(Above) A guest receives a meal through a window as a safety measure during COVID-19.

When the local men’s emergency shelter reduced their feeding program to protect volunteers and residents from the coronavirus, The Salvation Army in Moose Jaw, Sask., stepped in to ensure that vulnerable people remain fed and healthy.

“To keep everyone safe, volunteers and other non-essential workers weren’t allowed in the shelter,” says Sonya Bowles, family services coordinator for The Salvation Army. “On-site personnel only had the capacity to prepare a supper meal, so The Salvation Army stepped in to fill the lunch-time gap.” From Monday to Friday, a team of three from The Salvation Army prepare and hand out more than 50 bagged lunches to anyone who is hungry.

The church pastor is the baker, the thrift store manager is the sous-chef, and Bowles ensures that guests receive their food through a window in the front lobby of the church so that everyone stays safe.

“We strive to make lunches interesting,” says Bowles. “From pizza, burgers to egg McMuffins, baked goods and a piece of fruit, our guests know that we are here to support them.”

Bowles and her team also have a passion for supporting seniors who are afraid or not able to leave their homes. A recent grant from the United Way is enabling them to assess the needs of vulnerable seniors and distribute care packages and activity kits to those identified as being at risk of isolation.

“We are grateful for our community support,” she continues. “Increase in demand for our services takes a toll on finances. The donations we receive at Christmas and throughout the year make it possible for us to continue to serve our fellow man.

“In our ‘new normal,’ many are challenged by hardship, and if The Salvation Army can help someone a little bit and relieve some pressure, then that’s what we will do.”

It is through the support of the public that The Salvation Army continues to strengthen its programs and develop new and innovative services. To donate click here or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

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