salvation Army Bed & Bread program continues the fight against hunger and homelessness in metro Detroit thanks to the funds donated for the nonprofit’s annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon event each February.

Doing The Most Good
The Salvation Army is a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to serving people in need without discrimination. The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit uses $.84 of every dollar raised to provide direct services to people in need every day of the year.

In addition to the Bed & Bread program, the nonprofit is known for its annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign to fundraise for its critical social programs. The Salvation Army Great Lakes Division helps Michiganders in need by offering holiday assistance, emergency disaster relief services, drug and alcohol treatment, youth programming, free legal aid for low income individuals, and so much more.

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