NORFOLK, Va. — The mission of the Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command is to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Established in Hampton Roads in 1905, the nonprofit has been assisting those in need through a variety of services, including feeding programs as well as rent and utility assistance.
As COVID-19 evolved into a pandemic, The Salvation Army’s efforts ramped up dramatically.
“We see more and more people every day,” said Major James Allison, Area Commander of The Salvation Army. “And we're doing our best to provide them with food on a daily basis.”
Major Allison said the organization adjusted its daily operations during the coronavirus, including going virtual with the services it normally provides.
“If you need rent assistance or utilities, you gotta find a way to get that,” Allison said. “By us going virtual, that gives the client the opportunity to get that and still remain safe.”
The nonprofit also moved to a drive-thru food pantry, and its Kroc Center Hampton Roads partnered with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore as well as Mercy Chefs, Inc. to deliver more than 2,000 meals to seniors.
But there’s been a massive spike in requests for help, inventory is low, and demand is expected to jump even more in the weeks ahead.
“Once we went drive-thru, our food pantry demand is up a hundred and twenty-one percent,” Allison explained. “We're able to meet this demand today, but don't know about tomorrow.”
The Salvation Army is asking for help to continue assisting those who depend on its services and programs.
“‘Do I pay my rent, do I eat?' 'Do I pay my rent, or do I buy my medicine?' Those are hard decisions that people are having to make today," Allison said. “And what I know about Hampton Roads is that when the need is great, the people become greater... We need the community to surround us and rally around us more than ever in order for us to be there on their behalf."
As the crisis continues, Major Allison said The Salvation Army will be here, finding alternatives and solutions to keep helping neighbors in need.
“We've not ever walked away from a need, or in this case, a battle,” Allison said. “We're just calling upon the folks of this community to support us and make it possible for us to continue to do what everyone expects us to do, because that's what we want to do.”
For more information about The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command, visit its local website or check out its Facebook page.
More than 200 other local nonprofits need your support as part of the Give Local 757 initiative to spark and grow local philanthropy. By donating, you’ll help them continue to help the community recover from this crisis.
RELATED: GIVE LOCAL 757: Avalon Center