Teamwork across Southern Territory battles coronavirus
The Salvation Army in the Southern Territory mobilizes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As families face sudden joblessness and financial crises, and vulnerable homeless residents seek shelter from the disease, corps and commands come up with creative ways to serve people in need and welcome stepped-up support from their community partners.
Atlanta, Georgia: On April 14, staff from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention administered COVID-19 tests to staff and consumers at The Salvation Army Red Shield shelter. In total, 197 people were tested. The CDC received funding from Fulton County, Georgia, to provide testing at homeless shelters around metro Atlanta. On April 15, CDS tested staff and clients at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta.
Memphis, Tennessee: Small businesses are teaming up with The Salvation Army’s canteen ministry to feed the community. Sweet LaLa’s Bakery prepared and provided 250 meals April 6 for hungry Memphians. The bakery also provided nourishment to healthcare workers at Baptist Memorial Hospital. Sadly, Easter was its last weekend in business; the baker announced that as of Saturday, April 11, it would be closed until further notice. “We love what we do and will be in our kitchen again; we just don’t know the timeline yet,” the bakery said in a Facebook posting.
Mississippi Gulf Coast: Beginning in late March, The Salvation Army has offered a drive-through food distribution system with a focus on helping local seniors. Donations of non-perishable food and cleaning supplies are accepted in the Gulf Coast area, with plans to continue distribution through the crisis.
Owensboro, Kentucky: The crew and leaders of the local McDonald’s restaurant on April 5 donated 150 Happy Meals for The Salvation Army’s mobile feeding unit. “No doubt there was plenty to smile about for those kids!” the corps posted to Facebook.
Captain Matt Hedgren, corps officer, loads food bags
Greensboro, North Carolina: “We do this because the need is so great, and even though it has become more difficult, we do not stop,” Captain Hedgren said. “We must carry on because if The Salvation Army simply stopped, families would go hungry. Just because this virus has landed here, that does not mean life stops. It means we must continue to fight for good in order to do the most good.” With the COVID-19 pandemic at its doorstep, the Greensboro Command continues to serve the city. The food pantry has become an even more essential tool due to the increased demand from so many who have recently lost jobs due to the virus.
Palm Beach, Florida: The Salvation Army is distributing food following modified safety protocols. Using donations from partners in FitTeam Ballpark, Palm Beach Harvest and Whole Foods, more than 100 families were served in a single time slot. Volunteers included Katherine Waldron, Port of Palm Beach commissioner.
Mountain Home, Arkansas: Utilizing a mobile feeding unit, The Salvation Army partnered with a local restaurant, Mel’s Diner, to deliver a special meal. More than 130 families were served, and a written devotional was distributed.