Donations in Action: Outside-the-box service during COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020

The Salvation Army Northern Division is adapting to the COVID-19 crisis and finding creative ways to serve people and families across Minnesota and North Dakota.  

Below are several examples of how our officers, staff members, and supporters are thinking outside the box to make a positive impact on those affected by this historic crisis.

You can join our fight by giving a donation. All gifts will be matched, up to $500,0000, now through April 3 (learn more).

Church-in-a-bag

The Salvation Army in Fergus Falls, Minn., has been “bringing church” to its congregation members who do not have internet access and cannot view The Salvation Army’s online Sunday worship services. 

Last week, these church members began receiving bags filled with devotional materials, sermon manuscripts, and Sunday School lessons, along with snacks and hot tea (pictured). 

“We call everyone on Sunday to pray with them,” said Lt. Elysia Nordan, leader of the Fergus Falls Salvation Army. “We want to make sure we are reaching families who may otherwise not be able to participate in a worship service.”

Northern hospitality

Folks in northern Minnesota are coming out of the woodwork to help the Duluth Salvation Army in ways that are inventive and inspiring, including:

  • Copious amounts of hand sanitizer – which is all but impossible to buy anywhere – was donated by both UCare and Vikre Distillery (pictured). 
  • The Duluth Public Library has donated books, puzzles and games for Salvation Army food shelf guests to help them stay busy at home. 
  • Clyde Iron Works restaurant twice invited the Duluth Salvation Army to stop by and take any and everything needed to make to-go lunches and restock its food shelf. 
  • An anonymous person saw the Duluth Salvation Army distributing to-go lunches and promptly donated $500, out of the blue. 

Sew thoughtful 

Major Melissa Viquez (pictured) of The Salvation Army in South Minneapolis has been sewing cotton face masks to give away. Prior to last week, she had never sewn anything, or operated a sewing machine, ever in her life.

Viquez learned to sew by watching a crash-course video on Saturday. While she understands that homemade masks alone cannot prevent the spread of COVID-19, she prays that this small act will make a difference.

The South Minneapolis Salvation Army has discovered other creative ways to serve as well, including: 

  • Giving toys and board games to food shelf guests in order to help their families build good memories during these difficult times.
  • Delivering care packages to local seniors. Each bag is filled with hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other high-demand products, along with fresh produce, meat, and non-perishables. 

The need is rising

The Salvation Army anticipated that the need for our services would rise with the spread of COVID-19, and so far that is exactly what is happening. 

Example: The Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul typically provides social services for no more than 70 individuals and families per week. Last week, this location served 261 families. Many of these people were in need of hygiene products, baby supplies, and toilet paper (learn how to donate these items).

Our other St. Paul service center – the West 7th Salvation Army – is just as busy. Every Friday, this location offers pre-bagged food items for a few dozen people. Last Friday, about 150 people came for this service. 

These and other needs are expected to continue growing. Please give a donation and join us in serving those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. All gifts will be matched, up to $500,0000, now through April 3 (learn more).


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