Covid-19Magazine Exclusive

Is it Santa Claus?

When you first see the Rev. Russ Chamberlain around New Bedford, Mass., you may mistake him for Santa Claus. While wearing his red Salvation Army jacket and white beard, this jolly volunteer delivers meals to seniors and families in need as well as a deep sense of hope.
Since The Salvation Army started its COVID–19 response efforts in March, many communities like New Bedford have seen an increase in need due to the growing number of people experiencing food insecurity. According to Major Michael Jung, who is the commanding officer of The Salvation Army New Bedford Corps, “Chamberlain has helped distribute hundreds of meals to local residents who can’t make it in person to our corps feeding programs or our food pantry.”

Known in town as “The Rev,” Chamberlain can be seen these days driving around New Bedford with Salvation Army food boxes in the back seat and a prayer list attached to his steering wheel. Every time he stops at a red light, he is empowered to pray for people who need his support.

Ten years ago, Chamberlain began volunteering with The Salvation Army red kettles and food pantry after he had started another community feeding program. Since March, he’s been volunteering every day.

by Heather MacFarlane

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