Bringing Hope and Help in the Midst of COVID-19 in Hillsdale

Mar 24, 2020

With a presence in almost every ZIP code in America, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to respond to the unique needs of people living in poverty. These challenges are exponentially magnified during times of crisis, including pandemics like coronavirus (COVID-19). Across the United States, we are stepping up to the challenge and continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in each community. This is just one of many stories of how we are meeting the needs of those who rely on The Salvation Army during difficult times.

One of our Pathway of Hope clients told her caseworker, Pam, that she was having trouble keeping her children occupied while they were inside all day. The client indicated that she did not. Pam wasted no time in hunting down board games and other family friendly games (which were all disinfected first!) and made arrangements for the client to pick them up when she came to get meals from our drive up Free Community Lunch program. Not only are we providing this family with meals, we take joy in helping with the smaller things and providing hope in chaotic circumstances.

The Corps met the need of one of its Pathway of Hope clients, a single mother. The Corps purchased phone card for her that allowed her to gain employment which required a phone and keep in contact with her son’s school.

The Corps provided food pantry services and utility assistance to several families struggling from layoffs due to the COVID-19.

The Corps helped a senior man by providing a clothing voucher so he could purchase clothing that would enable him to wear his urinary catheter more comfortably.

A cancer patient approached the Corps for assistance with her heating bill. She was very weak but still managed to make it to the corps in person with the help of her aide. She went home after she thought she filled out all the necessary paperwork; when the Corps saw that she had forgotten to fill out a few of the forms, they called her and went through the rest of it over the phone so she would not have to travel again.

From Captain Cassondra Grey:

A man who is doing his community service at our Corps came to have his time sheet signed. When he dropped it off, I offered him a lunch, and he responded that he was actually headed to an AA meeting. He asked if the Corps would still be doing lunch at 1:00 pm. I said they would, and I told him how proud of him I was that he was being intentional to continue to take care of himself during this time of uncertainty. The reality is that he could have chosen to deal with his anxiety and other negative feelings about the COVID-19 situation in a destructive way, but instead he was going to an AA meeting. He later came back for his paper and a lunch and shared with a volunteer that really appreciated my word of encouragement. He said it was just what he needed in that moment. It is incredible to me how God can take a word, a smile, or an act of compassion to provide hope – sometimes just what we need to take that next step forward.

During our Fresh Food Initiative drive through this last Tuesday, while checking in a family, the mother shared that she was so grateful that we were still operating and that she was able to get fresh produce today. I told her I was grateful for the opportunity to serve her in this way. She began to cry, as the tears ran she told me how her husband was in the hospital, and due to COVID-19, no visitors were allowed in at this time. I reached into the car and gently placed my hand on her arm. I told her how sorry I was to hear this and asked if I could pray for her husband and for her, she said yes and in that sacred moment I believe the Holy Spirit came in and provided a comfort that only He can. The woman still had tears, but there was something different. She had a light her eyes: she had hope. It amazes me how God meets us where we are and how He can bring hope and peace to a crazy situation.

This week, we put a plea out on radio for bread. We are serving 170+ people a day, and we are going through a lot of food! We were thrilled when we found out that an anonymous donor stepped up and is giving the Hillsdale Corps Community Center 40 loaves of bread per week. We also had a broken sump pump this week that was threatening to disrupt our serving lunch when our Advisory Board Co-chair pulled together a donation of 400 chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and corn corn.

We serve a mighty God!!

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