Local nonprofit Love Thy Neighbor helps the Salvation Army with its clothing assistance program for families in need. The community donates gently used clothes to the Salvation Army.

“But nobody donates underwear, and we wouldn’t accept it anyway,” Love Thy Neighbor treasurer Art Fleming said. “So we have to buy shoes and socks and underwear and it costs money.”

The CoServ Charitable Foundation presented Love Thy Neighbor with $12,000 to buy shoes, socks and undergarments on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Salvation Army Lewisville. The Lewisville location has also recently received a gently used disaster response vehicle from another Salvation Army to feed those in need around the area.

CoServ is a nonprofit electric utility cooperative. The CoServ Charitable Foundation, or CCF, is an entity of CoServ, community relations specialist Lauren Baccus said.

“The money from the CCF, it actually comes from our members and customers who can choose to round their bill up to the next whole dollar,” Baccus said. “Just pennies a year is a lot, a lot of money.”

Some of the funding also comes from CoServ employees too.

“Employees donate out of their paychecks, and we do fundraisers throughout the year,” Baccus said.

Love Thy Neighbor has been working with the Salvation Army since 2010, President Traci Long said. It first started working in the kitchen, then the group picked up the responsibilities of the clothing program when it began a couple of years later.

Since Love Thy Neighbor got its 501(c)3 in 2012, it has begun other programs not associated with Salvation Army to help children and pets in need, making baby blankets and pet beds, Long said.

The group serves all over North Texas, donating blankets to places such as PediPlace and hospitals. The nonprofit delivered over 50,000 items through its Love Thy Baby program in 2016.

Salvation Army Lewisville's newly acquired emergency response canteen will serve food to those in need when disaster strikes North Texas. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)
Salvation Army Lewisville’s emergency response canteen will serve food to those in need if disaster strikes North Texas. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

On the same day, the Salvation Army’s newly acquired response canteen underwent maintenance in the parking lot.

Typically parked at the Rich Lubke Community Organic Garden with the garden’s permission, the $260,000 canteen became a Lewisville tool a couple of weeks ago and can serve a thousand meals a day in emergency situations, Director Steve Thomas said.

“We come alongside the first responders,” Thomas said, using the tornado in Rowlett in 2015 as a hypothetical example. “We feed the Red Cross, we feed the fire[fighters] and police, and the victims.”

The volunteers helping with the canteen are or will be FEMA certified for disaster response. Currently there are 34 people certified, and after Jan. 21 Thomas expects there to be a total of 50 certified volunteer responders.

“It will be the largest team in Texas of emergency response, and this canteen is ours now,” he said.

While the canteen is located in Lewisville, Thomas said it’s a Denton County canteen. To prepare for disaster, the canteen will deploy to a community in North Texas every four to six weeks to allow volunteers to feed the people and practice the emergency response skills.

To volunteer with Love Thy Neighbor and the clothing assistance program, call MaryAnn Saxton at 214-536-8253. To find out more volunteer information for Salvation Army Lewisville, call 972-353-9400.