Making a Difference in the Midwest During COVID-19, June 25
Now that the school year has ended, many parents may feel like their role is changing from teacher to camp counselor. Keeping kids engaged and busy during the summer months can be stressful in the best of times. In the era of COVID-19, it is even more challenging.
Several Salvation Army worship and service centers in Indiana and Michigan have begun offering summer day camps, vacation Bible schools and other special family events. While incorporating the latest COVID-19 safety procedures, the camps engage young minds, encourage exercise and physical activity, and further develop campers’ relationships with God.
While day camps are available in some locations, Salvation Army residential summer camps across the Midwest are closed out of an abundance of caution. But the staff at Hidden Falls Camp isn’t letting this hold them back. They are hitting the road and bringing the fun to select Indiana Division day camps and family activities with one-day visits during June and July.
A Just-in-Time Delivery
COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and guidelines may have some of us experiencing cabin fever. For the elderly especially, the need to stay safe at home can lead to distress. Recently, one elderly couple was forced to move into a hotel after their rental home was sold. With limited access to food, they were down to a half loaf of bread and half jar of peanut butter when Salvation Army Central Region Social Work Manager Noelle Cothern met them during a wellbeing check. Noelle immediately alerted Emergency Disaster Services that this couple needed help.
Soon, two emergency food boxes arrived at the couple’s door, and they are now enrolled in The Salvation Army meal delivery program. The Army is also assisting them to find a new home. The couple was so happy with the assistance they received, they called to leave a thank-you message. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. No one has ever done anything like this for us in our life. We appreciate this. We are going to be able to eat for a long time.” They even shared some of their food with a neighbor.
A Year’s Worth of Food
It’s no secret that due to the COVID-19 pandemic many adults have found themselves suddenly unemployed, furloughed or working reduced hours. This has caused some to need food assistance for the first time in their lives. Across the Midwest, Salvation Army food pantries have seen exponential increases in demand. Generous donors, corporate partners and funding grants have helped to meet the growing need.
The Crystal Lake, IL worship and service center established a food pantry for the first time to provide food within the community. Other locations have become experts in operating drive-through food pantries. The St. Paul (Citadel), MN center has seen the requests flood into its food pantry. During the past three months, they have distributed nearly 300,000 pounds of food – more than they distributed in all of 2019.
Lieutenant Jonathan Taube has documented this increase and the needs served by the worship and service center through a series of videos posted to their Facebook page. “So many of our neighbors have been impacted by the pandemic,” Taube said. “They are out of work, and they are in danger of losing their housing. We remain open to serve them during their time of need. We’re The Salvation Army, and we’re here to help.”
CARES Act Donation Deductions
Helping our neighbors and communities is the order of the day. For some, this may mean getting groceries for a neighbor or volunteering for a community project. For others, cash donations are how they feel they can do the most good. The recently enacted CARES Act provides an incentive for cash donations to public charities made during 2020. Those who itemize on their taxes can deduct up to 100% of their cash donations from their adjusted gross income. Those who donate but don’t itemize can deduct up to $300 from adjusted gross income instead.
A simple act of kindness can mean so much to someone in need. Whether that is providing help with an errand, volunteering your time, donating, or even a simple smile or sending a card, showing that you care can lift a person’s spirits. We hope you will join us in our mission to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.