ASHFORD, CT – The Salvation Army has seen an increased need for food in Northeast, CT due to the COVID-19 crisis and is responding. Salvation Army staff and volunteers at the hub, located in Ashford, CT, organize donations of food and food purchased through monetary donations into emergency food boxes, which are distributed throughout the area.
The Salvation Army emergency food boxes have gone a long way to aid in addressing the growing need for food resources. “The hub has been running since May 5th, and we’ve been able to provide about 400 boxes every week to go out throughout the various communities,” said Lieutenant Bramwell Applin of The Salvation Army.
A portion of the emergency food boxes will be distributed to homebound individuals and families by The Salvation Army’s Service Unit, located in Columbia, CT. Many seniors are taking precautionary measures and are staying home. “There are seniors with health issues who have to stay at home,” said Debby Smith of The Salvation Army Service Unit. “They can’t go out in public so we’re trying to keep those people safe.”
Volunteers have played a key role in helping underserved communities. “We have volunteers from across the state and have a great partnership with the American Red Cross which has been sending some volunteers to help out,” Lieutenant Applin said. “That has really been the story of this COVID response - partnerships between different agencies, communities, organizations and it’s been a really wonderful thing to see and be a part of.”
In the United States, one in six people live in poverty, and more than 550,000 are counted as homeless. These populations severely lack access to proper care, hygiene, updated information, and medical resources, which makes them more susceptible to the virus. This is where The Salvation Army comes in. The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to meet needs in times of disaster and during the COVID-19 crisis through its Emergency Disaster Services. “I’ve been doing disasters for about twenty years now and started actually with the World Trade Center disaster,” said Mike Orfitelli, current logistics volunteer and former Territorial Director of Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory. “I have to say in all of those years, I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. This is very unique, very unusual and something that we will remember for a long time.”
For those who need assistance: Emergency food distributions are held at Salvation Army locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Please call ahead.
The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) department is coordinating with state and local leads to determine gap feeding needs for vulnerable populations across the state. With the growing need, EDS is continually working to secure the food from multiple sources and assemble and then distribute hundreds of these food boxes to hard hit areas each week.
The Salvation Army has introduced an Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline for anyone in the US to call during the pandemic. Its hours of operation are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EDT. By calling 844 458-HOPE (4673) trained Salvation Army Officers and employees are available to talk, advise, and above all pray for individuals, families and situations. Anyone who is feeling lonely, isolated, or fearful of the coronavirus outbreak can call the hotline number to reach a friendly and reassuring voice.
For Connecticut: Text GIVECT to 71777
For Rhode Island: Text GIVERI to 71777