Salvation Army seeks help as they come to the aid of people affected by the pandemic
Published 12:39 am Wednesday, April 15, 2020
ORANGE, Texas— With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing rapidly in communities throughout the state, The Salvation Army of Orange 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 signifantly as this situation plays out,” Captain Frankie Zuniga of The Salvation Army Orange. “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 Orange County this includes providing food through our Emergency Food Pantry. Our Food Pantry operates Monday thru Thursday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., located at 1950 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Orange TX 77630.
Due to CDC recommendation and safety procedures, all food bags will be prebagged during this time. Those receiving a bag will receive basic items such as canned vegetables, rice, soups, and other items found through the South East Texas Food Bank. We are thankful for the Stark Foundation and their generous support in helping us keep food on our shelves!
We are also working through the ability to provide financial assistance for those needing help with rent and utility assistance. But, at this moment it is dependent upon funds and donations to be available for these services. We ask that those seeking assistance first call (409) 291-8400 or contact us by filling out a request on our webpage www.salvationarmyorange.org as we work to limit face to face contact and gatherings.
The extra need is daunting, particularly due to the extremely contaminous 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,” said Captain Jan Zuniga of The Salvation Army of Orange County. “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 moreso now than anytime 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,” Captain Frankie Zuniga 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.
We are facing a significant loss of opearational income through the temporary closing of our family storey so those donations now are key to keeping our doors open. We are very thankful for those who are partnering alongside us with donations as simply as $10 to significant gifts given from individuals such as Ross & Eva Smith who once again have agreed to make sure we have the sources to serve the people of Orange County.”
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. In Orange Coutny, we make it a priority to work hand and hand with the County Emergency Office, The United Way of Orange County, and other community partners to provide for the needs of those we see on a daily basis. In cooperation with the CDC, the State, and County Declaration, we have had to temporarily shut down the following programs:
Salvation Army Family Store
414 Donnell Street
Orange TX 77630
For health and saftey concerns, our donation center at the Salvation Army Family Store has suspended accepting donations. As we learn more daily about COVID and it’s ability to stay upon items, it is best for the safety of our staff and community not to accept those items.
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Orange
For health and safety concerns, we have suspended operations of our daily afterschool program. Please know that while our families and children are not gathering daily at our building, our staff is working hard to continually be a support for our children’s physical and emotional needs during this time of uncertainty.
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, please visit give.salvationarmytexas.org.
THE ARMY NEEDS YOU, BUT NOT AS A VOLUNTEER AT THE MOMENT
Other ways to help are available to all who are interested
The Salvation Army has an established year-round volunteer program and will continue to utilize individuals who have been trained and vetted. Unfortunately, the organization is unable to accept spontaneous volunteers now due to lack of personnel to help sufficiently train individuals during this time of heightened need.
“We are working to continue as many services to the community as possible during this unprecedented time,” said Captain Frankie Zuniga. “Many people have asked how they can help us right now. Our biggest practical need is for non-perishable food and hygiene products. Please call 409-291-8400 to arrange a drop-off time.”
Financial donations are the best way to support the ongoing work of The Salvation Army. Individuals can donate online at give.salvationarmytexas.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by mailing a check to 1950 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Orange TX 77630.”
“I want to say thank you to our community for their prayers and generous support,” said Captain Jan Zuniga. “Although this is an uncertain time for everyone, know that The Salvation Army is here and will continue to help those in need whatever the coming days bring.”