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Emotional and Spiritual Care Calls
Figures March 18 - August 13, 2020
With a presence in almost every ZIP code in America, The Salvation Army is poised to respond to the unique needs of people living in poverty. These challenges are exponentially magnified during times of crisis, including pandemics like coronavirus (COVID-19). Now, so many who never imagined being in crisis and needing our help, are coming to us for the very first time. It humbles us to know that we are their source of comfort at their point of hardship.
Across the United States, we are stepping up to the challenge and continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in each community.
The Salvation Army has a 100-year long history of disaster response work in the United States. In New York we were quick to respond following the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and with more localized disasters like fires, gas explosions, and water main breaks. We are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way we would to a natural disaster in our community. New York is considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, and as the country’s largest social service provider, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, especially when in crisis.
While adhering to all federal and local government mandates and guidelines, The Salvation Army is considered an ‘essential business’ and has continued offering food through grab-and-go meals and food pantries. Locations are also providing hygiene kits to those experiencing homelessness who are not in a position to maintain the same health standards while living on the streets.
Nearly one-third of food pantries in the five boroughs have already shut down as they struggle to feed the growing number of New Yorkers left jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered thousands of businesses.* Pantries that are able to stay open are struggling with increased demand and lack of personnel. It’s even harder for pantries to stay open as staff and volunteers get sick and they close their facilities for cleaning.
Lieutenant Clifford Douglas of The Salvation Army in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn shared, “It’s hard for people to find food, and we believe that it’s our duty to help those in need. These are difficult times, but we’re going to get through this together. We’re here for you. We’re praying for you. We’ll support you in any way that we can.”
In Port Chester, The Salvation Army is delivering boxes of food to individuals and families who are in isolation at home. Lieutenant Jonathan Quatela shares, “Today we’re delivering 86 boxes of food. We know this is a really difficult time, but we want to be there for people who are in need, even the isolated, that somebody’s thinking of them, that somebody’s praying for them. We believe that we will get through this, and we only can do this if we work together.”
In order to connect the community with resources, The Salvation Army has set up a COVID-19 hotline (347.395.3943) that individuals can text or call for information about our service offerings or for a referral to one of our community partners. Pursuant to our mission, we are equally available to anyone who feels lonely, isolated, or simply concerned about the pandemic by developing new ways to provide emotional and spiritual care.
As the crisis begins to fade, our team will continue to work with affected individuals and families on a long-term recovery plan to get them on a path to stability.