Guest column by Bill Kalmar, former Director of the Michigan Quality Council
Country singers have a way of expressing their thoughts and views unlike any other artists. How else can we account for songs such as, I Guess I Had Your Leavin' Coming, or I Bought The Shoes That Just Walked Out On Me, or how about, If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me. Rhett Akins had a hit a couple of years ago with a ditty titled, That Ain't My Truck. Here's a verse: "That ain't my shadow on her wall, Lord this don't look good at all, Cuz that's my girl -- my whole world... But that ain't my truck".
And while on the subject of trucks, every day thousands of our fellow citizens look for the distinctive red and white Salvation Army Bed and Bread trucks that traverse through the various neighborhoods of our community. These are people who through no fault of their own have become disenfranchised. Imagine, if you can, being hungry and homeless - especially during this coldest time of the year! It's a heartbreaking thought but unfortunately for many in our community it's a way of life.
Fortunately, the Bed and Bread trucks of The Salvation Army have become a lifeline for the underprivileged. Each day The Salvation Army Bed and Bread trucks serve nearly 5,000 meals on the streets of Detroit. In some cases, the cup of soup, sandwich, and perhaps a cookie, is the only sustenance some of our fellow citizens will receive for the entire day. And no matter the weather, the Bed and Bread trucks are there to provide what is a life saving meal for too many.
Most of us in the area have never seen the trucks and that is a good sign. It means that we are in the warm confines of our homes, gainfully employed, and have never experienced the trauma of life on the streets. Not seeing The Salvation Army Trucks means that our lives have not been impacted by the strains of unemployment or some tragedy not of our making. As such, I think it is incumbent upon us to assist those people who look for and see the Bed and Bread trucks everyday!
The country song may state that "it's not my truck", but I truly believe that the Salvation Army trucks belong to everyone in the community who want to assist those less fortunate. The Salvation Army trucks make no distinction to race, color or creed because the trucks provide nourishment to everyone! And, believe it or not, there are in fact people who have had the trucks in their lives and as a result of the assistance from The Salvation Army are now back on their feet and are contributing to the Bed and Bread campaign themselves.
How can we be a part of this tremendous movement? On Friday, February 26th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Dick Purtan of 104.3 WOMC will be hosting his 23nd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon live from the Oakland Mall to raise money for the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club. To support this very worthwhile endeavor, you can become a member of The Bed and Bread Club by contributing just $120 (or just $10 a month), which will help feed one person in Detroit for a year. Or, for $240 (or $20 per month) you can help feed two people. And for that $240 donation you will receive a commemorative collectible plate signed by Dick Purtan.
Of course no donation will be refused and all are certainly welcome! Dick Purtan has been conducting this Radiothon for 22 years and because of his commitment and the generosity of the community, nearly $22 million has been raised for The Salvation Army's Bed And Bread Club. Last year's campaign raised more than $2.2 million!
If you have never seen the Bed and Bread trucks, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. However, we need the trucks to keep running for those less fortunate. And yes, I know that there are many worthwhile charities that need our support. But the Salvation Army campaign strikes at the very heart of our own community, so won't you somehow find it in your heart to contribute to The Bed and Bread Club? Just call (248) 307-1043 between now and February 26 and make your donation so that those who rely on the trucks will continue to see them everyday. Don't be the person in the song, If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me. Dick Purtan and his team are waiting for your call! Make their phones ring!
And if you happen to pass one of the trucks on the road, give a wave knowing that your contribution is helping to provide a lifeline to many of our community's neediest citizens. And contrary to the country song, that truck belongs to all of us! I'll be doing my part - won't you join in too!
For more information on the 23rd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon visit womc.com.
Online donations are also being accepted right now! Click to make your secure donation.
Be sure to become a fan of the Radiothon on Facebook: Dick Purtan Radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army's Bed & Bread Club page