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The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives. Even as our communities and local businesses open, the financial and emotional challenges remain, especially for those who were already struggling. As a leader in the fight against poverty, The Salvation Army is keenly aware of our responsibilities to bring help and hope to those who are most vulnerable.
Ensuring the safety of those who depend on The Salvation Army’s programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers, is of utmost priority. We are working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels – including participating in situation-awareness calls with federal partners such as FEMA, CDC, DHS, and HHS. Hygiene and prevention guidance in accordance with recommendations from CDC is being used and shared with staff, volunteers, and program participants.
How we’ve adapted our regular programs to continue helping our neighbors in need during the pandemic.
Worship services and other programs at our individual corps community centers – such as after-school activities, open gym time, music lessons, and Bible studies – are available in person or online in accordance with city, state, and federal guidelines. Food pantries and other feeding programs remain open with modifications to ensure the health and safety of all.
Our congregate senior and community meals that were occurring daily or weekly are now providing meals in to-go boxes or working with food delivery as necessary.
We know that it is not just those who test positive for the coronavirus who are affected. The Salvation Army is prepared to offer long-term support to affected families and individuals as needed, including emergency assistance with mortgage/rent, utility bills, clothing, medication, and other needs for workers who have lost wages or employment due to COVID-19 closures and cancellations.
In our family shelters and other residential treatment facilities, close living conditions mean infectious disease can easily spread among residents. Additional cleaning throughout the day, with elevated focus on high-traffic areas, and sanitation supplies are part of every location’s infectious-disease protocol. If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/quarantine areas will be established, additional healthcare will be needed, and staff needs will increase. Visitors are discouraged.
In response to the rising levels of anxiety and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army launched an emotional and spiritual support hotline for people who just want to talk. The phone number is 877-740-8829. Staff are available 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., and counselors speak English and Spanish. Callers are encouraged to leave a message if they call during off hours.
Events such as a national conference, women’s camp, General’s Rally, civic luncheon, and holiday events have been cancelled out of an abundance of caution. Some Salvation Army programs and services will resume, as guidelines from the State of Illinois and City of Chicago allow.
Please check our website for local virtual event updates.
Our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team has a standing seat on Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication. This means we were directly involved in helping the City plan and execute response effort. Currently we are:
* Serving as the Lead Agency on the City of Chicago's Feeding Task Force.
* Providing meals to individuals the City of Chicago identifies as among the most vulnerable in quarantine or isolation.
At the height of the emergency response, we also:
* Provided meals, snacks, and hydration to the City of Chicago Emergency Operations Center and 311 operators, the Cook County Emergency Operations Center, the National Guard and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, the City’s overflow congregate shelters, and DuPage County’s first responder alternative housing.
How we’re Rescuing Christmas for families in need while adhering to COVID guidelines.
Our iconic Red Kettles signal the start of the holiday season. Donations collected in these buckets support the services in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, the pandemic means there are fewer red kettles and fewer shoppers out and about.
Bell ringing – and donating to a Red Kettle – looks a little different this year. All our bell ringers are required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer, answer a health questionnaire before their shift, keep distant from donors, and sanitize the kettles regularly. Our touchless kettle pay technology allows donors a completely contact-free way to Do the Most Good this Christmas.
Bell ringers are both seasonal employees and volunteers. Learn more about Bell Ringing or Register to Ring today. From September 14 - January 31st, help Rescue Christmas by fundraising or donating through our Online Red Kettle. If you would like to have a red kettle at your next corporate event, you can make a request online today.
When you're struggling financially to care for your family, holiday gifts are often not feasible. The Salvation Army Angel Tree program allows donors to purchase gifts for children, teens, and seniors who otherwise would go without. Adopt-a-Family provides gifts and clothes for families in need, making their holidays brighter.
Register. If you are looking for Christmas assistance for your family, please call 773.205.3690 or email your city, state, and zip code to us at USCMET.AngelTree@usc.salvationarmy.org. Gifts and holiday meal boxes will be distributed in adherence with COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep you safe and healthy.
Donate. You can participate in both Angel Tree and Adopt-a-Family completely contact-free. You can opt to shop online from the comfort and safety of your home. In fact, from now until December 15, you may shop our online Walmart Registry for Good Angel Tree.
Our second option to shop online is through The Salvation Army Virtual Angel Tree program. After registering, you are sent your assigned child(ren) or family. From there you can buy gifts online and have them shipped directly to the delivery location you are given. Gifts will be distributed individually and in adherence with COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep our clients safe and healthy.
Thanksgiving and Christmas meals traditionally served at some of our corps community centers will be offered in to-go containers and distributed by staff and volunteers adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. Christmas dinner boxes will be distributed in adherence with COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep clients safe and healthy.
Salvation Army trucks will be at participating Jewel-Osco locations on select days from November 14, 2020, through February 27, 2021, to collect coats for our Chicago Bears Coat Drive.
Apply. If you need a coat, please contact your local Salvation Army Corps Community Center or call 773.725.1100. You will need to apply for a coat voucher that can be used at any Salvation Army Thrift Store.
Donate. Find a complete list of participating Jewel-Osco stores as well as dates and hours of collection here. Officers and staff in masks and gloves will collect the new and gently used coats.
Create a fundraiser to help families and first responders impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.Start a Fundraiser
Become a volunteer to help local Coronavirus Response Efforts. All volunteer activities practice CDC safety guidelies.Volunteer Activities
To support The Salvation Army, a monetary donation ensures we can continue service delivery in your community. Financial contributions allow us to obtain food and supplies at a better cost in bulk, and they help us support businesses. Every dollar gives hope to those living in poverty during this pandemic.
If you're interested in making in-kind donations of non-perishable foods and supplies, please call 888-369-1349 to make arrangements.
The Salvation Army is on the front lines of COVID-19 relief efforts, serving those in need with a mask and a smile! These numbers reflect totals for Chicagoland, northern Illinois, and northwest Indiana from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic through August 31, 2020.
For divisional media queries, please contact:
Jacqueline Rachev, Director of Communications
For corporate partnerships, please contact:
Connie Hetzler, Director of Corporate Relations