As the economy continues to struggle here in the lower 48, services providers in Alaska say that financial woes are beginning to catch up with them too.   Alaska has been the last frontier for jobs and opportunity, but folks are now finding fewer ways to make ends meet.  Food pantries are running out of provisions and The Salvation Army says it’s worse than it’s been in a long time.  Click here to have a look at the coverage from KTUU – the local NBC affiliate -  on the issue.

On a related note, my colleague Georgia dug up an interesting story about a bit of Salvation Army history.

During the Great Depression The Salvation Army in Akron, Ohio had a novel approach to the problem of hunger.  With unemployment in the industrial sector soaring to 60%, families had great difficulty providing their kids with enough to eat.  The leader of the Akron Salvation Army, Major Leo Rickard, borrowed the local Rotary Club’s 11-acre summer camp and invited undernourished children between the ages of 6 and 15 to spend two weeks at the camp “fattening up.”

Each child was weighed when they arrived at camp and again when they left.  Major Rickard reported that each child gained between 2 and 6 pounds during their stay. The object, said the major, was to add “pounds of flesh to cushion frail young bodies against the deficiencies of unbalanced diets in crowded city homes.”

His secret weight gain formula: a quart of fresh, whole milk every day for two weeks and plenty of wholesome eggs, meat, potatoes, vegetables, bread and butter.  Area butchers, bakers and grocers supported the effort by providing as much food as they could spare.

The camp grew in popularity over the ten years of its existence and had nearly 500 in attendance near the end of its run.

Click here to read more about the story and see historical photos of the camp.

If you can, please make a donation to your local food bank or The Salvation Army unit in your community so no child will have to know what hunger feels like.  Thank you and God bless you!

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