Continuing to Do the Most Good in Midwest One Year After Start of COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 11, 2021

As we mark the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army in the Midwest continues to address the longstanding issues of homelessness, poverty, and hunger which have intensified and become more complex due to COVID-19. With a record number of families facing the ongoing threats of “pandemic poverty,” The Salvation Army remains committed, despite operational and fundraising challenges for charities.

People living in poverty felt the initial effects of COVID-19 more quickly and acutely because they experienced a pandemic on top of already-existing epidemics of need. COVID-19 forced a record number of Americans to seek assistance from The Salvation Army. That was certainly true in here in the Midwest. The most requested service was food assistance, but the needs were varied and many. Due to our grassroots structure, we were able to quickly modify local operations to meet those needs in creative ways in our 11 Central Territory states.

Here's a look back at how our services evolved:

  • Curbside pickup, drive thru, and contactless service options
  • Food delivery, well-check calls, and care packages for shut-ins, where possible
  • At-home mental health services and support • Outreach to the homeless population, offering protective gear, testing opportunities and access to healthcare
  • Support for first responders and essential workers, such as meals and emotional counseling
  • Developing ways to meet the increased need when eviction moratoriums and "Cold Weather Rules" expire
  • Cooperation with local governments to make our locations available as testing and vaccination sites

To ensure service continues, The Salvation Army took the historic step of starting its 2020 holiday fundraising campaign early to ensure struggling Americans had a bright Christmas. We’re grateful for the money raised, which will also help power 2021 services, but demand is expected to far outpace resources. As neighbors face threats of eviction and financial loss, the majority of clients are characterized to be families who live paycheck to paycheck. In response, Salvation Army sheltering resources will remain focused on vulnerable homeless families, and financial resources will focus on keeping people in their homes through rent and utility assistance.

The Salvation Army will continue to meet the rising tide of pandemic poverty during the current crisis and beyond, but to do so, we are asking for the support of the public. Just $25 a month could be the difference between a family paying their light bill or being left in the dark or receiving a hot meal or going hungry.

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Watch these videos to see how The Salvation Army across the Midwest has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year:

Metropolitan Chicago



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