Jim Nordstrom, NAB

Recently, my fourteen year old son, Beck and I had the opportunity to visit with Captain Terry Masango, Salvation Army Corps Officer and pastor at the Renton Rotary Food Bank and Corps Community Center in Washington State. By spending the afternoon with Captain Terry, we saw firsthand how we are ‘Doing the Most Good’ here in the greater Seattle area.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Captain Terry and his wife, Captain Rutendo Masango first came to the US in 2000, and then to the Renton Salvation Army location in 2006. Captain Terry is fifth generation Salvation Army, growing up with the understanding that the local Salvation Army was his “family church”.

With Captain Terry’s leadership, the Renton Food Bank has implemented an innovative program, reaching out to kids in the area by providing a reliable source of meals on weekends. In the local school district, 50% of the kids participate in the federal reduced-price lunch program. Beginning in 2008, the Food Bank began working with the schools to identify kids needing help, some of whom are homeless, and then provide backpacks with healthy, kid-oriented foods including fresh fruit and easy to prepare items. Seeing the backpacks, others assume the kids are toting homework and personal items when they are actually carrying their own food lifeline, bridging the weekend meal gap.

The Masango’s prayers have continually been answered and the program has been an outstanding success. The number of kids served currently stands at 247 per week and other schools are asking to join. Financial support has been provided by the Army and many in the community, but more is needed in order to continue. If you would like to help support the program, please contact Captain Terry Masango, The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 977, Renton, WA, 98057, terry.masango@usw.salvationarmy.org, (425) 255-3012.

The backpack program is another great example of how The Salvation Army is a catalyst for, ‘Doing The Most Good’. Through caring individuals like Captain Terry and his team in Renton, we are identifying needs in our own community and responding in unique and innovative ways.