Salvation Army closes shelter during holidays

Coronavirus

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)-The Abilene Salvation Army had to close its doors this Christmas because of a recent Covid-19 outbreak, which impacted 75 community members, like Joe Gonzales, who came to the Abilene Salvation Army a year ago.  

“I lost my other half, and I got really depressed, started drinking a whole bunch, just fell down, lost everything, due to selfishness,” said Gonzales. 

After graduating the 10-month addiction program, Joe is a full-time Salvation Army employee.  

“I enjoy helping others, it lifts me up,” said Gonzales. 

But when Covid-19 hit the shelter, he had to self-isolate and wasn’t able to serve at the Christmas Angel Tree event. 

“My mind was going a little crazy because I’m used to moving around, doing stuff, talking to everybody,” said Gonzales. 

And having to evacuate the homeless people in shelter was hard for captain Josh McKain.  

“Last night it was cold, and it broke my heart to not be able to offer this place as a place of refuge,” said McKain.  

But once the outbreak happened, Josh acted quick.  

“I reached out to our city manager and emergency management officials and they said this is what they prepared for when this whole thing started back in April,” said McKain. 

With the help of APD, 2-1-1, and emergency services, they were able to put over 35 homeless community members in hotels. 

“Those who are in a hotel – we’ve been able to feed and of course provide a meal for on Christmas day, which is always important,” said McKain. 

Josh says that come December 30th, they will reopen and expect to have a full shelter again. 

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