This summer, The Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center was blessed to receive a grant from Frito-Lay on behalf of its well-known tortilla chip brand, Tostitos.  Tostitos has a long history of giving back to the community, and we believe that they chose a great cause to support.

The Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center provides a safe place for homeless and abused women and children in perhaps their greatest time of need. Established as the first facility in Indianapolis to help homeless and abused women and children, the center has offered care, assistance, and guidance to women for more than 50 years. The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s mission is to provide a stable and supportive environment that makes it possible for women to focus on rebuilding their lives free of danger, continued abuse and the uncertainty of the streets. It’s a mission that cannot be fulfilled without the support of ministry, volunteers, donors and grants.

Lou Perkins grilling out!

The grant gifted by Tostitos has already had a big impact on the center and the women and children staying there. Once the money was received, the staff sat down and determined the best ways to utilize this gift.  First on the list was a picnic to celebrate. It was a way to give the women a delicious lunch and the opportunity to spend an afternoon outdoors.  Hotdogs, hamburgers and Tostitos tortilla chips were all provided at the picnic.

“Everyone had such a great time; you know there is something different about eating outside, especially when it’s warm.” Lou Perkins, the Food Service Coordinator for the center said. “By providing these women and children home cooked meals, it is one less thing they have to worry about.”

Cece Coffer, Chaplin for the center, saw the impact the event had first hand. “When you went outside, and saw the blankets laid out and the picnic tables, if you didn’t know these women were in the shelter you would think they were enjoying a day at the park. All they had to do was enjoy each other on that day. Moments like that help people pull away from their worries, enjoy each other and create memories.”

The picnic is just the beginning of the great ways this money is being utilized to help support women and children in their time of need.  It is being put to use for a back to school party, to purchase healthier snacks, and to purchase warm breakfasts to give the residents a kick start to their days.  We want to give a huge thank you to Tostitos for this gracious grant.  The programs supported by grants like this are an integral part of helping the community and fulfilling the mission of The Salvation Army.

To see pictures from the picnic, visit our Flickr page here.