ABILENE, Texas (News Release) — With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing rapidly in communities throughout the state, The Salvation Army of Abilene has significantly amplified its efforts to diminish the spread of the virus and ensure critical service, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
Requests for service have risen and a further spike is expected in the next few weeks and months. While services remain in place for the most vulnerable citizens, such as the homeless and others living near the poverty level, many people who have been able to pay their way prior to this outbreak may now face extreme difficulties due to mandated business closings. Countless residents now have no income and are in need of financial assistance.
“We are already seeing the effects and expect that to grow significantly as this situation plays out,” said Captain Josh McKain of The Salvation Army. “So many people living with extremely tight budgets aren’t able to skip just one paycheck, much less weeks or months without pay. They are turning to us for help.”
The Salvation Army provides service to individuals and families in every zip code in the state and is working diligently to ensure people have access to food, shelter, and desperately needed services like housing and a hot meal. In Abilene this includes showers, clothing vouchers, a drug and alcohol program, food and shelter.
In addition, inside The Salvation Army’s residential facilities, additional cleaning efforts are in place to help curtail the spread of the virus. Proper use of sanitation supplies are part of every location’s infectious-disease protocol. If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/quarantine areas will be established, additional healthcare will be needed, and staff needs will increase. “All of these extra measures have a price tag attached,” said McKain.
The extra need is daunting, particularly due to the extremely contaminous nature of the virus, which has caused the postponement or cancellation of numerous Salvation Army fundraising events, many that had been scheduled for the spring. “There is a concern that the effect of this unprecedented event could be felt for years,” McKain said. “We want to be here to provide basic needs to those we already serve and to have plenty for the new generation of need caused by this virus.”
Public support is essential, maybe more so now than anytime in recent history. “If those able are willing to help those who are in need, our state and nation will likely rise out of this devastating situation more quickly with fewer residual effects on the men, women and children suffering right now,” McKain said. “The Salvation Army is committed to serving those who need our help, and we are thankful for generous public support that allows us to do so. We don’t want to turn anyone in need away, and the only way we can accomplish this is through generous public support.”
Donations also will help ensure the safety of those who depend on Salvation Army programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers. The organization is working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, please visit give.salvationarmytexas.org.
The Salvation Army has an established year-round volunteer program and will continue to utilize individuals who have been trained and vetted. Unfortunately, the organization is unable to accept spontaneous volunteers now due to lack of personnel to help sufficiently train individuals during this time of heightened need.
“We are working to continue as many services to the community as possible during this unprecedented time,” said Captain Josh McKain. “Many people have asked how they can help us right now. Our biggest practical need is for monetary donations, non-perishable food and hygiene products. Please call to arrange a drop-off time.”
Financial donations are the best way to support the ongoing work of The Salvation Army. Individuals can donate online at give.salvationarmytexas.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by mailing a check to 1726 Butternut Street.
“I want to say thank you to our community for their prayers and generous support,” said Captain McKain. “Although this is an uncertain time for everyone, know that The Salvation Army is here and will continue to help those in need whatever the coming days bring.”
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