Local couple donates homemade jelly to Salvation Army

The Salvation Army in La Crosse feeds thousands of hungry people every year and it wouldn’t be able to do it without the many donations it gets from the community. Among them is some home cooking from a local couple.

Russ and Connie Fredrickson are picking strawberries this time of year to make jam, later on they will make hundreds of jars of jam to donate to the Salvation Army, and they’re doing it all out of the kindness of their hearts.

On a hot June morning, the Fredricksons are out filling their baskets with strawberries.

“It’s about 50 pounds of each set of berries,” Russ said.

During the summer and fall the couple will pick about 200 pounds of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Then they’ll sit down for several hours to turn the berries into jam.

“It’s a long process, but it’s something that he and I do together. We have a system to where we stay out of each others way, each of us know our jobs and when to do it, so therefore it’s kind of like a fine-tuned machine after doing it all this time,” Connie said.

“One year we started at 6 a.m. and we were done at midnight that night with a lot of jelly,” Russ said.

For last four or five years once all the jelly is jarred the couple donates their homemade spread to the Salvation Army.

“When you think about the amount of money that this couple spends, the amount of time that they spend on the jam just to know that they put that much effort into something that they want to give to a person that’s homeless, sometimes that’s the bigger benefit than just the jam inside the jar, it’s the effort and the care they give to it,” said Julie Nelson of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army puts out the Fredrickson’s jelly nearly every single day for it’s meal program. It’s especially a hit in the mornings at breakfast feeding about 60 different people every day of the year.

“When I was raised I had foster parents and I kind of feel sorry for the kids. They enjoy it and the Salvation Army feeds a lot of kids with it,” Russ said.

The couple said it donated over 700 jars of jelly to the Salvation Army last year and they estimate it cost them a few thousand dollars out of their pocket, but even though it does cost so much and the couple gets nothing in return, they’re happy to be helping.

“I’ll do it every year until I can’t walk or whatever,” Russ said

“We do it happily because it may be work, but it feels good. It’s a good feeling, when we’re tired we know we’ve accomplished a lot and that makes us feel good,” Connie said.

The Fredrickson’s said there are some items donated to them each year, but they are always looking for more jelly jars, sugar and any berry fields the couple can pick.

If you would like to help them out you can call them at 608-788-3776.

The Salvation Army says it is very uncommon to receive homemade food donations, but they are very thankful for what the Fredrickson’s are doing.