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When the temps drop, the need rises

The Salvation Army is caring for the families and individuals who are most vulnerable to Covid-19

Hope is stronger than fear. You can help those impacted by COVID-19

We are already seeing a dramatic increase in requests for help – particularly for food – and are working with government and health officials to safely continue serving throughout the crisis. Our doors remain open to those most impacted by COVID-19 including: those who have been laid off, low-wage employees facing limited hours and childcare challenges, seniors who have restricted access to resources, and anyone else struggling to make ends meet.

Your gift today will provide food, assistance to keep people housed with working utilities, and much more in your local community.

Stories Around the Midwest

View our news page to see numerous COVID-19 stories throughout our 11 Midwest states

Read Stories

The Salvation Army’s Response to Coronavirus COVID-19

As the coronavirus COVID-19 has evolved into a pandemic, we are monitoring the situation daily. Safety is of utmost priority, so we have ramped up efforts to slow the spread of this virus among our employees, volunteers, and the homeless and other vulnerable people we serve.

In the United States, one in six people live in poverty, and more than 550,000 are counted as homeless. These populations severely lack access to proper care, hygiene, updated information, and medical resources, which makes them more susceptible to the virus. This is where we come in. This is who we serve.

We are working with local, state, and federal government and health authorities, including participating in situation awareness calls with federal partners like FEMA, CDC, DHS, and HHS. We are developing new hygiene and cleaning protocols to help keep safe our residents and others who depend on The Salvation Army’s programs and services to survive. In addition, all staff, volunteers, and program participants have been sent hygiene and prevention information as recommended by the CDC.

Meanwhile, our divisions will continue to work in close partnership with area government and health experts to prepare and respond to meet specific community needs of 23 million individuals we serve each year and the more than 63,000 employees of our organization. For an in-depth response, click on the link below that represents your region:

Videos messages from our leaders

Commissioners Heidi and Brad Bailey
Central Territory

This video is also available in Spanish

Commissioner David Hudson
National Commander

National COVID-19 Response Page

Read how The Salvation Army is combating COVID-19 at a national level

National Repsonse

Previous COVID-19 Updates

Additional safety measures to protect the communities we serve

Around the Midwest we are taking numerous precautions to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, while still providing critical and much needed services to our communities:

  • Preparing food boxes in case they are needed for a new method of distribution. Transitioned from client-choice to food boxes. Handing out boxed lunches in place of community meals where large groups would normally congregate. Moving pantry pickups to drive thru-style and changing community meals to include safer, packaged foods. Working closely with the schools to take purchased food and give it out from Salvation Army facilities.
  • Staying in contact with government officials, including local mayors, governors and county commissioners. Working with Department of Health to identify protocol in case an infected person shows up.
  • The Salvation Army will be the lead agency in numerous communities to provide ongoing mass care for those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Working with community centers to make sure their food pantries are clean and stocked. Making sure apartment housing is clean and sanitized.
  • Adhering to all guidelines about gatherings and cancelling events for the safety of all.
  • Reaching out to school superintendents and partnering with schools to ensure that students whose only daily meal comes from school will have access to food.
  • Implementing quarantine procedures at shelters.
  • Limiting direct contact with members of the senior population to reduce their risk of exposure and identifying new ways to serve this population. Putting extra cleaning and safety measures in place at our senior housing facilities.
  • Moving to telephone interviews with clients who need services.
  • Providing emotional and spiritual care to those who are struggling. Looking for creating ways to assist donors who feel isolated.
  • To insure the safety of shoppers and employees Family Stores will be closed until April 3 and residential donation pick-ups are temporarily suspended. Read the full article, Family Stores Response to COVID-19

With the novel coronavirus now declared a pandemic, The Salvation Army has significantly increased its preparation for an impending outbreak in the United States and has ramped up efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

Salvation Army Facilities Serving Vulnerable Populations

With one in six people living in poverty and over 550,000 people counted as homeless, a disproportionate number of Americans impacted by this outbreak possibly will be lower-income or experiencing homelessness. Although people experiencing homelessness can be more isolated, they also tend to have chronic medical issues and severely lack access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources, and care.

In our residential facilities, close living conditions mean infectious disease can easily spread among residents. Additional cleaning throughout the day, with elevated focus on high-traffic areas, and sanitation supplies are part of every location’s infectious-disease protocol. If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/quarantine areas will be established, additional healthcare will be needed, and staff needs will increase.

Several industries are at risk of financial hardship, such as travel and hospitality. We anticipate a significant increase in emergency assistance for low-wage employees who may be temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus. Types of support include rent/mortgage, utility, and food assistance. 

Ensuring the safety of those who depend on The Salvation Army’s programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers, is of utmost priority. We are working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels – including participating in situation-awareness calls with federal partners such as FEMA, CDC, DHS, and HHS. Hygiene and prevention guidance in accordance with recommendations from CDC is being used and shared with staff, volunteers, and program participants. Additional protocols are being formed quickly across the U.S. should further restrictions be placed on our communities.


Salvation Army Efforts in High-Impact Areas

In Chicago

  • Our Emergency Disaster Services team has a standing seat on the Office of Emergency Management and Communication planning team.
  • Snacks and beverages have been provided to O’Hare International Airport for the past six weeks to personnel and passengers being tested for coronavirus.
  • Congregate senior lunch that was occurring daily is now providing meals in to-go boxes and food delivery as necessary.

In Washington State

  • Housing programs and shelter programs will remain fully operational with precautionary measures, like daily resident communication, no congregate meetings, access to cleaning supplies, increased space between residents, etc.
  • In King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, all senior activities and gatherings have been suspended through the end of March, church services have been suspended for the next Sundays, and guests going to food banks will register at the door without entering.

In New York City

  • Rockland and Westchester Counties have suspended all activities related to school closure and government containment area decisions.
  • Where possible, staff are developing plans for remote emotional and spiritual care and worship using live-stream tools or video calling.
  • We are participating in planning conversations with NYC Emergency Management around mobile food delivery (e.g., delivering prepared meals to seniors who depend on them at NYC Department for the Aging senior centers).
  • Each facility is screening visitors in advance and upon arrival for fever or signs of acute respiratory illness and assessing existing clients upon admission to the facility.

In North Texas

  • Shelters are actively screening incoming residents and volunteers by asking about any symptoms. If anyone exhibits or reports coronavirus symptoms, staff immediately recommend medical treatment at a nearby county hospital.
  • If necessary, special quarantine areas will be set up inside the shelters, and noncritical services will be temporarily suspended.

Individuals we serve daily will feel the impacts of this crisis on a greater level. We need support from our communities to be able to continue to provide these vulnerable populations with adequate support throughout this pandemic. As the situation evolves, we will work in close partnership to prepare and respond to meet the needs of the 23 million people we serve each year and the more than 63,000 employees of our organization.