Helping a Single Mom Put Food on the Table During the Coronavirus

Mar 18, 2020

Leslie, a single mom of three kids, was among the more than 40 families who visited the food pantry at The Salvation Army's Hammond/Munster Corps Community Center today. She’s a bartender at a restaurant in Dyer, Indiana, who is currently out of work while all restaurants and bars are closed due to the coronavirus. "As soon as the restaurant closed its doors, without warning I lost my job. I was totally unprepared for this!" Leslie said.

“Without income, she said she can’t afford to go to the grocery store,” said Hammond/Munster corps officer Captain Brian Clark. “And many of the shelves are empty there anyway.” Though their food pantry is getting low on staples like cereal, bread, and milk, he filled a big box for Leslie with beef burgers, chicken patties, veggies, and even a cake. “She was almost in tears thanking us.”

Ilene, who heads a household of six, two of them her grandchildren, also visited the Army food pantry. "I never thought that I would need help from a food pantry," Ilene said, "but I am living on Social Security and unable to find the foods that my family will eat. The shelves at the grocery store are bare!"

These are two of several heart-wrenching stories Hammond/Munster Army staff have heard this week from people who not only can’t afford food, they soon won’t be able to pay their rent and utility bills. “You can see the despair on their faces when they come in,” Captain Clark said. This is why the Hammond/Munster food pantry is operating with extended hours during the coronavirus outbreak, now basically open to clients whenever someone is in the building (typically 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). They are also offering childcare during the same hours now that schools are closed as well.

Though their volunteer pool, many of them elderly, is dwindling, and they are seeing an influx of brand-new clients, the staff at this and all Metro Division corps community centers remains committed to Doing the Most Good for our neighbors in need for the duration of the outbreak.

Our feeding programs and food pantries remain open, even while our worship services and programs, such as after-school activities, open gym time, music lessons, and Bible studies, are suspended for the time being to keep our clients, staff, and volunteers safe. The Salvation Army is also prepared to offer long-term support to affected individuals as needed, including emergency assistance with rent and utility payments for workers who have lost wages or employment due to coronavirus closures and cancellations. Army staff will also be available to offer emotional and spiritual care, as we always are.

When you donate today, you make sure we are able to restock our food pantries, offer as much emergency assistance as requested, and continue serving our neighbors during and after the crisis.

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

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