PDT Staff Writer
James Armstrong, of The Father’s Table, says what gets to him most is the number of members of the U.S. military, and ex-military who come in to the Salvation Army looking for a hot meal and sometimes asking for a place to spend the night.
“It’s just not right,” Armstrong, also a veteran, said. “When these people come home from places like Afghanistan, they should want for nothing.”
The military and ex-military is just one segment of society he, and those associated with serving meals to the hungry, see on a regular basis.
“Last year we fed 22,000 meals,” Armstrong said, as he and others prepared for the 4 Life 5k run/walk and 10k run at Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park on a crisp Saturday morning. “Our numbers are growing every day. It seems like there’s more families coming in and having meals with us and fellowship with us. It used to be mothers and children. Now it’s whole families or just anybody who comes in hungry.”
Runners and walkers from all over the area gathered to make the trek Saturday morning. It was still cold enough to see their breath, but to real runners, it was an ideal day to run.
“This is awesome weather,” 4 Life Runners President Peggy Kindinger said. “It’s great running weather. It’s supposed to be sunny today and around 60, so it will be great. We are having having a 5k walk, a 5k run, and a 10k run to raise money for The Father’s Table. It is a local run charity that runs on money donations and food donations and it gets no government funding at all. It is strictly run on donations. They provide meals for the homeless and anyone else who needs a hot meal or a good meal.”
At 8:45 a.m., 61 people had pre-registered, and many others were getting prepared to register, as those pre-registered went through stretching exercises - some having a short pre-run snack.
“It looks like we’re going to have 30-40 more people to register today,” Kindinger said. “The 4 Life Runners is the only running group in Portsmouth. We’re associated with Road Runners Club of America (RRCA).”
Jackie Journey, Co-President of 4 Life Runners said the run is the fourth one that has been held.
In addition, a Subway Healthy Kids Race was run. That event consists of a 50 or 100 yard dash - the purpose being to help children get outside, away from their computers, video games and TVs. Subway sponsors those events, and give the runners Subway cards and a goodies bag, and sometimes a T-shirt to remember the event by.
The Father’s Table meals are served at the Portsmouth Salvation Army Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Friday evening it’s from 5-6 p.m.
“We serve the evening meal on Friday because a lot of the people who eat with us, that is the only meal they’re going to get until Monday,” Armstrong said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.