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The Salvation Army Steps Up Efforts for Community During Coronavirus

October 26, 2020

When talking to The Salvation Army of Waterloo/Cedar Falls about what they do, they always start by sharing a story of an individual or family they have helped. One constant of these stories is that they provide an element of hope, which is exactly what is needed as communities and people struggle with the impacts of COVID-19.

As the pandemic began, The Salvation Army started to see the community need. It pivoted to providing essential services in different ways, including helping those in poverty with housing issues and other financial assistance areas. It also continued to meet the increasing demand of people seeking meals.

“The number of people utilizing our noon lunch meals program more than doubled during the pandemic. We see individuals who have never needed to ask for a free meal before,” said Captain Shannon Thies, Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Waterloo/Cedar Falls.

In May and June, the organization served over 1,600 noon meals and provided over 1,500 snack bags. It also saw a jump in new requests for crisis assistance, with over 70% of requests from people who had never reached out prior to the pandemic.

Early on, the partners of the Black Hawk County COVID-19 Cooperative Disaster Response Fund saw The Salvation Army was a key nonprofit in serving those disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. A $10,000 grant in March and another $10,000 grant in May helped the organization meet demand.

“The grants helped meet the continuing increase as we looked to how we could best serve our community,” said Captain Thies. “During this difficult time for many residents, it helped us provide not only solutions for people but hope."