Salvation Army helping those most at risk during pandemic

The Salvation Army is working to help those most at risk by converting its Boys & Girls Club on R Street in Richmond into another shelter specifically for those most vulnerable to the virus, using a $40,000 grant from the COVID-19 response fund.

That fund was started years ago through community fundraising in case Virginia faced a crisis.

“A lot of our shelters…we are pretty much at capacity…we started to really target those individuals who are at a higher risk to the COVID-19 virus,” said Major Donald Dohmann of the Salvation Army of Central Virginia.

Dohmann said the Salvation Army was able to buy 150 new cots, linens, supplies and food to keep the new shelter going mainly for people over 60 years old or who have chronic health conditions.

The organization has also been taking in people from the dissolved Camp Cathy and other homeless shelters in our area that may be full. But that increased effort comes with increased costs like supplies, man-hours and food.

“Adding those meals and the cost and making sure we have good nutritional meals… definitely increased our expenses,” Dohmann said.

The Salvation Army will also launch a massive meal delivery mission next week to first responders and health care workers across Central Virginia. The Salvation Army, along with Ukrops, will prepare and deliver 1,200 meals each Wednesday to hospital workers, Richmond police officers and Chesterfield County Fire and Rescue.

“Something that those workers can just grab that are on the front lines and heat really quick and go back to work,” Dohmann said.

But the emergency funding is already running thin and will be depleted next week, Dohmann says. That’s why the COVID-19 response fund is continually asking the community for donations.