A Light of Hope for Small Southeast Community Provided from Anchorage Youth

Apr 4, 2020 | by Lessa Peter

An 11-year-old starts her own food drive to meet the need in Southeast Alaska


This past week, The Salvation Army Anchorage Corps Community Center received a thoughtful surprise from a young lady named Madison Soots. Soots, an 11-year-old Junior Alaska Native Sisterhood member in Anchorage, wanted to do something good to help Southeast Alaska communities who are experiencing food insecurity. With great planning, effort and a giving heart, Soots was able to provide food and supplies to the community of Kake during the current COVID-19 crisis by way of The Salvation Army.

Soots said she wanted to, “do good things because others may need it."

After hearing about the need for support in Southeast Alaska by her aunt, the Alaska Native Sisterhood Alaska Grand Camp President in Sitka, who had done a food drive for the community, Soots decided she needed to do something to help as well. Soots and her mother began their efforts to gather supplies by reaching out to Anchorage local businesses, family and friends.

When COVID-19 mandates were placed in Anchorage, Soots and her mother no longer had a contact that could help ship the items, so they reached out to their local Salvation Army Corps in Anchorage. Anchorage Corps Officers Rachel and Paul Chouinard encouraged them to bring their donations to the Anchorage Corps when they were ready to be shipped.

“Madi really learned how to do a food drive from beginning to end,” said Moreno-Soots. “It’s such a blessing to have The Salvation Army be able to ship the donations and distribute it wisely.”

“As [Madison] saw the donation box fill up with cans of food, boxed food, diapers, hand soaps, hand sanitizer, coffee, and dog food she ran up to me and said, ‘I can donate all my old movies, books and toys’,” recalled Moreno-Soots.

Soots’ donated food, hygiene and toys were sent by The Salvation Army with other supplies to Kake, a small Southeast Alaskan community which has had food security issues since 2019 due to transportation options.

“We are extremely grateful for Madison and her mother’s efforts to help The Salvation Army continue Doing the Most Good for those in the most need in Alaska,” said Major Paul Chouinard, Salvation Army Anchorage Corps Officer. “Every effort and donation counts when there are people who are in need of basic necessities. We are delighted that this young lady took the lead in meeting the needs of those in the community of Kake, Alaska.”

Learn how you can start your own donation drive by contacting your local Salvation Army Corps. Provide monetarily by donating at https://give-ak.salvationarmy.org/covid19relief or by texting cov19 to 243-725.

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