The Salvation Army Rises to Face New Challenges with Help from Partners in Mission
The Salvation Army has provided unprecedented levels of assistance to Americans in need due to COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March. Recognizing the organization’s need for corporate and public support of community services like feeding, sheltering and emotional and spiritual care, many partners have stepped up to the challenges presented in 2020.
“The mission of The Salvation Army is simple – to meet need wherever and for however long it exists, without discrimination. Our ability to fulfill that mission is even more critical during times of crisis,” said Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, National Commander of The Salvation Army.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, The Salvation Army has provided more than 65-million meals (9.4-million prepared meals and 2.8-million food boxes, which provide about 20-meals per food box), 1.46-million nights of shelter, and emotional and spiritual care to 778,887 people.
What does all that mean? Well, as of July 2020, The Salvation Army has distributed more than 10 times the number of food boxes as it did in response to Hurricane Katrina, and it doesn’t expect the increased need to go away any time soon. After the Great Recession in 2007, The Salvation Army served an additional 10 million people in need over the following three years.
While the data is still coming in, initial reports like those from the COVID Racial Tracker show that “Nationally, African-American deaths from COVID-19 are nearly two times greater than would be expected based on their share of the population. In four states, the rate is three or more times greater.”
So what does this look like for a family in need? Here’s Nicola’s story:
Ms. Nicola considers the team at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Newark Ironbound to be her family and said she doesn’t know what she would have done without them over the past five years.
In 2015, Ms. Nicola became a single mom to three beautiful children, Christian, 10 (5th grade); Bianca, 8 (3rd grade) and Gabriel, 7 (1st grade). Despite working in risk management for a large hedge fund and private equity administrator, Ms. Nicola faced challenges as a working mom with no family or support in Newark and needed extra help.
Ms. Nicola and her family turned to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Newark Ironbound and have been active members ever since. Her two boys play in the soccer program and They have had their birthday parties at the Club. Her two youngest children, Bianca and Gabriel, are Mr. and Ms. Newark Ironbound 2019-2020. Her daughter borrowed her competition dress from the Salvation Army. The Club is truly a refuge for her kids, and they look forward to going every day and don’t want to leave at the end of the day. As it was for millions of families at Salvation Army centers across the country, all that was placed on pause by COVID-19.
When the pandemic hit, Ms. Nicola started working from home, which was challenging with her three children, who were also home and needed help with schoolwork. To add to this already stressful time, she lost her grandmother to the virus. Then her car broke down and she couldn’t afford to fix it again. She tried taking a taxi to the supermarket, but it was too expensive for her to do every week. When the Salvation Army team learned of this, they started bringing her family food. A whole chicken, pasta, sauce, carrots, cereal, potatoes, and more for feeding three hungry children at home.
In addition to the food, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club team has been helping the kids with homework, keeping them engaged with activities, virtual programs and brainteasers, and giving them ideas for games at home, all through video and voice calls. Ms. Nicola is beyond grateful for the help that The Salvation Army team has given her children during the pandemic.
“[The Salvation Army] lives to make a difference in children’s lives, including my own,” said Ms. Nicola. “The kids miss seeing their friends but The Salvation Army team has done an amazing job keeping the kids connected and encouraged. My kids feel their presence and sense of community, and they’re feeling loved now more than ever.”
Ms. Nicola continued, “They make you believe that there are still people who care about people. I don’t know what I would have done without them. My kids are a product of them, and they have done everything right by my children.”
Grant money from partners like the Toyota USA Foundation, Lilly Endowment Inc., the NFL Foundation, Sinclair Broadcast Group, LDS Charities, AT&T, UPS, and others has helped The Salvation Army continue to serve those in need by providing food, shelter, rent and utility assistance, and emotional and spiritual care throughout the crisis. With a presence in almost every ZIP code in America, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to adapt services to the communities it serves.
The Toyota USA Foundation, in particular, stepped up to grant The Salvation Army $700,000 in support of continued COVID-19 relief efforts among minority communities across the United States.
Commissioner Hodder said: “It’s devastating to see how the pandemic has impacted our neighbors, friends and families, particularly and disproportionately in minority communities. Support from the Toyota USA Foundation ensures that our dedicated staff and volunteers can provide much needed resources like food, financial assistance and hope for those who need it most.”
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts or to find a donation location in your community, visit salarmy.us/covid.