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Salvation Army taking steps to limit coronavirus exposure

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Sun, Mar 15th 2020 06:20 pm

Organization working to protect staff, volunteers, clients

The Salvation Army has “significantly increased its preparation for an impending outbreak of the novel coronavirus and has ramped up efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations,” a press release read. “The Salvation Army is taking unprecedented measures to make sure it keeps its doors open and continues to serve those in need, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. The organization is changing the way it serves the hungry at its food programs, including soup kitchens. People will be now be served meals in delivery boxes or bags instead of gathering inside buildings for a sit-down meal.

“Salvation Army shelters have been following guidance from county and state health officials to ensure current shelter residents stay healthy while putting procedures in place to get the appropriate care for anyone showing symptoms of the virus. Shelter managers and staff are reviewing procedures for such a situation and are making sure spaces are cleaned and sanitized.”

Maj. Ivan Rock, the commander of the Empire State Division, said The Salvation Army will continue to do everything possible to provide for those in need.

“People have turned to The Salvation Army in times of crisis for 155 years,” he said. “To face this challenge, we are going to need help from the community. The best way you can help is by providing a monetary gift that will help us keep our facilities sanitized, put food on people’s tables, and restore hope.”

The press release continued, “The Salvation Army has increased cleaning throughout the day at its residential facilities, where close living conditions allow infectious disease to easily spread among residents. If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/quarantine areas will be established, additional health care will be needed, and staff needs will increase. The organization is also expecting a spike in emergency assistance, like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food assistance, for low-wage workers who may be temporarily laid off because of the impact the virus is having on some businesses.”

Rock said The Salvation Army also needs additional resources, such as rubber gloves, surgical masks, and additional cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army noted that, “despite homeless people being more isolated, they also tend to have chronic medical issues and severely lack access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources, and care. Contact your local Salvation Army for specific ways you can help them serve those in need.”

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre). Its annual Red Kettle campaign in November and December helps 45 community centers and 166 volunteer-driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need.

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