The woman cried.
For the first time in her life, she had to ask for food for her children. Standing at the front desk of the SalvationArmy in Glen Burnie, she looked at the forms and had to wipe away tears. So did the volunteer taking her application.
"A lot more people are coming in here who have lost their jobs orhad their wages cut," said Peggy Vick, county director of the Salvation Army, who has seen several people burst into tears at the office in recent months. "Sometimes the person taking the application also cries. It's very upsetting."
As more first-timers seek help, families and businesses are stepping in to fill the gap. The manager of a Pizza Hut in Pasadena came up with a novel twist on a canned food drive. And many families brought food during Thanksgiving to stock the Salvation Army's pantry on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, Vick said.
The organization is kicking off its annual canned food drive at Giant Food stores today. With the help of the Pizza Hut campaign and private donations, Vick hopes to meet the increased demand for food.
Bobbie Fries, who manages the Pizza Hut in Elizabeth Station offFort Smallwood Road, wanted to do something to help the many families hurt by the recession. She decided to start a canned-food drive and encourage customers to give by offering a discount on medium and large pizzas.
Customers who bring two canned goods to the Pizza Hut stores in Elizabeth Station, Jumpers Station and Arnold will receive a $2 discount on any medium or large pizza. Fries began the program over the Thanksgiving weekend and plans to continue it through Christmas.
"It's a brand new idea," said Harry R. Colson, director of marketing and promotions for Pizza Hut of Maryland Inc. "She was looking for some way to help the community through the holiday season because times are getting so tough. So she came up with this idea, working with theSalvation Army."
Most of the donated food will be used to make gift baskets for needy families, Vick said. Some items will be donated to the Adult Rehabilitation Center, a drug rehab program in Glen Burnie.
The North County branch of the Salvation Army helped more than350 families last Christmas and expects to serve at least 400 this year, Vick said.
The organization is still accepting applications.