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Apr3FriHow The Salvation Army is responding to COVID-19 from coast to coast. April 3, 2020(Above) From left, Cadets Alecia Barrow, Danielle Feltham and Amy Patrick pack hampers at a food bank in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Alberni Valley Provides 2,000 With Necessities
The Salvation Army in Alberni Valley, B.C., was busy offering assistance for those in need during the pandemic. In 10 days, they provided 2,000 people with basic necessities such as hot food, hygiene kits, hampers and other supports.
In the Alberni Valley, The Salvation Army took the lead, together with the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen, Community Mental Health Association, Literacy Alberni and the Shelter Society, to provide for the homeless and the hard to house.
While dining areas were closed, meals were cooked every day at CMHA and the soup kitchen and delivered to The Salvation Army where they were distributed for people eat offsite, being careful to practice social distancing.
“The community support has been amazing,” Captain Michael Ramsay, corps officer, Alberni Valley, B.C. reports. “One local minister helped recruit volunteers through the city’s website. People donated, which made it possible to continue to feed and house the vulnerable. Soap for Hope, a Rotary-sponsored group operating out of Victoria, provided hygiene kits. We worked with local businesses, the city, the province and our Member of Parliament.
“Our staff and congregation were also amazing,” he continues. “With the thrift store and regular church activities closed or moved online, our people really stepped up—packing hampers, getting meals ready, keeping everything clean and sanitized, ensuring people maintain social distance and delivering food.”
Kemptville Corps Delivers Care Packages
The Salvation Army corps in Kemptville, Ont., delivered 44 care packages to children and youth to encourage them during a time of social distancing. Small plastic bins were packed with Sunday school craft kits, Bible stories, devotionals, prayer journals, snacks and activities, and left on their doorsteps.
“We wanted to send a message as well as some practical help; to remind our young people that God loves them and, while at home, they can continue to learn about Jesus,” say corps leaders, Calvin and Erin Wong, Kemptville Corps.
The corps also continued to provide emotional and spiritual care to the community. Staff and volunteers called clients to check on their well-being, to book appointments and to set up deliveries. “We are here for them, whether it’s food or medications they can’t access or just want someone to talk to if they are feeling lonely or anxious,” says Erin Wong.
“We are doing our best to adapt to these challenging times to keep connected with our church family and the community,” she says. “We just want everyone to know we are here for them.”
Orangeville Church Turns Sanctuary Into Food-Drive
The Salvation Army’s New Hope Community Church in Orangeville, Ont., turned their sanctuary into a regional food drive to serve more than 1,000 families during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Since we were unable to hold church services, we thought this was good stewardship of our facility,” says Majors Mike and Karen Puddicombe, corps officers.
To minimize any potential spread of the virus, a special strategy was put in place to maintain social distancing. People would either walk or drive up to the outside of the corps, where a volunteer met them and took their information electronically. Another volunteer inside the sanctuary would see to the digital request, “shop” for the items, then leave an assembled food basket outside for the family to take with them.
The idea for a community partnership began when Heather Hayes, the Orangeville food bank director, invited all the local food banks to meet at the corps to discuss a coordinated approach to the COVID-19 crisis. Soon after, the Dufferin Food Share was conceived as a way to minimize the potential spread of the virus by having a one-stop location for the families. The expense of the food drive was offset by partnerships with the City of Orangeville, the County of Dufferin and local donations.
Cadets Assist Front Line in Manitoba
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg mobilized its Crisis Management Team, as part of its Emergency Preparedness Plan. Cadets responded to requests from the Winnipeg Centre of Hope to assist front-line staff in offering wellness checks and pastoral care.
The Army’s Emergency Disaster Services also set up a temporary overnight warming centre in the Weetamah Corps, while second-year cadets who had completed their EDS training engaged in supportive roles.
“The cadets and officer staff of CFOT stood ready, committed to continuing in the officer training program while taking on additional responsibilities as the need arose in the pandemic,” says Major Andrew Morgan, principal of the College of Officer Training in Winnipeg.
Over in Portage la Prairie, Man. cadets served at a local food bank when there was a staffing shortage from the pandemic. The cadets assisted with packing food hampers and regularly sanitizing the area. With social distancing measures in effect, they distributed prepacked hampers to the public.
Salvation Army Assists Shelters in Halifax
The Salvation Army provided food services, and emotional and spiritual care, at two temporary shelters set up by The Department of Community Services in Halifax. The shelters were set up to keep everyone safe by allow existing shelters to provide proper social distancing.
Each night, The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope prepared hot meals for more than 100 people and transported them to the shelter using the Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) vehicle, where volunteers unloaded the food and distributed it to the guests. “Everyone is coming together to help, with each group utilizing their strongest resources,” says Captain Jamie Locke, divisional secretary for public relations and development. “Collaboration ensures needs are met, and the pop-up shelters can be open as long as they need to be.”
“Safety is our first priority,” Captain Locke explains. “We are following all necessary protocols to keep everyone safe as we prepare and distribute the meals, including our guests and dedicated volunteers.”
Army Serves Truckers in Newfoundland
The Salvation Army partnered with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Marine Atlantic to provide meals to truckers during the coronavirus pandemic. All the restaurants along the route travelled to and from the ferry crossing in Port aux Basques had been closed. Marine Atlantic provided the number of truckers on each crossing and plans were made accordingly to prepare and serve the meals.
The Salvation Army started in Port aux Basques, where 44 truckers picked up a hot turkey dinner. The meals were prepared at the newly upgraded commercial kitchen in the local Salvation Army church and were transported to the visitors’ centre parking lot on the outskirts of town for distribution. A generator was used to operate a microwave oven to ensure that the meals were warm for the truckers.