The Salvation Army perseveres through pandemic

Ellicott City, Maryland: One a month from April through October, The Salvation Army of Central Maryland works with the Maryland Food Bank for a “Pantry on the Go” drive-thru food distribution at the Howard County Family Service Center. The food bank typically delivers produce in bulk – for the month of July, 1,000 pounds of zucchini and cucumbers – which must be sorted and re-packaged for individual households. “We sort out the good stuff and pre-bag it for clients who come in later in the day to pick up,” said Sue Hunt, service center director. For social distancing, and “to keep the flow going, we ask people to stay in their cars. We open their trunks and load them up.” A total of 162 households with 675 people were served at the July 15 Pantry on the Go. Eighteen volunteers turned out to help. Faithful partners include a local LDS Church missionary group, which sends over five to 10 people every month to help, Hunt said. Several are Spanish speakers, and that helps facilitate communications with families.

Marietta, Georgia: The Cobb County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners awarded the Marietta Corps a $75,000 grant through the county’s Emergency Food Program. The grant was the third-largest of 33 awards totaling $1 million that were handed out to organizations that reported a surge in people seeking food assistance as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The grant will allow The Salvation Army to continue to provide meals to those in the community who need them most.

High Point, North Carolina: The Kiwanis Club of High Point recently awarded The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club a $6,000 grant to provide school supplies and youth scholarships to working families. Within the grant, $1,500 is designated to purchase school supplies for enrolled students as they prepare to return to new learning environments this school year. The remainder of the grant will provide much-needed youth scholarships to help parents with the costs of childcare as they return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cleveland, Tennessee: When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a re-imagining of the local Salvation Army’s annual summer overnight campout for youth and teens, the corps came up with “The Uncamping Retreat” – a three-day event July 16-18 involving more than 40 students and leaders. It started with a remote painting party via Facebook Livestream on Thursday evening; followed on Friday by a cookout, water games and fireside devotions at dusk at the home of Joel and Cheryl Rogers, Christian education program director and Inman Coffeehouse manager; and a Saturday afternoon swimming excursion to a local state park. COVID precautions were encouraged and practiced. “A much-needed time for fellowship and intentional times of devotion brought great physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment to our students,” said Sergeant Ruth Forgey, corps administrator.

Tampa, Florida: Achieva Credit Union held a donation drive in July, with nearly 500 individuals contributing to support food banks in west-central Florida. The Salvation Army received more than $76,000 to aid in continuing service in Manatee and Charlotte counties.

Gwinnett County, Georgia: The Salvation Army of Gwinnett County and The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta’s Red Shield Shelter received face masks from Hanes #MaskAround campaign to support homeless assistance organizations around the country. The masks were included in food pantry and essential items boxes being delivered to those in need to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Greenville, South Carolina: A kind-hearted family sent a box of storm kits to The Salvation Army in Greenville, South Carolina. The waterproof kits, filled with emergency blankets, flashlights and other storm-preparedness items, were to be distributed to those in need in the Greenville community.