Abilene Salvation Army sees increase in foot traffic during pandemic

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ABILENE, TX. (KTAB/KRBC)- For those living on the streets, navigating through this pandemic has been tough. The Salvation Army of Abilene says it has seen an increase people coming to them for help.

“I see the sadness, I see the depression, I see the hunger, I see the homelessness, and I was in the same situation and it’s terrible,” said Joe Gonzales.

According to Community Development and Public Relations Director Shelley Futrelle, since the start if the pandemic the Salvation Army has seen a 40% increase in people walk through their doors.

“We have seen a serious up kick in the people who have come into our program just recently, because this is just one more thing added to an already heavy load that they’re carrying,” said Futrelle.

In order to give back to people who are dealing with similar problems to what he went through, Joe Gonzales is helping the Salvation Army combat the pandemic by helping them sanitize their facilities as much as possible.

“The church, the gym, all the way to the lobby, even the living quarters, all the offices, and basically everything that gets touched,” said Gonzales.

During the pandemic people all around the country have had difficulties paying rent, and Abilene is no different.

“When the end of July hits, and landlords are able to evict, I think we’ll see an up kick, certainly in our shelter. I do believe there’s going to be a whole lot of people without homes, without places to stay, so we are here,” said Futrelle.

For years the Salvation Army has helped people overcome drug and alcohol addiction, provided a place to sleep for the homeless, and given food, clothes, and much more to those in need.

“You know, I didn’t really care for anything, but when I came here, they helped me actually open my mind up and my heart,” said Gonzales.

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