Officers Spotlight: Capt. Sam Nolan Jones and Lt. Kenneth Jones, North Corps
Capt. Sam Nolan Jones of The Salvation Army North Corps Community Center admits that before the COVID-19 pandemic, she took for granted the ability to connect with others in person. Now that she and her husband, Lt. Kenneth Jones, are on the front lines of meeting human needs during this unprecedented time, her perspective has changed dramatically.
The Joneses have seen first-hand the effects of isolation and social distancing on people of all ages. Last spring, a teen who lived in the area served by the North Corps committed suicide. “It was heartbreaking for all of us,” said Capt. Sam. It also demonstrated to the Joneses why it’s critically important that The Salvation Army is still open and continuing to serve. “It’s so important to connect with each other however we can,” said Capt. Sam.
North Corps (at 2424 Pratt St.) has continued to offer its lunchtime meal program each weekday, providing free grab-and-go lunches to anyone in need. The Joneses have seen an increase in the number of meals they are serving each week. “We’ll see a father come to pick up four or five lunches to bring back to his family at home,” said. Lt. Kenneth. “Need is continuing to increase among those who are already living at or below the poverty line.”
The Joneses have also seen an increase in the number of individuals and families who signed up for Christmas assistance this year. Lt. Kenneth notes that in past years, approximately 5,000 applicants signed up for assistance at the four metro-area corps – North Corps, Citadel Corps, the Kroc Center and Council Bluffs. This year nearly 10,000 applicants signed up online, an increase Lt. Kenneth directly attributes to the pandemic. “Businesses are closing down, workers are being laid off,” he said. “It’s an honor to fill in the gap to help families in need.”
Because of the increased need, volunteer bell ringers and monetary donations are more important this year than ever. “I am so grateful for the volunteer bell ringers who stand in the cold for two hours to raise money for us,” said Capt. Sam. “We need even more people to jump on that train and help.”
A single bell ringer or a single donation makes a difference. “A donor recently dropped a few pennies into one of the kettles, and she said, ‘This is all I have,’” said Lt. Kenneth. “But I told her it was a blessing. Every bit helps.”
If you’re wondering What can I do? to help “Rescue Christmas” for those in need this season, please consider volunteering as a bell ringer or making an online donation. As Lt. Kenneth said, every bit helps! Thank you!