As a parent one of the things I value with my children is being able to provide for them. Making the meals they enjoy, helping them pick out the school supplies that are their choices so they are excited to go back to school. I love that Salt and Light gives this dignity back to parents. That parents aren’t just given a sack of groceries, but parents can either buy or earn the credits to choose the food choices they want to their children to have, allowing them to send their children to school with the supplies that their children chose instead of what was just given to them randomly.

I believe that by keeping Salt and Light in the community that this is the church supporting the role of parents and making stronger families. And honestly, we parents need all the support we can get in today’s world. I strongly believe in what Salt and Light is doing.

I used to stand in the long line at the old Salt & Light up north of the highway, hoping no one would see me or recognize me, feeling like a failure.  It was a difficult time for our family.  We were struggling financially and feeling trapped and hopeless.  There was just something humiliating about standing in that long line waiting for food that I couldn’t afford to buy.  While I was grateful, I was also resentful.  I kept having to thank everyone for a bag of pre-packed groceries that was full of cheap canned goods and salty snacks.  What my family really needed was meat, fruit, and veggies.  But we couldn’t afford those.  So I came each week and waited in the line.  Oh how I hated that wait.  That line.  That forced gratitude.  And then I signed forms that were supposed to document that I had received food.  Giving my information added to the humiliation.  Once we had a little bit more money, I vowed I would never stand in that line again, no matter what.
This was many years ago.  Salt & Light has made so many positive changes since then.  As I walk thought the store, I see families buying what they need, with their dignity intact.  NO long humiliating lines.  NO documentation.  No questions or averted eyes or forced gratitude.  I see a community coming together to help each other out.  Everyone at the same level.  Everyone treated with gracious love and respect.  This is true Christian charity.  And I’m glad now to be a part of it. 

Salt & Light gave me my life back. I’ve changed so much since I started volunteering there. And the people there are another family to me.

In less than two years at Salt & Light I’ve regained a sense of self worth. I’ve gained friends and another family. I’ve grown to where I can see the light again and I see other people who find hope there.

Salt and Light was a life opening experience. After years in the retail industry, to see what Salt and Light offered on a personnel level to those associated with the organization was inspiring. Each day when I went to work I saw a group of people who showed the Love of Christ to every employee, but most importantly, to the great number of volunteers who worked there. I could see Christs love for those less fortunate as I watched people, who were facing struggles in their lives, walk into a place where open arms were waiting and they were appreciated for who they are. How awesome is that!

During my time there I was able to talk to many community members that came through the donations department. The time I shared with some of these individuals taught me lessons as we talked about their lives and struggles they were having. This brought me closer to God’s Word as I witnessed his amazing healing hand for his people. This so helped with my own struggles and brought me to a realization that my issues paled in the light of Gods embrace.

I want to say THANK YOU to Salt and Light for doing Gods work and for being there as a beacon to those in need. Thank you so much for the opportunity to have been associated with such a wonderful Organization.

“Salt and Light’s Urbana missions offers a path to fulfilling some of the deepest needs of Lierman and other-area residents: employment and service leading to financial or resource gain, walkable access to good, affordable food and home necessities, a technology center, and space for teaching/learning, art and performance in which children and their caregivers can shine and inspire one another and build upon their strengths. Additionally, the Urbana mission partners with organizations committed to nurturing those who are homeless, new to our community and country, looking for second chances, and or experiencing crisis. Complementary, non-duplicative services offer people tools to move from crisis to confidence and strengthen Urbana as a whole.”

“As a person with disabilities, I am grateful for Salt and Light’s commitment to accessibility. Physical and spiritual space is made for everyone, inclusive of disability, skill, and experience. As a member volunteer, my household resources are strengthened. As an Urbana resident with ties to the neighborhood, I appreciate how many people within a fifteen-minute walk or scooter drive benefit from the store- as employees, volunteers, shoppers, students, business owners, poets, crafters, and more. The store, with its frequent turnover of thrift goods and furnishings, is a destination experience for many neighbors, particularly those with limited transportation options.”

“Salt and Light offers a unique intervention to households affected by financial and other kinds of poverty. The welcome I feel when I come to shop or work is the welcome I want to give others: it reminds me of the sign at the Urbana customer service counter that promises, ‘Together, we rise’.”

Salt & Light provided a dignity exercise for our church. Half of us stood in line for an hour, waiting to receive a pre-packed bag of food. Half of us worked in the warehouse for an hour, then purchased food we chose with our earnings from our work. Everyone received a bag of food, but there was a HUGE difference between the experience of the two groups! Those who waited in line felt bored, dehumanized, and treated as an emergency. Those who worked and shopped felt dignified, successful, and empowered to participate in their own well-being. With no money exchanged, our awareness of our own intrinsic value increased or decreased, in ONE hour. Multiply that impact by thousands of hours and people and days. Daily restoration of dignity; that’s Salt & Light.

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