Part of Garry Lautenschlager’s responsibilities as Secretary of the Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries (SAEM) Board is to raise funds to support area ministries and initiatives, which include feeding programs and Ms. Dorsey’s Clothes Closet.
He was elated when he found out that Member One Credit Union presented a $1,000 check to SAEM in late November.
Said Andrea Milliron, Member One Vice President and Market Relationship Manager, “SAEM helps fulfill a critical need in surrounding areas like New Castle by delivering food and educational necessities to some of the community’s most vulnerable children.”
Food waste is a significant issue throughout the country, and something that Lautenschlager cares deeply about. At-risk school children in Craig County face food insecurity on a daily basis. Last year, almost one in three school-age children throughout Southwest Virginia were eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch, according to Lautenschlager.
“What happens on Saturday and Sunday or during the summer months when many may have very little to eat?” he said. “For the past 11 years, Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries has raised funds to provide nutritious, wholesome breakfast and lunch items for these students. Increasing requests for assistance and the expansion of the feeding programs will require further community support, both financially and with volunteers.”
A lack of confidence is often a barrier to students reaching their full potential. Faulty hygiene products can also further isolate a student. When asked what is SAEM in a nutshell, Lautenschlager said, “a collaborative effort by clergy, local service agencies and residents of the Salem area to serve families in need.”
He continued, “In November, the Clothes Closet served 831 guests for a total of 1,961 family members. Approximately 120 were first-time shoppers. Over 1,180 winter coats have already been distributed to our guests. Over 100 volunteers serve each month, however, with increasing usage, more volunteers are needed. I encourage interested individuals to contact 540-389-4889 or visit saemva.org if they would like to get involved.”