Army ministers to needs in a variety of ways
By: David Ibata
The Salvation Army in the Southern Territory mobilizes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As families face sudden joblessness and financial crises, and vulnerable homeless residents seek shelter from the disease, corps and commands come up with creative ways to serve people in need and welcome stepped-up support from their community partners.
Cleveland, Tennessee: The Salvation Army serves a “Latte of Love” to our Superheroes in Scrubs. Volunteers and staff members from The Salvation Army’s coffee shop, Inman Coffee, visit a different health care facility each day to deliver coffee and lattes to show appreciation for their sacrificial service to our community. “It’s the least we can do to show our appreciation and love,” said Sergeant Ruth Forgey, corps administrator. Citing the organization’s history of serving coffee, food and emotional and spiritual care to frontline soldiers and emergency workers, Sergeant Forgey said, “The Salvation Army has been doing this for decades; today is no different.”
Frederick, Maryland: Responding to households in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lieutenant Chris Raymer and The Salvation Army partner with the Frederick Community Action Agency to prepare and deliver food bags every Thursday to 150 senior citizen households at the Taney Village and Catoctin Manor apartments. Every Friday, The Salvation Army delivers food bags to the Asian American Center of Frederick; U.S. Army veterans of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program make sure the food gets to needy veterans in Brunswick and Mount Airy, Maryland.
Orlando, Florida: In partnership with the City of Orlando, The Salvation Army raised a 5,200-square-foot tent to increase capacity for its emergency shelter. The tent allows for social distancing practices to be accommodated while continuing to serve the same number of residents.
Augusta, Georgia: The Salvation Army was awarded a $75,000 grant to convert its Center of Hope emergency shelter from overnights only to a 24-hour operation to protect homeless residents from the novel coronavirus outbreak. “Honestly, it’s the single largest gift we’ve received during our COVID-19 response,” Major Douglas McClure, Augusta area commander, told The Augusta Chronicle. “We’re feeding more than we ever have with three meals and two snacks a day and offering tutoring for children.” The funds were among $245,000 in grants to nonprofits announced April 7 out of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund of the United Way and Community Foundation.
Houston, Texas: Major Zach Bell, Greater Houston area commander, helps load supplies into the disaster canteen to serve lunch and hygiene kits to more than 300 homeless people in the downtown area.
Lake Charles, Louisiana: The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope shelter is the only remaining soup kitchen open in the community, providing daily to-go meals. The Army’s food pantry also remains open, with the shelter operating 24/7 with increased cleaning measures and social distancing.
North Georgia: The Jackson EMC Foundation, the giving arm of an electrical utility serving north Georgia, awarded emergency funding totaling $20,000 to assist four Salvation Army corps responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Athens, Gainesville, Gwinnett County and Toccoa corps each received $5,000 for emergency housing and food assistance in their respective service areas. The funding was part of $142,000 total for nonprofit food banks, ministries and other organizations helping individuals and families with shelter, food and financial aid during the pandemic. The utility also funded two school districts to install SmartBus WiFi systems to provide internet access to students digitally learning from home.