THE SALVATION ARMY’S RESPONSE TO UNPRECEDENTED NEED CAUSED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Mar 31, 2020 | by Lessa Peter

Largest provider of poverty relief anticipates need for additional funding and in-kind donations in order to meet demand for services

Anchorage, AK – The Salvation Army, the nation’s largest social services organization with more than 7,600 service locations across the country, is increasing efforts to meet human need. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has evolved service delivery to ensure that the immediate needs of community members, first responders, and government partners are met.

With an expected spike in requests over the coming weeks, months, and potentially years, ongoing public support will be needed to help ensure that services are available to existing and new vulnerable populations. While all are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, the one in six Americans who are living in poverty will likely feel the effects quicker and more significantly.

Throughout Alaska, Salvation Army officers, soldiers, and volunteers have been seeing two to three times the need for meals and providing the same amount of food boxes in just a few days that would normally last a month. The Salvation Army in Ketchikan is taking the lead in meeting the needs of their community and helping their nearby neighbors in Metlakatla with food box requests. The Salvation Army in Juneau has served three times the amount of daily lunch meals-to-go in one day than normal. In Anchorage, The Salvation Army Older Alaskans Program is seeing an influx of meal delivery requests from quarantined seniors in need.

The Salvation Army is ensuring that people have access to food, shelter and desperately needed assistance to pay rent and utilities during the statewide unemployment crisis due to the pandemic. This includes drive-through food pantry pickups, community-based food delivery efforts, and meals-to-go at Salvation Army facilities. The organization is also providing digital emotional and spiritual care services to those who seek it.

In the months that follow, The Salvation Army will continue to provide basic needs to the 23 million Americans it already serves and anticipates it will also serve a new generation of need that is born out of the virus. Anticipated impacts on the economy and workforce will likely force more Americans to seek rental, utility, and other forms of assistance. While the full scope of the pandemic’s economic impact is still unknown, canceled fundraising events and market volatility elevate the need for public support in order to maintain and grow these efforts.

“Although the virus has not reached community spread numbers like that of Seattle and New York City, it’s important that Alaskans stay calm and take preventative measures to stay healthy,” said Major John Brackenbury, Alaska Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army. “The Salvation Army has been serving Alaskans in need since 1898 and we are standing strong now to continue serving those who need our help, and we are thankful for generous public support which will allow that to happen.”

To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, please consider donating non-perishable food and sanitizing items to your local Salvation Army Corps or give online at https://give-ak.salvationarmy.org/covid19relief Donations can also be provided by texting cov19 to 243-725.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps nearly 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter: @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood

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