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The coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic, and President Trump has declared a national emergency. The country is bracing itself for an impending outbreak, and people are scared. 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.
Here is what we are already doing in the greater Chicagoland area, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana:
We know that it is not just those who test positive for the coronavirus who will be 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 accordance with city, state, and federal guidelines, our individual corps community centers are suspending all worship services and programs, such as after-school activities, open gym time, music lessons, and Bible studies -- with the exception of feeding and food pantries.
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.
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 has 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.
Our Emergency Disaster Services team has a standing seat on Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication. We are working with the City on its greater response effort, and are now providing lunches to the staff during planning sessions.
* City of Chicago's Lead Agency for Feeding Task Force.
* Providing meals to individuals the City of Chicago identifies as among the most vulnerable in quarantine or isolation.
* Providing food boxes, meals and beverages to all first responders.
* The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division Emergency Disaster Services is providing meals, snacks, and hydration to the City of Chicago Emergency Operations Center and 311 operators.
* EDS is providing meals, snacks, and hydration to the Cook County Emergency Operations Center.
* EDS continues to provide snacks and hydration to passengers undergoing CDC screening at O’Hare Terminal 5.
Events such as a national conference, women’s camp, General’s Rally and civic luncheon have been cancelled out of an abundance of caution.
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.
For divisional media queries, please contact:
Jacqueline Rachev, Director of Communications
For corporate partnerships, please contact:
Connie Hetzler, Director of Corporate Relations