Support students through community programs

As kids prepare for the upcoming school year, school supplies remain critical to their success. While school districts struggle with the challenge of delivering education and resources to students amid a pandemic, many parents are working to determine how they will ensure their children have the necessary supplies.

Community youth programs are innovating to fill gaps and ensure kids from low-income families in particular are equipped with learning materials and supplies, enrichment activities and food. For example, when schools closed, local corps of The Salvation Army started adapting creative alternatives to their youth programs to provide activities, snacks and educational materials like coloring sheets, scavenger hunts and more to keep kids entertained and learning.

If you’d like to make a similar impact in your community, consider lending a hand in one of these ways:

Tutor or mentor students. Although most kids across the nation face the same challenges with academics, some are at more of a disadvantage because their access to remote learning resources is limited or parents are unable to assist at home. You can help by volunteering to tutor students as they practice learned skills and get back into the swing of a new school year.

Donate supplies. There are 30 million children in the United States whose parents will have to choose between buying school supplies or other necessities like putting food on the table. Consider adding extra common items like crayons, markers and glue when you shop for your own children and dropping them off at your local youth center. Campaigns like The Salvation Army’s “Stuff the Bus” events allow shoppers to purchase and drop off requested items at collection bins located at the front of participating retailers.

Get involved with extracurricular activities. If you have a particular skillset or experience, for example as a high school or college athlete, lending your knowledge to a local youth group can help provide a constructive outlet for kids while enriching your own life.

Volunteer for meal distribution. Many children rely heavily on schools for meals; in fact, the food some students receive through their schools’ breakfast and lunch programs may be the only meals they get in a day. Across the country, organizations have partnered with local school districts to provide meal kits, coordinate food distribution routes and pickup locations to get meals to kids and families. Depending on the needs in your area, you may be able to donate food, assist with organizing the meal kits or help coordinate deliveries.

Help fund youth programs. Uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has many people reconsidering their finances, and that means the donations and contributions many programs rely upon have slowed. If your situation allows, consider a monetary contribution to a youth-oriented cause, which can help deliver programming even if you’re not able to volunteer in other ways.

Learn more about getting involved in your community at

Purposeful Youth Programs

While many children from low-income families rarely experience life outside of their immediate neighborhoods, youth programs can help kids discover new skills, passions and hobbies while connecting with others in a safe, healthy way.

Along with community centers dedicated to supporting the physical, emotional and spiritual growth of moms, dads and kids, organizations like The Salvation Army provide after-school programs for students of all ages and numerous music, art and athletic programs at its 7,600 centers across the country.

The organization’s “Stuff the Bus” program also helps make activities and programs more accessible to low-income youth in local communities, including:

After-school programs offer homework assistance and counseling for children of all ages, as well as one-on-one assistance with homework, study skills and literacy advancement. Dance, art and music programs are offered in no- or low-cost environments. Classes range from choir, band and dancing to drawing, writing and acting.

Sports, clubs and extracurricular activities give children from low-income neighborhoods a chance to play team sports and learn valuable athletic and life skills.

Parental involvement coaching equips parents with the skills needed to support and sustain their children’s educational needs.

 Fairfax County Times

Volunteer Ministers and the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response Use Personal Skills to Help During the Pandemic

Personal stories of helping others during the pandemic are being shared by the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology in various parts of the country.

In the northwest, Rev. Ann Pearce and her Volunteer Minister team from the Church of Scientology in Seattle, WA, continue to work with their community, getting donations of food supplies delivered each week to local non-profits who work with the homeless population. “Organizations in the area including the Queen Anne Food Bank in Seattle have seen the number of individuals in need of basic food staples soar recently,” said Rev. Pearce. “Our volunteers have started a food donation campaign, delivering supplies to local groups weekly, and are also at work on a drive to get new socks donated as there is a need for them in the community.”

In the greater Seattle area from Mill Creek to Tacoma – some of the church’s volunteer seamstresses have been sewing hundreds of masks for distribution to non-profits who are on the front lines helping the public. “Health professionals are recommending saving surgical masks for medical staffs, so church volunteers are making reusable cloth masks for non-medical use as a health measure,” Rev. Pearce said.

Copies of the church’s booklet, “How to Keep Yourself & Others Well” are also being provided by the church as a simple training and prevention measure on cleaning and sanitizing to help keep the public safe and well. For a free copy of the booklet go to

Rev. Julie Brinker from the Church of Scientology in Nashville, TN, said, “With the Nashville community under a ‘Safer-at-Home’ order by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee since late March, and the Mayor urging residents to wear masks in public settings such as visits to the doctor or grocery store, people are in need of masks. We wanted to help. A local volunteer minister seamstress stepped up in a big way to get masks to the people while also making donations of masks to emergency responders and nursing staff,” Rev. Brinker explained. “She turned her home into a ‘tiny cloth mask factory,’ and announced this to her Instagram following on April 2nd. Since this announcement she has received hundreds of orders for masks. She is most proud of how she’s been able to get masks to those who most need them on the front lines. Among those who are now proudly wearing her masks are Salvation Army volunteers who are out and about delivering goods.”

In another part of Nashville, long time volunteer minister, Jennifer Pantermuehl, is working with the local hospital who put out a call for volunteers to help deliver food to those in need. Several times a week she takes her car and her pull cart to the hospital, picks up the donated food and goes door-to-door delivering it to those in need. “It is the least I can do for my neighbors here in our wonderful city. We have been hit with several disasters recently including a tornado and now the virus. My colleagues and I love to help and have worked out how to do this so we do not put ourselves or those we are serving in danger. Yes, we are wearing our masks and our gloves and give a wide berth to anyone we meet. The food is dropped on the door step, we step back, wave, give them a big smile behind the mask and wish them well,” said Jennifer.

The Volunteer Ministers (VM) program was launched more than thirty years ago, in response to an appeal by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Noting a tremendous downturn in the level of ethics and morality in society, and a consequent increase in drugs and crime, Mr. Hubbard wrote, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a VOLUNTEER MINISTER and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

Volunteer Ministers have also trained and partnered with over 1,000 different groups, organizations and agencies around the world, including the Red Cross, National Guard, Army Cadets, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Rotary Clubs, civil defense and disaster management agencies, YMCAs, police and fire departments of dozens of cities and towns and hundreds more national and regional groups and organizations.


WASHINGTON , DC, USA, April 16, 2020 / — Written By Rev. Susan Taylor


AROUND the world, The Salvation Army runs 30 general hospitals and more than 200 clinics, meaning that its medical staff in many locations now find themselves on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. There are many programmes in place that are not mentioned here, but Major Joan Gibson, International Health Services Coordinator at International Headquarters in London, shares some updates from centres that have been provided with funding to expand their response. She also asks for prayers that the equipment that has been funded will be able to be sourced despite the lockdown situations that have been put in place.   


Howard Hospital is a 140-bed institution a short distance from the capital city, Harare. It is the largest hospital in Mazowe District. In response to the spread of the virus, a tent has been set up at the hospital’s gate to triage patients before they enter – allowing potential coronavirus patients to be identified immediately. Due to restrictions on the movement of people that have been put in place to try to reduce the spread of the virus, Howard Hospital is currently only dealing with emergency patients and those who need repeat medications.

Anticipating the possibility that the virus takes hold as it has done elsewhere in the world, sufficient funds have been sourced to allow the hospital to purchase more PPE (personal protection equipment) and IPC (infection prevention and control) materials such as disinfectant and soap. Funds have also been provided to buy five new ventilators and other monitoring equipment to care for people who become seriously ill as a result of COVID-19.

The 40-bed Tshelanyemba Hospital is in the south of Zimbabwe, more than two hours’ drive from Bulawayo. Most of the men in the area work in neighbouring countries and only come home for holidays. With the borders closing the men are now returning home, and there is concern that they may bring the virus with them.

The hospital has set up a phone line for villagers to call in with their symptoms so they can be given instructions about what to do before going to the hospital. In the event that some of those contracting COVID-19 will develop severe symptoms before coming to the hospital, funding has been provided to purchase a ventilator as well as PPE and IPC materials.


The Salvation Army has a number of clinics across Ghana. At present there is only a low total of COVID-19 cases in the country, but preparations are in place in case that situation changes. New funding has been provided to purchase more PP and IPC equipment and materials.


The Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth Hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, has been requested by the authorities to be the central facility of the area for receiving all COVID-19 patients. The hospital has designated 30 single rooms which have been refurbished in readiness to receive coronavirus patients, but many other beds have been made available if this area becomes full.

The hospital has been provided with funding to purchase two ventilators and a BiPap machine (to aid breathing) along with other monitoring equipment, so they will be able to respond when severe cases are admitted. As of 7 April the hospital had admitted 22 patients and discharged two. So far none of the cases have been serious.

The Salvation Army Distributes Care Packages to Isolated Community in Northeast Florida

The Salvation Army Distributes Care Packages to Isolated Community in Northeast Florida

The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida assembled and delivered care packages to 50 families, providing food and supplies to 184 children and adults. A fellow concerned citizen partnered with a local school to identify the community in need.

The elementary and middle school students residing in this neighborhood are unable to get free school meals due to the parent’s inability to take off work and lack of transportation. The families served are primarily immigrants and refugees who severely lack access to proper care, hygiene, updated information, and medical resources.

The care packages included fresh produce, meat, canned goods, juice, bread, snacks, hygiene products, stationery items, and low- and no-income resources. The Salvation Army and Feeding Northeast Florida collaborated to provide the items.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to serve those in need during this crisis, and it’s only because of the generous support of our friends, donors, and partners in ministry, we’re able to provide food for the hungry. The Salvation Army will continue to be on the frontlines of doing the most good during these unprecedented days,” says Major Keath Biggers, Administrator for The Salvation Army serving Northeast Florida.

Visit to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts.

Click here to view the original post and additional pictures.

Seniors get food delivery thanks to Salvation Army, donors in Elgin

Dee Connors normally has to take four buses to get to the grocery store, a trip that has become a worrisome risk for her during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, all the Elgin resident had to do was open her front door to find a box of food and a box of home goods, delivered courtesy of The Salvation Army and other community partners in Elgin.

“It is fantastic,” the 78-year-old said. “They put the instructions of what to do — like what to do about the bleach with cups of water, wash the cans, take the cookies out of the box with gloves and dumping them in another can.”

“It’s nice knowing all the things they do for us.”

Connors was among 70 seniors in Elgin and South Elgin who received doorstep deliveries on Friday. The food boxes, obtained by the Salvation Army, contained items such as gluten-free pasta, rice and beans, chocolate chip cookies, canned tuna, peanut butter, canned green beans plus a mix of fresh produce and refrigerated items.

The home goods boxes, packed by volunteers on Friday morning and sponsored by a $500 grant from the Elgin Noon Rotary Club, contained four rolls of toilet paper, one roll of paper towels, dish soap, anti-bacterial hand soap, laundry detergent and a bottle of bleach. The Elgin Breakfast Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club of Elgin also participated in the effort.

The seniors who received the boxes are clients of Senior Services Associates, a nonprofit in downtown Elgin that typically hosts a mobile food pantry once a month offered by Food for Greater Elgin.

“It’s such a blessing,” said Peggy Gomez, of Senior Services Associates. “We had seniors crying, thanking us, just saying how grateful they are.”

Rick Reigner, resource development director for The Salvation Army in Elgin, said seniors are especially hesitant to leave their homes due to the pandemic, so this was a way to provide services where they are most needed.

Elgin resident Jeanette Jackson, 67, said she cooked asparagus for the first time after finding a bundle in her box at her doorstep.

“It’s such a warm, kind gesture that’s involved during this pandemic that we are in,” she said. “I am newly diagnosed as a diabetic and this is getting me into the routine of eating more fresh and more nutritious food.”

Elgin resident Kathy Kemph, 75, said she was especially happy to get toilet paper and paper towels. “I thought it was wonderful,” she said.

The Salvation Army at 316 Douglas Ave. in Elgin also continues to hold food distribution from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Volunteers place food boxes in people’s cars and ask those who come by foot to keep a six-foot distance while in line.

‘I can’t pay it back. So I pay it forward’: Volunteers deliver food to quarantined coronavirus families

Huffing a bit, Mike Williams, 75, hauled the box of food up the apartment stairs, stacking it atop another already sitting outside the door. Dan Smith, 73, followed close behind, an identical box resting against his red Salvation Army jacket.

The boxes began piling up as the two volunteers made another trip up the stairs, their steps getting a little slower each time. Both men are squarely in the most dangerous category for COVID-19 infections: older, with pre-existing health conditions. Their concern, however, was focused on the family behind the door, eight of their neighbors who were waiting out a coronavirus quarantine mandated by county health officials.

“Everyone has their own risk-benefit calculation,” Smith said. “I’ve made my calculation. You’ve got plenty of time to do nothing when that first shovel of dirt hits your face. This is not the time to do nothing.”

Across the country, tens of thousands of volunteers like Williams and Smith have stepped up to help their fellow Americans in this time of need. While critics have called the federal government’s response faltering and inconsistent at best, ordinary people are filling the gaps in aid, raising money to buy masks and gloves for nurses, donating money to out-of-work restaurant employees and distributing food and supplies to people stuck in their homes.

The volunteers concede they might be putting themselves at risk, both by working alongside other volunteers and by interacting with people who might have the coronavirus. In some cases, there aren’t enough supplies to keep them safe and volunteers are expected to provide their own face marks and other protective gear. But many Americans say they feel compelled to help out a time when the nation is facing unprecedented unemployment rates and as the death toll continues to climb.

An Urgent Delivery (North & South Carolina Division)

Late on a Friday afternoon, the phone rang at The Salvation Army of Greater Winston-Salem. A teenage girl was calling on behalf of her mom.

“Do you have a food pantry? My mom is disabled, we don’t have transportation, and we are nearly out of food. We need help,” she explained.

It’s not every day that you receive a call from a teenager needing food. It’s unprecedented times, and more calls of those in dire need are coming in. It was also late in the day which meant that the food pantry was closed for the weekend. The Salvation Army employees knew that they couldn’t let this wait until Monday, they had to something now. They took down the family’s information and got to work.
They packed a box of food that would last the family a week and drove to their home to deliver it.

Upon arrival, they found that the family included the mother and three children, one of whom was a young girl with autism. The mom said the girl was in the habit of going to the refrigerator for snacks and for the last couple days had become very agitated when she found the refrigerator was empty.

“We are so happy you came by. We are almost totally out of food and didn’t know what we were going to do,” the mom told The Salvation Army employees.

The Salvation Army will continue to answer the call, because as long as the need exists so does the work of our organization. In this time of national emergency, social distancing, fear, and uncertainty, it is more important than ever that the most vulnerable of our neighbors know they have a trusted place they can rely upon. The Salvation Army will always be ready to listen and to serve when the call comes in.

The Salvation Army providing additional shelter, meals during COVID-19 crisis in Savannah

The coronavirus has left millions of Americans in crisis, which is why FOX 28 and Sinclair Broadcasting are teaming up with the Salvation Army to help those struggling in our community.

We’re launching Sinclair Cares: Your Neighbor Needs You.

It’s a fundraising effort to help the Salvation Army continue to provide shelter, food and hope to people who need it. And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

About three months ago, Lynette Bacon and her six children found themselves homeless after leaving a domestic violence situation. But then she found a temporary home at the Salvation Army in Savannah.

“They just poured out more love into them and into me. When I first came, I was a wreck. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and slowly and surely I’m rebuilding myself one day at a time,” said Bacon.

She’s one of so many people The Salvation Army is helping through this difficult time.

“Right now I’m in a program, it’s called pathway to hope that The Salvation Army has and it’s a year-long program. And through that time they’ll be working with me on devotionals and getting in touch with my spirituality and eventually, the end result hopefully will be finding a stable home for myself and children,” said Bacon.

During the coronavirus, the Salvation Army gets people off the streets, where they’re at a higher risk of getting the virus.

“We know people come to times where they need the Salvation Army‘s help with sheltering so we want to provide that, but we want to do it safely,” said Major Paul Egan, the corps officer.

They’ve turned community center on Bee Road into a temporary shelter for women and children and that’s so that they can keep as much social distancing in their shelters as possible. They also have their shelter on Montgomery Street and they’re making sure people are fed.

“Anybody that needs a meal can stop by the Salvation Army on Montgomery Street. Right now we’re doing takeout as opposed to welcoming them in like we typically do to our dining room but that helps us with social distancing so it keeps it possible to feed people,” said Major Egan.

Call 211 to find out how you can get help from them.

“I feel free, I feel like I’m ready to live. I’m homeless, we’re displaced and I am the happiest that I’ve been in probably 10 years,” Bacon said, as she fought back tears.

Through donations from the community, The Salvation Army can continue to help people like Bacon through these scary times.

You can donate through Sinclair’s fundraiser here. Through Sinclair Cares: Your Neighbor Needs You, Sinclair Broadcasting will match up to the first $100,000 of donations.

Your money will go directly back into the local community to bring food, shelter and hope.

Here is a breakdown of what your donation could bring to those in need:

  • A $10 donation feeds a person in need for one day.
  • A $30 donation provides one food box containing staple foods for a family of four.
  • A $75 donation will allow a family of 4 to stay in a hotel for one night.
  • A $250 donation can provide a hot, to-go meal to 100 people.

The Salvation Army Receives $15 Million from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Largest Social Service Provider Awarded Funds for Nationwide COVID-19 Response

The Salvation Army has received $15 million in grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. for COVID-19 relief efforts. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, The Salvation Army has rapidly evolved its programs to serve vulnerable Americans and those whose livelihoods are being affected – in some cases, catastrophically – by COVID-19.

“The Salvation Army is only able to serve thanks to support from others, and we are extremely grateful for the generosity of Lilly Endowment,” said David Hudson, National Commander of The Salvation Army.  “Across the country, our dedicated staff are going above and beyond to ensure that our neighbors have access to desperately needed resources, such as food and shelter. This much-needed support from Lilly Endowment will allow us to meet those needs for millions of Americans, and we hope the support will boost awareness and inspire others to give as well.”

Before the outbreak, one in six Americans was already living in poverty, and more than 70 percent of Americans indicated they would have trouble meeting their financial obligations if they missed a paycheck. Now, The Salvation Army anticipates those numbers will increase and a new generation of need will result from the long-term impacts of the virus, such as layoffs and other job losses, food shortages, and increased childcare needs. After the Great Recession in 2008, The Salvation Army saw an increase of 10 million requests for service between 2008 and 2010.

Lilly Endowment’s support for The Salvation Army’s efforts is being made in two grants. A $10 million grant to support the Salvation Army’s national work will be divided equally among The Salvation Army’s four territories, which oversee local efforts in nearly every ZIP code in the United States.  A $5 million grant will be dedicated to efforts helping residents of Indiana, where Lilly Endowment is headquartered.

Because The Salvation Army has a year-round presence in the communities it serves, it’s able to quickly adapt to the unique needs of each locality. While service looks different around the country, it includes food delivery and food box provision for individuals, families, and isolated seniors; shelter for vulnerable populations; financial support for those who have been laid off or seen their hours cut; desperately needed childcare services; live-streamed or remote emotional and spiritual care; and more. In addition, providing resources to hard-to-reach areas like Alaska and Hawaii will become an increasing priority as their supplies of food, hygiene items, safety gear and other essentials dwindle.

“The Salvation Army is deeply committed to alleviating human suffering – it’s in their DNA,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “Through outreach to low-income individuals and families in need of food and shelter as well as counseling, mentoring and spiritual support, they care for communities every day. In times of crisis the Salvation Army is able to spring into action to help even more people through difficult times. We’re grateful for how the Salvation Army is helping our nation during this pandemic.”

For more than 70 years, Lilly Endowment has supported various efforts of The Salvation Army to help people in need. In recent years, Lilly Endowment has been a significant funder of The Salvation Army’s work to help low-income families throughout the country break the cycle of poverty through The Army’s Pathway of Hope Program.

To contribute to The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 relief efforts, or to find a donation location in your community, visit

‘I Have to Do This’ – Atlanta Corps Helps Those Impacted by Coronavirus

The menagerie of vehicles that idled alongside the Gwinnett County Salvation Army curved around the parking lot and extended almost back into the street. Anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic and questions about what it means for their futures drew people from all walks of life across Gwinnett County to patiently wait for a mid-day distribution of much-needed food and sheltering supplies. Sharply at noon, the Gwinnett Salvation Army staff hustled into a swirl of activity to hand out boxes and bags filled with non-perishable food items, cleaning materials, and toilet paper. A copy of The Salvation Army’s most recent War Cry magazine was placed snuggly in each bag or box. Within a half hour, amidst greetings and expressions of gratitude and thankfulness, the initial rush was over.

“This is an unprecedented time and we are seeing that people who have never needed us before, need us now,” said Captain Jeremy Mockabee, presiding officer at The Salvation Army’s Gwinnet County Corps. “People just don’t know what to expect, and if someone is thinking about a job loss or that this might go on for some time, then any additional resources will help.”

According to Captain Mockabee, there were many more people lined up this day than in previous days – a trend he anticipates will continue.  “It’s all about helping people in their time of need,” says Mockabee, “And people trust The Salvation Army because they know we are geared to adapt and handle large types of responses like this that possibly smaller organizations may not be able to weather.”

Throughout the afternoon, periodic vehicles continue to meander in and through the cone-guided trek to the distribution center at the front of the facility – where Angela Wylie, a social work intern from Georgia State University, greets them.

“When I heard we were helping people affected by the coronavirus, I said, ‘I have to do this!’” says Angela. “I love helping people – especially the elderly and homeless, and they seem to be the most affected during this time.”

Angela has a heart to help people in need and has been working for years toward a social work degree. She shares how fortunate she feels about working at The Salvation Army. “I love it here – not every intern has such a great experience.”

Angela will graduate from Georgia State University in May, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has dampened some of her joy.

“I waited all these years to graduate and walk across the stage at Georgia State, and now that has been taken away,” she says reflectively. “It’s OK, though, I have nothing to complain about – there are people out there who are in real need.”

According to Captain Mockabee, there may be a possible social work position opening up soon for a someone with a heart to serve others at the Gwinnett County Corps.

Angela has already expressed her interest in the position.

“It’s amazing here – I could not think of a better place to work,” she says with a big smile.


Story written by: Donald Felice | | (404) 550-3716