Making a Difference in the Midwest During COVID-19, July 7

Jul 7, 2020

Now that summer is here, heat wave included, the patterns of our lives naturally begin to change. But this summer looks much different as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Long days and sunny skies may find us thinking about how to keep kids active, what the upcoming school year holds or how to stay engaged with friends. Salvation Army programs around the Midwest have adapted to meet the unique needs during these unprecedented times.

Free COVID-19 Testing in Kansas City

Despite our best efforts, it looks like the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 will be with us for a while.  While we know that those who test positive can range from asymptomatic to experiencing severe symptoms, much more research needs to be completed. 

The Salvation Army is doing its part to help with this research. On July 7, The Salvation Army Linwood Center in Kansas City, MO hosted free COVID-19 testing for essential workers. Not only did this help to diagnose those COVID-19 positive individuals in the community, but the results will be included in a study by Dr. Kevin Sykes of the University of Kansas Medical Center and Heart to Heart International. The study hopes to better identify the percentage of COVID-19 positive individuals who are asymptomatic and provide evidence to policymakers about the best ways to prevent virus spread. 

School Supply Drive

Now that the calendar has passed July 4, a change is happening in our local stores. This is the time of year when store shelves begin to sprout a new crop of pens, paper, crayons and calculators – everything a student needs for a new school year. What the 2020-2021 academic year will look like is anyone’s guess. Whether students will be learning in the classroom or at home, The Salvation Army of Omaha is making sure that every child has the right supplies for a strong start. Between July 1 and August 4, donations of school supplies and backpacks are accepted at local Omaha Bucky’s Convenience Stores. Not in the Omaha area, but still want to help? The Salvation Army’s annual Stuff the Bus drive will be held at participating Walmart stores around the Midwest August 7-9.

Summer Day Camp with a Side of Math

For the past 40 years, The Salvation Army in Oakbrook Terrace, IL has hosted vacation Bible school. This year, as Illinois enters a new phases or reopening procedures, day camp can now resume and offer a much-needed outlet for young people. But it will look a little different. The camp features contactless pickups and drop offs, lots of hand sanitizer, classes of 10, and instructors who rotate from group to group so children can stay in place. Field trips are now in reverse, with educators traveling to the campers. In addition to traditional features of Christian summer day camp such as Bible study, crafts and games, the Oakbrook Terrace participants also have lessons in reading, math and computers. These extra subjects were incorporated into the curriculum based on feedback from area teachers and parents to help students keep their academic momentum between school years. 

Seniors Go Online at Green Bay Kroc Center

Who says Zoom is only for millennials? The Green Bay Kroc Community Center is offering online classes for seniors in everything from flower arranging to fitness. There’s even a Zoom coffee club for those who want to retain that human connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instruction is provided for first-time Zoom users, so no one is left feeling like they don’t have the computer savvy to participate.  Through these classes and clubs, the Green Bay Kroc Center is helping seniors stay connected and engaged while remaining safely apart.

Across the Midwest, everyone is adjusting to a new normal. The Salvation Army is adapting to the unique needs and dynamic of the times, too. Through format changes that bring the class to your living room, modified day camps, school supply drives and hosting COVID-19 testing, The Salvation Army is meeting human needs in His name.

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