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Salvation Army offers curbside pickup

If your favorite community restaurant offers curbside pickup during the COVID-19 outbreak, so why not The Salvation Army?

That’s exactly what’s happening at the Harrisburg, Pa., Capital City Region Citadel.

“We have a by-appointment food drive-thru,” explained Kathy Anderson-Martin, the Citadel’s resource development director.

Here’s how the system works: People call the Citadel and make an appointment for curbside pickup between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Volunteers then pack a food box for each order, which provides enough for two weeks and includes a mix of fresh and pre-packaged items.

The Citadel schedules pickup for three households every 10 minutes and social distancing is practiced during every exchange.

“The folks are not permitted to get out of their car,” Anderson-Martin said. “There is no personal contact, whatsoever. We fill the food order, we wheel it out, and we have a staging area with two tables under tents. People are not permitted to get out of their car until we put the order on the table and then walk away from the area. It’s extremely efficient and managed.”

The Citadel distributed 14,666 meals the first week of the pandemic and 32,655 meals the second week—far more than normal.

“We would do 4,000 in a typical week,” Anderson-Martin said. “We’re trying to provide a lot more generosity than we typically would for a food pantry order. This lessens as much as possible the need for people to be out and about.”

The Citadel’s personnel also gave out 247 Bibles in just one week.

Martin-Anderson said the entire operation is being run by eight on-site people besides herself and includes Jenny Gallagher-Blom, Major John Griner, Meghan Zook, Julie Reese, Brian Yeich, Jennifer Fails, and Yolanda Haywood-Gross.

by Robert Mitchell