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Women’s Auxiliary donates 1,000 masks

The Salvation Army’s Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Auxiliary saw its popular Fabric Fair canceled this year by COVID–19, but their spirit of giving continued.

The women donated five cases of cotton fabric and elastics, enough to produce an extra barrier for 1,000 N95 masks for employees of Excela Health’s Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, Pa. The women also made 60 masks for Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Altoona.

“They continue to make masks to be given to corps throughout the division, as well as to our Family Caring Center,” said Major Amy Merchant, the women’s ministries/women’s auxiliary secretary in the Western Pennsylvania Division.

Janice Devine, senior vice president and chief information officer for Excela Health’s Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, Pa., accepts the donation from The Salvation Army.

The auxiliary includes 78 Christian women from the Greater Pittsburgh area. Most are in their 60s.

Merchant said the group’s signature event is the annual Fabric Fair, which would have happened for the 33rd straight year. The fair raises $50,000 and helps provide $3,000 grants to all the corps in Alleghany County. The money is used for scholarships to camps such as Star Lake Musicamp, as well as the Territorial Arts Ministry (TAM) Conservatory, and many other ministries.

Merchant said the women have a “passion to give back and find their avenue through The Salvation Army.” They meet each week at the Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) warehouse in Pittsburgh to sort and box items to be sold at the fair.

Merchant normally shares a devotional and the women take prayer requests and pray.

“The ladies love the ministry of The Salvation Army and truly enjoy visiting the various corps to see the good work being done in Allegheny County,” Merchant said. “They’ve done e-mail prayer chains and really felt a spiritual calling, not only to their own churches, but to help alongside The Salvation Army.”

Under normal circumstances, the auxiliary is involved in many activities, including hosting birthday parties for ARC beneficiaries, organizing and assisting in the Christmas toy programs, grading Bible lessons for inmates, making gifts for shut–ins, operating fund–raisers, and providing fellowship for women with a heart for service.

by Robert Mitchell