Salvation Army Sees Increased Need for Assistance During Coronavirus Outbreak

Apr 7, 2020

CHICAGO – Since the first week of March, when the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic were first being realized, The Salvation Army has seen the numbers of individuals and households seeking assistance multiply due to illness or lost wages.

“People are taking on immense burdens right now, and many of them were already living in precarious situations,” said Commissioner Barry Swanson, Salvation Army Metropolitan divisional commander. “We are here to provide hope and help to our neighbors in Chicagoland during this uncertain time. With 29 sites in our division, we are uniquely positioned to meet the needs in each community. And, we are prepared to serve for as long as it takes.” The Salvation Army is also providing other emergency services, including housing assistance/eviction prevention and utilities shut-off prevention.

Here is just some of what we are seeing throughout our service area:

  • Throughout the City of Chicago, requests for help have increased by at least 40%. In the Midway area, requests are up 40%, Little Village 60%, and in Mayfair/Albany Park 100%.

  • In Joliet, Captain Wendy Faundez, officer at The Salvation Army Joliet Corps Community Center, said she is seeing a 500% increase in need, serving 115 families from the mobile food pantry alone. Her team is also delivering food boxes to seniors and individuals who have a disability, and providing food to those who are homeless or living in their cars.

  • Pamela Church-Pryor, community ministries director at The Salvation Army Norridge Corps Community Center, says her food pantry is seeing 10-15 new families each week. She says the numbers are growing week over week due to job loss and insecurity in the LINK benefits. 

  • Captain Heather Montenegro, corps officer in Elgin, says there has been a 30% - 50% increase in requests at the weekly fresh produce distribution, and a 100% increase in requests for the home goods pantry.

The Salvation Army is in need of public support to continue its efforts serving the community. Here’s how you can help:

  • Make a financial gift: Monetary gifts allow The Salvation Army to purchase items in bulk and help local businesses keep staff employed, and provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in need. Donate at www.SalArmyChicago.Org/Coronavirus

  • Make in-kind donations to your local Salvation Army food pantry. Visit www.SalArmyChicago.Org/Coronavirus and find the "How to Donate Goods" box toward the bottom of the page.

  • For corporate partnerships, please email

Learn the full scope of our help and vital ways you can help at www.SalArmyChicago.Org/Coronavirus.

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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