DRACUT -- Tim and Linda Brown, of Westford, wanted to volunteer with an organization where their four children could volunteer too, so they were drawn to the Salvation Army, where the family of six picks up and delivers bread that is destined for the needy.
"I really think the Salvation Army is more than just about feeding the hungry, although we think that's really important," Linda Brown said. "It's about the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs of people."
The Browns, with their children, Aiden, 11; Brittany, 13; Zachary, 16; and Caitlin, 19, were at the Salvation Army Lowell Citadel Corps' annual thank-you dinner for those who volunteer their time or make financial or other contributions. The event was at Lenzi's Millhouse.
Panera Bread donates bread that isn't used in its restaurants to the Salvation Army, and the Browns pick it up, repackage it and deliver it to Salvation Army food pantries that distribute the bread to needy local residents.
"It's one small way we can actually do what Jesus would do if he were here," Tim Brown said.
Susan Plunkett, chairwoman of the local corps' advisory board, said much of the group's mission could never be accomplished without the generosity of those in the community, as well as the volunteers.
"It's not just the financial support," Plunkett said. "We couldn't accomplish half of the things we do without the volunteers."
The thank-you dinner will be the last for the Citadel Corps leaders, Majs.
Everett Henry said he will miss Lowell and its people, but that the group will be left in good hands.
Plunkett said about 140 people attended the event from towns such as Dracut, Lowell, Chelmsford, Tyngsboro and Tewksbury.
During Everett Henry's prayer before a meal was served, he thanked God for the opportunity to worship by helping those in need.
"Thank You for the way that this is your design. This is Your idea of church. It's not denominations. It's not four walls. It's not a steeple. It's people helping people. Thank You for the opportunity we've each had to participate in Your church this way," Henry Everett said.
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