Donations in Action: Stranded in Minnesota

Jul 29, 2020

"Donations in Action" is a regular series about the different ways The Salvation Army Northern Division and our supporters are serving people and families in Minnesota and North Dakota.  

Below are examples of how our staff, volunteers, donors, and partners are making a positive impact during these uncertain times.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. –Galatians 6:9

Please join our fight by giving a donation. Your gift will provide emergency assistance for those who desperately need it. 

Stranded in Minnesota

A mother and father and their 17-year-old daughter needed lots of help upon their arrival in Minnesota from New Orleans. 

The family had moved here after the father accepted a job working at a casino. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck right after they arrived. The day before the father was to begin working, all of the state’s casinos shut down. The family was stranded without any income or a place to live. 

Our case worker helped the family by pointing them to job leads, housing leads, and emergency assistance programs. Meanwhile, the family was able to live with various friends as they got on their feet. 

It took some time, but eventually the father was able to secure a good job in St. Paul and an apartment for his family. 

“They signed their lease July 10,” said the family’s case worker, who also helped the family to receive free furniture. “We are all very excited for them to have finally found a place to call their own here in Minnesota.”

New food giveaways add convenience 

Ever since the pandemic began, Salvation Army locations across Minnesota and North Dakota have been busy providing tens of thousands of food boxes for families in need. 

In an effort to serve these families even better, some Salvation Army locations have been: 

1. Allowing families to “shop” for groceries. The Salvation Army in South Minneapolis (pictured), for example, replaced drive-thru food distributions with outdoor markets, allowing families to “shop” for their groceries. This change was in response to concerns that some people were not getting the foods they needed because the drive-thru model included food boxes that were pre-packaged. The new model allows guests to pick out the exact foods they need.     

2. Adjusting food distribution schedules. The Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul, for example, recently began distributing groceries on Sunday afternoons instead of Friday afternoons. This change was in response to reports that some working families were not getting the food they needed because the previous food distributions were held during regular business hours. (You can help by volunteering at a Sunday food distribution.)

“We are always looking for new ways to improve our services for families struggling to get through COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “We thank our volunteers and donors for making these services possible.”

Food shelf guest gives back

Last month a woman came to The Salvation Army in Williston, N.D. having never visited a food shelf before. She said times were hard due to COVID-19.

While she was filling out paperwork, she asked if she could volunteer as a gesture of thanks for providing food for her and her husband. 

The woman followed through on her offer by doing office work and sorting clothes at the local Salvation Army Store. She liked it so much that she came back again and again. 

That was a month ago, and the woman is still going strong. She continues to volunteer in the office and store three times a week. 

“She is always happy and excited to volunteer,” said Captain Rachel Irvine, leader of the Williston Salvation Army. “She always finds time to help people in need.”

Volunteer at your local Salvation Army.

Please join The Salvation Army in serving those affected by the COVID-19 crisis by giving a donation or signing up to volunteer. Your help will provide emergency assistance and hope for people and families in desperate need.

If you are feeling lonely, fearful or hopeless due to the COVID-19 crisis, call our Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline at 877-220-4195 anytime between 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Central Time. Trained Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers will be available to talk, listen to you, and pray for you. 

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