For more than two weeks, The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula has been answering diverse needs in their community in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have served roughly 5,000 meals, distributed hundreds of food boxes, and provided shelter for close to 150 individuals.
While many individuals and families around the country were able to access food and supplies before self-quarantining in their homes, those who are experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable. They can no longer access life-saving programs and services that have shut down. The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula hit the streets of Newport News to provide meals and emotional support to those hungry and hurting. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city shut down shelters and day programs servicing seniors and the homeless. The canteen also serves in downtown Hampton and outside a senior high rise apartment building.
“We are the only program in Hampton and Newport News serving these individuals, and our staff and volunteers have jumped in to get the meals prepared and out to those in need,” said Captain Michael Good with The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula. Volunteers have provided 132 hours of service over the past two weeks. “We are all doing whatever it takes. The human resources person is scrubbing dishes in our kitchen. The staff accountant is unloading trucks. Housekeeping staff and social services manager are on the canteen,” said Captain Good.
In addition to the hot meals off the canteen, which one senior in a wheelchair said, “will surely make us gain weight with all the tasty food,” the Corps has distributed about 200 grocery boxes.
The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula continues to serve and hopes that the community support will come through with donations of food and funds to keep it going.