Salvation Army still operating during coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 impact on the Salvation Army

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Many people, businesses, and organizations across the country are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including the Salvation Army in Shreveport.

“More people have come to check into the shelter and organizations are calling us asking ‘hey, are you all taking people?’” said Corps Officer, Lt. Jamaal Ellis. "I guess there’s other groups out there that aren’t so they’re just kind of calling to confirm before they send people our way.”

Ellis says right now they are still operating their homeless shelter, but they are adhering to the stay at home order put in place by Governor John Bel Edwards.

Only those with essential jobs or approved medical appointments are allowed to leave the shelter.

They are now feeding those staying there more because of the order, which means they could run out of food soon.

“We’re having to serve more meals because everybody is staying in, and we’re just trying to give people something to do so they don’t go crazy in there,” said Ellis.

Ellis says they are still providing food bags to families in need. Call the shelter at (318) 424-3200 to make an appointment to pick up food.

Right now, in person services have been suspended at this time.

“People (that) come in to be interviewed and fill out applications for different kinds of services, that’s what we’ve had to suspend for the moment simply because it’s a face to face thing for the applications to be filled out and we’re trying to minimize that kind of exposure,” said Ellis.

Some of those services include the Salvation Army helping to pay people’s rent and utilities. Ellis anticipates in the next couple of weeks more people really needing those services.

“Right now people are preparing themselves for the immediate impact but in a month…a month from now or two or three weeks from now I think we’ll start to see that pick up even more,” he said. "So what the Salvation Army is doing is reaching out to say help us to prepare for when this rush comes.”

Ellis says they didn’t meet their financial goal during last year’s kettle season and with spring fundraising efforts canceled, they are going to need the community’s help now more than ever if they want to continue helping those in need.

“We did end Christmas a little shy or quite a bit shy of where we wanted to be, and for us to be facing this now it does put us in a bit of a bind,” he said. "We’re going to need the community to come along side us if we are going to meet those needs that are coming.”

Ellis says they will continue to function the best they can, but will need more food and financial donations.

Those interested in making a donation can do so HERE.

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