MUSCATINE, Iowa–As people get to know one another, sharing a meal often offers a way to help friendships bloom. At the Salvation Army of Muscatine County, new officers Lieutenant Lucas Gantner and Lieutenant Macy Gantner look forward to fostering positive relationships and sharing everything the Salvation Army has to offer by hosting their first Welcome Table Oct. 26 starting at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Corps Building (1000 Oregon Street in Muscatine).
A tradition at Salvation Army Locations in the region, the Welcome Table allows anyone interested in finding out more about the Salvation Army to do so in a relaxed environment. The evening will start out with a free dinner for all in attendance. To help break the ice, Macy Gantner hopes to have several of the Salvation Army’s longtime volunteers share their experiences and how working with the Salvation Army has positively impacted them.
Throughout the rest of the evening, people can participate in an open house, seeing the Salvation Army’s facilities and learning more about their programs. Gantner especially hopes to promote their youth programming (which includes afterschool care and teen nights), the women’s ministry, Sunday services, and the programming for older adults the Salvation Army hopes to introduce in January. Gantner sees the open house as a time, “just for people to know us at a level other than just the people who ring bells at Christmas,” she said. “We can do so much more than that.”
In addition to connecting people with programming that will suit their needs, the Salvation Army hopes to recruit new volunteers to help them maintain and expand their programming. “We can’t do it all on our own,” Gantner emphasized. “Our work happens because of volunteers.”
Right now, the Salvation Army especially needs volunteers to help with their afterschool program, both working with the children to complete homework and participate in fun games and activities, and to help arrange free transportation from schools to the corps building. With many children enrolled this year, Gantner has found working with the youth rewarding and believes other volunteers will too. “They’re excited to be here and to learn and have a safe place to be,” she shared.
Additionally, the Salvation Army has started preparation for their annual Red Kettle Campaign, which they use to fund all of their activities for the year, as well as for Two Weeks of Love, which brings in the donations they need to stock their food pantry and offer their toy shop for families in need. “We’re excited to get Christmas up and going and to get applications out for Angel trees,” Gantner reported. “My husband is getting ready to sleep in the kettle,” she added with a smile.
A time for everyone in Muscatine who would like to come together for a hot meal and companionship to gather and find out more about the Salvation Army of Muscatine County, Gantner invites everyone to come attend this year’s Welcome Table. “I would encourage them to come out and meet us and get to know us, because you don’t know what you don’t know,” she stated. “There’s been a lot going on.”