The COVID-19 virus has had extraordinary effects on our personal lives, communities and throughout the world and we write to provide an update on The Salvation Army’s work in response to this pandemic. Through our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) and Social Services Departments, our Salvation Army Corps (churches) have been providing critical resources to individuals, families and children impacted by this crisis. Based on the latest guidelines received from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) we quickly modified our distribution models to continue to provide essential food resources, but with pre-packaged, non-congregate meals and food bags.
As needs continue to increase in many areas, the Corps have increased their volume of distribution, and EDS has begun the coordination of disaster food boxes both to Corps and our partner agencies. Each of these boxes provides 35 meals of shelf stable food which not only provides families with larger meal resources but limits the need for daily or regular contact.
As of today, we have distributed over 28,000 meals through our food boxes and other critical care needs. Below is a breakdown of our current Feeding Stats in response to this COVID-19 pandemic.
- 3,314 – Pre-packaged individual meals distributed by the Corps
- 5,746 – Food Bags (10 meals per bag) distributed by the Corps
- 706 – Disaster Food Boxes distributed (containing 35 meals each)
- 350 – Hygiene kits
The Salvation Army has established 6 ‘hubs’ in key areas in Massachusetts to assemble food boxes to support increased Corps needs. The Corps currently involved are Pittsfield, Springfield, Fitchburg, Lowell, Lynn, and the Children’s Learning Center (CLC) in Dorchester–which has been repurposed with the closing of day care programs. EDS has opened a ‘disaster account’ with the Greater Boston Food Bank to provide increased resources, while we are also working with all our food vendors including food banks and other agencies.
Chris Farrand, our EDS Director, has been on site daily at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) at the request of the state, as part of the Mass Care/Feeding Task Force. The Task Force is directly coordinating with the Department of Education, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Family Resource Centers, and local Emergency Managers to determine gap needs and how to meet them. In addition, we are utilizing our mobile disaster response canteens to help with distribution and support to those who are unable to pick-up food boxes at the Corps.
I should also mention that even though Governor Baker has issued a ‘stay at home’ mandate for Massachusetts The Salvation Army continues to provide spiritual and emotional care virtually to those who feel isolated, who are struggling and want to connect, with messages of encouragement, worship services and other updates through our websites and social media platforms. This emotional and spiritual support is in addition to the feeding programs we continue to offer daily.
As we continue to our efforts of meeting the needs of our communities, we need your support more than ever. If you want to donate, please click here to donate designating it to The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division general operation. In addition, we just launched a triple match appeal, where a generous friend of The Salvation Army offers to match donations 3 to 1 at this time – up to $100,000. Click here to learn more about this triple match.
Learn more about the Salvation Army by visiting https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/volunteer/new/