On File

A New Way To Serve

Edwina Thomas inside the Salvation Army canteen.

Edwina Thomas inside the Salvation Army canteen.

Edwina Thomas, food service manager for the Salvation Army’s Baton Rouge, La., Corps, was focused on helping people during the flood, even though she had lost her home to it.

“I remember my grandson called me,” she said. “He was saying that I had to leave. The water was coming up, higher and higher.”

Thomas lived in a low area, and by the time she arrived at her house, the water had risen three feet and covered her mailbox. She went inside, gathered all the clothing she could carry, and left.

“Everything looked like a disaster movie,” remembers Thomas. “I felt like I was running for my life.”

People who had lost everything would soon look to the Baton Rouge Corps for food and assistance. But when the corps lost its kitchen in the flood, Thomas also lost her way of serving the community.

“We had to do all our food services, all our cooking, no matter how many we had to feed, out of one canteen (food service truck). The space was a little tight, but it worked out,” she said.

Thomas had become familiar with the Army through shopping at its thrift store. She noticed the men who worked at the store, beneficiaries of the Army’s Corps Salvage and Rehabilitation Center (CSRC), were always in a happy mood.

“I started volunteering at the corps and learned why they were so positive. Before work, they began every day at 7:30 A.M., with prayer and shared testimonies with each other.”

Now working at the corps as a full–time cook, Thomas looks forward to helping in the kitchen when it’s rebuilt, but she cherishes the time spent serving food from the canteen.

“Doing meals from this canteen taught me that I had something inside me that I didn’t realize. It taught me the value of selflessness, how important it is to get the job done, and not worry about my own situation,” says Thomas. “It was a whole new way to serve. Instead of being indoors, I was out there with the community. Any place where I can be of service to somebody, that’s the place where I now want to be.”

by Hugo Bravo

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