Here’s a look at how The Salvation Army has been working to support people affected by coronavirus in the past month, and how it has adapted in response to the pandemic.
The provision of food and hot meals continues to be a focus in many countries. Job losses, difficulty working and restricted travel all mean that large parts of the community are in need of this support.
As face masks and coverings have become an important way to reduce transmission of the virus – in some cases becoming mandatory – The Salvation Army has recognised the difficulties that some experience getting hold of this equipment. In Australia, the Taiwanese community in Melbourne has donated 10,000 reusable face masks to the Army for distribution to vulnerable people in the city. The partnership has meant that those who have struggled to afford masks, such as people who are homeless, now have them – and that single-use versions are less likely to be worn more than once.
In Burundi, The Salvation Army has been working with the country’s Ministry of Health and police service to educate the public on the virus and promote good health practices, with the aim of slowing transmission of COVID-19 in the community. The campaign was broadcast on national television.
The sharing of knowledge has also been a focus in Pakistan, where a variety of activities to raise awareness were arranged during Men’s Health Week.
Many Salvation Army centres have been adapting their usual working practices in order to make them safer during the pandemic. In Indonesia, funds from donors have enabled digital thermometers to be purchased. This is one of several changes that allow activities and programmes to continue.
Elsewhere, various programmes continue to be held online. Many places are now holding weekly worship this way, with Bible studies and social events also being run through social media and video conferencing software.
Programmes for young people are also being organised. Lots of holiday camps, though cancelled this year, have evolved to a virtual setting. Morning Discovery is an online Salvation Army children’s ministry show containing games and devotional content, published every week during the summer in the USA.
Other ways to spread cheer are being found by The Salvation Army too. In partnership with bakery company Donut Worry Be Happy, donuts were given out in the Netherlands to mark the reopening of many community centres. More than 36,000 treats were shared with volunteers, supporters and service users!
Please keep praying for people and communities affected by coronavirus and for those working to help and support them.