Serving Better Together
Every community is different, but the economic and emotional stresses of the past year were applied universally across Indiana. In big cities and small towns parents worried about virtual learning, seniors feared the spread of COVID-19, and small business owners prayed that their life’s work could survive a pandemic. The Salvation Army offered comfort and financial support wherever possible, but the need was far too great for any single organization to meet.
In many counties, The Salvation Army is part of a network of nonprofits that specialize in specific types of assistance. This is the case in Fulton County, where Salvation Army volunteer Donna Smith collaborates with local food banks and energy assistance programs to help residents facing a variety of hurdles. When the spring pandemic stretched into the summer of 2020, this coordinated effort proved essential to area residents.
“There was a lot of unemployment in Fulton County because we don’t have a lot of industry,” Donna explained. “It’s a small county and people worked at restaurants or commuted to other counties to work.”
This meant that thousands of local residents were suddenly without the means to provide basic support for their families. While a partner food bank focused on getting food assistance to hungry households, Donna used Salvation Army Service Extension funds to help prevent evictions and pay utility bills. By the end of the year, Donna had helped 340 households get through the toughest days of the pandemic.
“It may not seem like much now,” she added, “But in that moment, and for those people, it meant the world.”