Our Doors - And Hearts - Are Open COVID-19 & Your Local Salvation Army
These recent weeks have been trying for all of us as we witness the effects of the coronavirus. In one way or another, we are all impacted by this outbreak. Many of us are fortunate enough that we can weather the storm with minimal disruption. In fact, know that we are actively praying for you during this time. For the thousands that we work with across New York state, this disruption threatens to break not only their livelihood but their spirits as well. The Salvation Army expects this virus will disproportionately impact low-income families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
We've been monitoring the spread of the virus closely and have been making changes accordingly to support the most vulnerable individuals throughout our communities while minimizing the risk of infection. We're taking unprecedented measures to maintain continuity of service to those who look to us for support while keeping our staff, volunteers, and clients safe. We are following guidance as it evolves from county and state officials and putting procedures in place to screen and provide appropriate care should anyone show symptoms of the coronavirus.
Below are a few of the preventative measures that The Salvation Army is taking, out of an abundance of caution, to ensure the safety of our clients, staff, and volunteers:
- We are pivoting to provide larger quantities of food, as supplies allow, through our food pantries to reduce return trips that put our clients at further risk of exposure.
- Our soup kitchens and food programs are providing carry-out boxed or bagged meals to lower exposure that could occur when individuals or families come into our facilities to sit and eat.
- Our shelters are implementing screening protocols during the intake process and, as we always do, connecting each resident in our shelter with a health care provider. Procedures are now in place to direct anyone with symptoms to the proper facility for care.
- To minimize the risk of infection, we will not be conducting our home-based services in the same manner. Instead, we will be using technology to connect and support families in their homes and communities through means such as phone and video messaging.
- We have significantly ramped up cleaning at our residential facilities, where close living conditions could allow the virus to spread among residents quickly.
- Where possible, staff is developing plans for remote emotional and spiritual care and worship utilizing live-stream tools.
- Additional protocols are being formed quickly in the event further restrictions are placed on our community. We have plans in place to ensure continuity of service, such as staff-client ratios. We want our staff to feel safe and supported as they meet needs during this time.
As we implement these changes, however, continuing to serve these communities yields enormous challenges and significantly strains our current resources. To keep "Doing the Most Good" in the face of this situation, we need your help. We are anticipating a spike in emergency assistance, like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food assistance, for low-wage workers who may be temporarily laid off or out of work because of the virus. Through your generosity, we firmly believe we will adequately meet the needs of all who come to us for support.
Anyone seeking to help or who needs assistance should reach out to The Salvation Army community center in their area to find out what resources are needed and what services are available, as they vary by location.
COVID – 19 is an unpredictable threat to all of us, and most especially those who The Salvation Army assists each day. Now more than ever, we need YOU!