woman wearing hospital mask

COVID-19 Salvation Army command updates: March 25

Western Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder held a teleconference meeting March 25 with members of the Territorial Executive Council, the seventh of such meetings regarding The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19

After a roll call of command heads, Hodder shared several announcements, including good news: the California South officer who tested positive for COVID-19 was discharged from the hospital and is now home. Hodder said he didn’t anticipate any delay in this year’s appointment changes, though they would be scaled back. He also shared the Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command is arranging for donations trucks in grocery store parking lots to accept clothing donations from the public.

“We want to give people the opportunity to come and contribute clothes they might have as a result of their spring cleaning,” he said. “This is an opportunity to give back.”

Leaders from the Golden State, Hawaiian and Pacific Islands, Intermountain and Northwest divisions then presented three-minute reports, including the biggest change and biggest need in the same order in which they presented last week.  

In the Golden State Division, the San Francisco Kroc Center is now offering childcare to frontline healthcare and emergency response workers. The division is putting extra precautions in place in an effort to protect employees and residents of Railton Place, a transitional and permanent housing facility, said Major Mary Norton, Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries. In addition, the division’s shelters are now open 24 hours so people can remain on the property and decrease the chance of outside exposure to the coronavirus. 

Leaders in Hawaii are pleased the tsunami warning was canceled overnight, said Divisional Commander Major Jeff Martin. A statewide “stay at home” order is now in effect through April 30 and all people arriving on the islands will face a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Corps are now offering online worship services. One corps delivered a worship service on CD with a food box to its congregation members March 23, and another offered a drive-up church service. Martin said there is an increasing need for food and hygiene products, and the division is advertising its need for donations.

In the Intermountain Division, a call center for the division’s four states is now operating with six newly hired case managers to field rent and utility assistance requests, refer callers to local corps for food assistance and take information for those seeking emotional and spiritual care, for which eight retired officers have been recruited to provide by phone.  

The division is hosting a 10-hour on-air virtual food and supply drive March 26 with FOX31 & Channel 2. Salvation Army staff and volunteers will answer calls from their home offices, accepting donations to help those in need—from $20 for a package of toilet paper for two families, to $50 for a hygiene kit for one family or $100 for a food box for a family for one week.

Further, the City of Aurora’s Connected Colorado TV station asked The Salvation Army to sit on a live Zoom panel today to share more about the Army’s emotional and spiritual care in this difficult time. Also in Aurora, a child care center for emergency personnel is opening at the corps in partnership with the YMCA.

The Northwest Division is expanding its shelter programs in a number of cities as local governments continue to reach out to The Salvation Army for emergency assistance, said Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Bill Dickinson. In one case, Dickinson said the city of Bellevue, Washington, is giving The Salvation Army $90,000 to assist with direct emergency services for people.

The Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center is providing virtual fitness classes and is asking members to continue paying their dues as a contribution to the Army’s emergency services. 

Dickinson said they are working to engage advisory board members through video conference and checked in with every officer in the division by phone March 24. He has encouraged all officers to livestream their worship services as a “stay at home” order takes effect in Washington.

Hodder thanked the command heads for their dedication to the work of The Salvation Army. Before closing in prayer, he read select verses from Psalm 136, and after each, the group responded with: “His love endures forever.”  



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