Salvation Army shelter serving as community hub

By: Major Frank Duracher

The Salvation Army’s emergency shelter in Hickory, North Carolina, has become a laser point for the community to receive desperately needed assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Here in Hickory, our emergency shelter is open, and we are feeding those (confined) in our shelter as well as providing to-go boxes for those not in our shelter but hungry,” said Major Matthew Trayler, corps officer.

Explaining that residents living near the shelter have been coming by for hot meals, the shelter kitchen’s output dramatically increased from before the crisis to about 175 meals daily.

“These to-go boxes are offered three times a day to anyone not staying in our shelter,” said Major Rebecca Trayler, “which means we’re currently serving an additional 80 hot meals.”

“We are still assisting with food and clothing through our social services as well,” Major Matthew added.

Those distributions are processed via an interview over the phone. The recipient is given a pickup time, and upon their drive-through arrival, the family representative signs the necessary paperwork and Salvation Army volunteers load their car with food boxes and perishables.

Sunday meetings are being streamed on the corps YouTube channel (The Salvation Army of Greater Hickory), as well as a live interactive Bible study on Wednesday nights (6 p.m.) where Major Matthew interacts with online viewers via chat.

“We’re also putting daily inspirational quotes and scriptures on our Facebook page,” Major Rebecca said.

During Holy Week, each family received its own set of “Resurrection Eggs” with instructions, jellybeans with a Jellybean Prayer attached, a “Roads to the Cross” prayer stations guide and a copy of the Easter War Cry.

For additional family fun on Easter Sunday, distributions during Holy Week included cake mix and icing and candy-filled Easter eggs for all household members.