By Haylee Pence
PIQUA – Susanne Pummill was recognized as the 2023 recipient of the Hero of Faith award at their annual dinner on Monday, May 8.
Pummill has been a volunteer with the Salvation Army for 37 years. She was recognized for her work with the organization’s summer lunch program which serves children a lunch during the summer months every weekday.
Pummill has served as the cook for the program since 2004.
“I feel blessed. I’ve been truly blessed,” she said. “It is a community effort though.” She went on to describe all the other work that individuals in the organization do such as scheduling of volunteers, organizing programs, and more.
Angie Carter, a major with the organization, went will Pummill to the dinner.
“She just told me to come with her to this dinner. I didn’t know why I needed to go,” said Pummill. “It makes you wonder what’s going on.” Pummill said she was not aware of the award before the dinner.
Pummill estimated that last year the program served about 165 children per day during the entire summer season. She said that prior to the pandemic, their numbers were even higher. Pummill and Carter believe that the program can serve up to 275 children.
“We’ll see what happens this year,” said Pummill.
With the rising costs of food and other essentials, Pummill believes the numbers will be greater this year.
The program involves a canteen that makes nine different stops throughout the Piqua community along with lunch being served at 11:30 a.m. at the Salvation Army.
Pummill’s goal is to “reach as many children as we can.”
She explained how the organization had a volunteer during their Christmas programs who had decided to help because of the summer lunch program. “We helped keep her kids fed during the summer,” said Pummill. “That is the kind of stuff that makes me happy and brings me joy.”
Pummill has been able to serve the children that come into the Salvation Army during the lunch program.
“I have been able to watch some of the kids grow up,” said Pummill. She mentioned that she does receive ‘thank you’ cards from some of the children.
Carter stated that they would eventually like to renovate and expand the kitchen area. Currently, the kitchen operates with multiple refrigerators and freezers. They would like to be able to provide a walk-in fridge and freezer.
Pummill finished that she would like to see someone be able to take over for her eventually,“I worry about that. I was blessed to be able to be a high school cook and then do this.”
“I want to thank the churches and the community. There are so many people who help keep this open and running,” said Pummill.