Making a Difference in the Midwest During COVID-19, July 1

Jul 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways most of us couldn’t have imagined just a few months ago. That doesn’t mean it has to cancel all our plans – Hope is Not Canceled. We applaud the creativity of Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers across the Midwest, as they find ways to use technology and other innovations to continue to serve.

Bells Will Be Ringing – in July

It’s a sound we associate with cold temperatures, snow and Christmas - the ting-a-ling of a ringing hand bell. For The Salvation Army of Dane County, WI, the fact that it’s July won’t bother them at all. From July 17-August 1, it will be bell ringing season! Their Summer Red Kettle Campaign will, once again, provide essential funds for programs utilized by those in need throughout Dane County. The campaign will utilize special precautions to keep both bell ringers and donors safe from COVID-19. Bell ringers will use their own bells, wear face coverings and gloves. The campaign will even feature the first Facebook live bell ringing events. Offering both in-person and online options allows bell ringers the opportunity to volunteer in a way that is right for them. If you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and hear that familiar sound, you now know that in Dane County, it is one of the sounds of summer.

Recycling to Help Those in Need

Medical student Carol Fonsceca wanted to find a way to recycle the insulated “blue wrap” used by the medical field. About 225 million pounds of blue wrap ends up in landfills each year. To repurpose some of this material and help those in need, Carol developed a process to transform blue wrap into sleeping bags for the homeless. She worked with doctors and nurses at Ascension Providence Hospital of Southfield, MI and volunteers to create the sleeping bags. Carol then turned to Captain Jamie Winkler of The Salvation Army Harbor Light System to distribute them to homeless individuals. Twenty sleeping bags were distributed right before the COVID-19 pandemic began. “We are very grateful for the support, creativity and compassion for the people of Detroit,” says Winkler. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, Carol is looking forward to making a second batch of sleeping bags.

Day Camp in a Box

Each state is unique and has a different strategy to ease COVID-19 restrictions. For some, this means that children’s summer sports, activities and camps are in full swing. Other states are not quite there yet. To alleviate summertime boredom and keep their regular day campers from the Madison, WI area engaged, The Salvation Army has developed a Camp in a Box program. The weekly boxes offer themed activities, devotionals, projects, crafts, snacks and more to keep campers active. Regular online Zoom calls allow children to interact with fellow campers and enjoy activities. The camp schedule even includes an online talent show.

“Children’s engagement over the summer is critical to their success in the fall and to their health and happiness while staying safe at home,” said Chris Casey, Community Center Director. “We serve 32 children during Summer Day Camp, and we can’t miss this chance to virtually meet with them and to let them know we care.”

While the phrase may be overused, stepping outside the box has allowed The Salvation Army to overcome obstacles and continue serving communities throughout the Midwest. Please join us in our mission to provide help and hope to those in need.



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