TEMPLE, TX — With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing rapidly in communities throughout the state, The Salvation Army of Temple has significantly amplified its efforts to diminish the spread of the virus and ensure critical service, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
Requests for service have risen and a further spike is expected in the next few weeks and months. While services remain in place for the most vulnerable citizens, such as the homeless and others living near the poverty level, many people who have been able to pay their way prior to this outbreak may now face extreme difficulties due to mandated business closings.
Countless residents now have no income and are in need of financial assistance. “We are already seeing the effects and expect that to grow significantly as this situation plays out,” said Lt. Aaron Millin of The Salvation Army. “So many people living with extremely tight budgets aren’t able to skip just one paycheck, much less weeks or months without pay. They are turning to us for help.”
The Salvation Army provides service to individuals and families in every zip code in the state and is working diligently to ensure people have access to food, shelter, and desperately needed services like housing and utility assistance.
In Temple, this includes a food pantry in Temple and Killeen with curbside delivery, rent and utility assistance, rehousing assistance, and men, women, and family shelter that’s continuing to house those who are homeless.
In addition, inside The Salvation Army’s residential facilities, additional cleaning efforts are in place to help curtail the spread of the virus. Proper use of sanitation supplies are part of every location’s infectious-disease protocol.
If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/quarantine areas have been established, additional healthcare will be needed, and staff needs will increase. “All of these extra measures have a price tag attached,” said Millin.
The extra need is daunting, particularly due to the extremely contagious nature of the virus, which has caused the postponement or cancellation of numerous Salvation Army fundraising events, many that had been scheduled for the spring.
“There is a concern that the effect of this unprecedented event could be felt for years,” Millin said. “We want to be here to provide basic needs to those we already serve and to have plenty for the new generation of need caused by this virus.” Public support is essential, maybe more so now than at any time in recent history.
“If those able are willing to help those who are in need, our state and nation will likely rise out of this devastating situation more quickly with fewer residual effects on the men, women and children suffering right now,” Millin said. “The Salvation Army is committed to serving those who need our help, and we are thankful for generous public support that allows us to do so. We don’t want to turn anyone in need away, and the only way we can accomplish this is through generous public support.”
Donations also will help ensure the safety of those who depend on Salvation Army programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers. The organization is working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, please visit their website.