Inspiring Generosity in the Age of Coronavirus
Throughout the Metropolitan Division, The Salvation Army has been able to meet the rising requests for help because of countless acts of generosity. May these stories warm your heart and inspire your own compassion in action as the virus wears on.
A Lesson in Compassion
A young teacher from a local elementary school in the Cicero area stopped by our food pantry at the Templo Laramie Corps Community Center and asked us if it was possible to have bags of food for some of her students’ families. She was getting in touch with them to make sure they were doing okay.
She shared with us that she remembers as a little girl her parents went through a lot in their lives and it was always difficult for them to have food on their table. She said, “I can't imagine what these families are going through. I have been there and I want to help, if I can, to alleviate a little bit by bringing food for those families.”
Templo Laramie was able to provide food baskets for those families, and the teacher picked them up and delivered them herself. Soon after, she sent us this email:
Thank you so much for your help today with the food donations! I wish you guys could have seen the little excited faces I saw pressed against their windows when I went to drop them off. The families were more grateful than I could have imagined. Thank you for all that you guys do and for bringing a sense of relief and comfort to my students and their families at this time.
The families are not receiving food stamps as they very recently began their hardships and layoffs at work when this crisis began. Again, I want to thank you so much for your help today.
Many wonderful things are happening at Templo Laramie. My wife, Martha, and I give the glory and honor to God for everything that is happening. He has been faithful in many ways.
-Captain Tomas Valladares, Corps Officer/Pastor at Templo Laramie Corps Community Center
Serving Those Who Serve
The Salvation Army Waukegan Corps Community Center hosts a regular Paper Pantry distribution (toiletries, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items) that has recently grown to serving 103 households. Our food pantry is now serving 175 families from Waukegan, North Chicago, Park City, Beach Park, and Gurnee. We are thankful for the provisions from The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services and Northern Illinois Food Bank, Park City branch.
On Wednesday, April 8, we distributed dinner for 56 people, including 30 firefighters and 21 policemen and staff in North Chicago. Also, meals for two families. The meal was prepared voluntarily by Chef Iris and wife Kathyrn. Also, our Advisory Board member Roger Gerber, from Blackwing Quality Meats, donated about 80 pounds of meat for these meals. We are so blessed in helping others, and so thankful for Iris, Kathryn, and Roger. God bless you all!
-Captains Daniel and Nivia Paredes, Waukegan Corps Community Center
From Desperation to Gratitude
A mom called today in tears because she is behind on both rent and utilities. She worked at Golden Corral in the suburbs until the restaurant was shut down due to COVID-19. She has applied for unemployment, but it takes a long time and so far she hasn't received anything.
The desperation in her voice was palpable. We were able to help her with $500 towards rent for April and also provided counseling and encouragement. In addition, we referred her to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and to the DeKalb Township, as she would qualify for a program they provide.
By the end of her call, her spirits were boosted because she has help and hope.
Additionally, as I was driving up to the center the other day, I noticed a sign in the lawn and thought it might be a political ad or something. Instead I found a thank-you note!
-Major Angie Pennington, DeKalb Corps Community Center
It Takes a Village
We ❤️ our neighbors! A huge thank you to the Villa Park police department for their donation of 25 Easter bags, each containing wonderful non-perishable food items that can be used in the food distribution efforts at The Salvation Army Oakbrook Terrace.
It truly takes a village to support, encourage, and care for one another and we appreciate the Village of Villa Park!
-Cathleen Himes, Resource Development Director at the Oakbrook Terrace Corps Community Center
We Had Some Bananas Today
The Northern Illinois Food Bank recently donated 32 cases of bananas to the Salvation Army St. Charles Corps Community Center (Tri-City). That Tuesday we announced on the “What’s Happening in St. Charles, Illinois?” Facebook page that the donation would be available as part of our fresh food distribution the following day.
And the people went bananas!
“The news spread like wildfire,” according to Lt. Dena Smith, officer at the St. Charles center. “The 32 cases were out within two hours Wednesday morning, and I had to post letting people know that they were gone.”
This donation and its tremendous response shows a typical situation in a normal week in a food pantry – pandemic or not. Items many people might not think twice about are vitally important to others. Vegetables, bread, and fresh fruit are always popular. Especially bananas!
-Steven Hawkins, Resource Development Director at the St. Charles Corps Community Center
Hope in Action
Today we were able to give out food, cleaning products, and household items to over 275 families and over 1,000 individuals. Our team of volunteers were amazing as we prayed together and shared the hope of Christ through our actions and music.
Also, I wanted to share this comment that a woman named Deb shared on our Facebook wall:
Thank you so much for sharing what you have during these trying times.
I have been off work for 5 weeks and the groceries and personal products were much needed and appreciated.
Your volunteers are the best and reflect positively on the mission of Jesus Christ.
-Captain Wendy Faundez, Joliet Corps Community Center
Finally, our Divisional Commander offers words of gratitude for all this generosity:
Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus.
Help The Salvation Army Do the Most Good
Donate to Our COVID-19 Response Fundraise for Good
For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.