Springfield Salvation Army reports over 300% increase in residents served: ‘The need is here’

The Springfield Salvation Army has seen an increase of more than 300% in the number of Clark County residents receiving food, rent and shelter assistance - as well as education, emotional and spiritual care through the pandemic.

“The need is here and the need has surpassed what we could imagine,” Jamie Scanlon, Social Ministries Director of the Springfield Salvation Army said.

The Salvation Army is serving 332% more families during the pandemic than a year ago and 346% more individuals, according to data from the agency.

From March 1 to July 1, the Springfield Salvation Army has served 696 families, totalling 1,762 individuals, Scanlon said. Last year between March 1 and July 1, the organization served 161 families, totalling 395 individuals.

Scanlon explained that during the first few months of the cornavirus pandemic they were “overwhelmed” with the amount of families in need of food assistance. The organization assisted three times as many families as normal in April and May.

She added that they have seen a decrease in the number of families needing food assistance as the pandemic continues. On average, they are assisting about 120 families monthly with groceries.

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Grocery orders include three meals for three days, snacks and household items like soap, paper towels and toilet paper, Scanlon said.

Because several recreational programs within the Salvation Army have been shut down due to COVID-19, the organization has been reaching out to residents through education, emotional and spiritual care, Scanlon explained.

This includes phone calls, visits, bible study and education on budgeting.

During the last four months, 293 families received educational, emotional and spiritual care, Scanlon said. Last year during the same time frame, 59 families received those types of care.

A difficulty the Springfield Salvation Army has been experiencing is finding proper housing for the homeless.

The organization looks for safe, sanitized and affordable housing, but Scanlon said that type of housing is lacking in Springfield.

From March 1 to July 1, the organization provided 92 nights of shelter, Scanlon said. Last year, the organization provided 10 nights of shelter from March to July.

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As the pandemic continues, the Springfield Salvation Army has created a new program called “adopt-a-family.”

Scanlon explained that they have set up a separate fund for those in the community that need the most help. The organization will choose a family and assist them for eight weeks.

For residents wanting to donate to the Springfield Salvation Army, Scanlon said monetary gifts are best because they are seeing many individuals that have become behind on their bills, due to losing hours at work during the pandemic.

“I could not thank our donors enough. I’m really inspired by the way our local resources have pulled together to help so many in need,” Scanlon said. “It’s really amazing to watch everyone step up together to help our community.”

For more infromation visit www.swo.salvationarmy.org.

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