The Salvation Army Continues to Meet Increasing Needs during the Pandemic
Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers across the Western Division – which includes Nebraska, South Dakota and western Iowa – are continuing to support people in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a glimpse of some of their efforts, from Rapid City, South Dakota, to the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro.
Rapid City, South Dakota
At The Salvation Army of Rapid City, Capts. Kelsey and Javier Moreno saw a substantial increase in the number of families needing Christmas assistance in 2020 – from 1,547 families in 2019 to 2,025 families in 2020. The corps provided toys and gifts to children and food boxes to families and individuals, as well as financial assistance (including help with utility bills). Earlier in 2020 the Corps also collaborated with the Pine Ridge Long-term Recovery Team to prove food, toiletries and cleaning supplies to residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
At The Salvation Army of Council Bluffs, Capts. Chuck and Dana Cook have also seen an increase in need, particularly during the Christmas season. During the 2020 Christmas season the Corps served 165 families – up from 88 families in 2019. The number of people in need of food has also increased, with 142 individuals and/or families receiving food vouchers this past December, compared to 88 individuals and/or families in 2019.
“You can see this happening across the whole nation – people are needing food because of loss of income, loss of businesses,” said Capt. Dana. “If we can help with food, that’s certainly something that can help offset costs for them, so they can pay their regular utilities and other bills.”
Between March and November, the Burrows Center food pantry filled more than 5,000 grocery orders, while in north Omaha, staff and volunteers at North Corps served more than 18,000 grab-and-go lunches between March and October. In addition, more than 100 staff and volunteers at the Kroc Center helped prepare and deliver nearly 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to senior citizens on Thanksgiving Day.
As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise, Majs. Greg and Poppy Thompson, divisional leaders for The Salvation Army Western Division, are confident The Salvation Army will continue to do what it does best, which is to help those most in need both in the short- and the long-term.
“We’re not stopping. We’re not saying, ‘There’s no way we can do this,’” said Maj. Poppy. “We and other local agencies are saying, ‘How can we rethink this? How can we make this safer?’ Some things do need to be cancelled. But we can’t cancel service to our community.”
If you’d like to help those most in need in your community, please consider making an online donation to support food, material assistance, housing and other support services. Thank you!