Seeing new faces
Captain Charles Adams said New Haven, Conn., had become “quite a hotspot” for COVID–19 during May.
“We have quite a few cases here, which is keeping people inside,” Adams said. “A lot of the people who we normally serve are people from senior high–rises and a halfway house. We lost a lot of those people who had been coming to us for services, but our numbers have actually gone up because there are a ton of new families that have come looking for help.”
“Many of the people coming in had never needed assistance from The Salvation Army before. Unfortunately, with the COVID–19 crisis, there are more people coming through our doors.”
Adams said the corps has also delivered food to members of the congregation to create a sense of “community and connection.”
During one trip, Lieutenant Anyanette Castrodad, the assistant corps officer, recognized a woman who had been coming to women’s ministry activities prior to COVID–19. Her two children had been active in the corps. The single mother needed help but was too proud to ask.
“We were able to connect her with food boxes and get her through,” Adams said. “She was super grateful. We try to go once a week and drop off food and everything.”
Meanwhile, the woman’s apartment didn’t have Wi–Fi. She was able to connect with a neighbor, who allowed her two school–aged children to “borrow” an internet connection and do their homework.
The corps has used the internet to stay connected during COVID–19. The Sunday worship service is prerecorded and shared on Facebook, while Zoom has been used for Bible studies and children’s Sunday school.
“It has drawn a lot of our congregation members together and we’ve been able to connect in ways that we probably haven’t had before,” Adams said.
In March, just as the pandemic hit, the corps received a donation of 400 snack–sized granola bars and an equal number of apple sauce containers and boxes of Cheerios. Thanks to a partnership between Southern Connecticut State University and MATTER, a Minnesota–based global health nonprofit, The Salvation Army was able to make 200 snack boxes for families in need.
“Receiving snack boxes from MATTER has provided comfort and is a welcomed addition to the food we are distributing,” Adams said. “The snacks have provided a familiar comfort during an uncertain time, especially for children who are at home and looking for snacks.”
by Robert Mitchell and Laura Krueger