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Salvation Army ‘doing most good’ in different way

The Salvation Army Suffolk Corps has had to make adjustments to its operations during the coronavirus pandemic, but it vows to continue “doing the most good in a different way.”

“We did have to adjust very quickly, just because the situation seems to be changing every single day,” said Suffolk Corps Capt. Shauntrice Anthony. “But our goal was to not close our doors completely. We have adopted a saying, for this time, of open door, open hearts. Even though we can’t have people in the building the way that we normally would, our goal was to still offer some type of service just because this is a time that people need us.

“And unfortunately, the clientele we serve, they’re the most vulnerable at this time, and so we want to make sure that we’re not completely cutting off services to those who really need us during this time.”

Anthony said its office is staffed from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., answering phones and seeing clients by appointment. They’re using the glass window as a method of social distancing while still being able to provide the services their clients need.

It is also offering its food pantry on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, though all community center activities and corps programs have been canceled.

It has also partnered with local churches and restaurants to provide a meal drive-through service on Tuesdays and Thursdays at its Bank Street location. They began Thursday with a trial drive-through, serving 75 hot meals from Holland’s Market. El Korita Restaurante and Boogie’s Soul Food will sponsor the drive-through meals beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday of next week, respectively, while supplies last.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army also provided 25 families with canned food, a spiral ham and a Blessing Bag. The Blessing Bags contain a coloring book, crayons, activity sheets and bubbles, as well as family worship plan outlines for two weeks and family devotionals for four weeks.

She said the Salvation Army would also livestream a worship service Sundays at 10:30 a.m. via its Facebook page, something the Suffolk Corps had not done before.

Anthony said it is trying to help everyone where they are during the pandemic. They are putting words of encouragement on every meal, and they ask anyone with prayer requests to email them.

“We are still offering spiritual and emotional care for everyone who needs it,” Anthony said.

Anthony said the demand for its services is growing and is asking for donations, which can be given at give.virginiasalvationarmy.org/covid19. She said people have been appreciative of what it is doing, and the Salvation Army will continue to support the needs of the community.

“We’re still doing what we normally do to the best of our ability,” Anthony said, “just in a different way.”