The Salvation Army of Shreveport has wrapped up its twice a week feedings to the VA nurses and staff on the 6th-floor of Overton Brooks VA Medical Center. These nurses were working 16-hour shifts, taking care of isolated VA patients, and were required to take lunch breaks at the hospital due to COVID-19. The Shreveport Corps has been delivering meals to Overton Brooks VA nurses since April 1st.
“It sure does feel wonderful to be thought of!”
“First and foremost, I thank you all for thinking of us during this pandemic. It sure does feel wonderful to be thought of! The lunches came as a complete surprise and were handy for those of us who had forgotten our lunches, and for those of us who needed a snack throughout our shift. All in all, I am grateful that The Salvation Army took the time to put these lunches together for us. Together we are better. This is a great example of our community sticking together during this time. Again, I say thank you so very much to The Salvation Army,” shared Janice Strange, Overton Brooks VA Medical Center RN.
“The nurses on 6-West would like to thank each and every one of you for the lunch bags. Many of us could not leave the unit due to the patients. You have shown what true generosity is. With many out of work and relying on human kindness, you are the tops. Thank you again for all you have done for us, ” shared Kathleen Mickle, another Overton Brooks RN, on behalf of the 6-West nursing staff.
The Shreveport Corps has also been supplying meals to seniors and children throughout the area. Seniors come to the corps daily to receive meals and families can visit the Boys and Girls Club each Saturday to receive a weekend meal supply to keep kids full until Monday when schools are able to prep daily weekday meals for students. Officers and staff also distribute weekend meals to children in two low-income communities in the Shreveport area.
“The Salvation Army has not wavered in our commitment to meeting the needs that arise in Shreveport. Starting out, I knew that there would be other groups and people willing to feed, but there would come a time when these groups would be exhausted or had to close. I wanted to make sure that The Salvation Army remained in place to be able to continue our services,” stated Shreveport Corps Officer Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis.
Salvation Army locations throughout Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi recently celebrated National Salvation Army Week with their own spin on things. This year was a bit limited in celebration due to COVID-19 and social distancing, but they found ways to celebrate with Salvation Army supporters and donors via social media. The Salvation Army of Dothan had a busy week of their own. The corps received a proclamation from Mayor Mark Saliba, announcing the beginning of National Salvation Army Week, and board members delivered goodie bags to the mayor, county commissioners, donors, and local media.
The Army also partnered with Love In Action International Ministries to deliver meals, water, and paper fans to those in need throughout the Dothan community. Salvation Army Advisory Board members and Roy Fisher, Corps Administrator, contacted Love In Action to assist with one of their weekly meal deliveries. The Army helped pack meals for the homeless with the organization, packed the canteen, and headed into the community to serve water and fans to the homeless. The Salvation Army and Love In Action were able to provide food and comfort to over 150 people during that lunch hour.
“We were trying to figure out what to do for National Salvation Army Week, especially during COVID-19. Just being able to talk to the people in the community, the homeless especially, we just felt like we needed to do it. Being able to talk and pray with them was amazing. It was really rewarding to be out there working with Love In Action,” Fisher shared.
Love In Action and The Salvation Army are making canteen handouts a monthly event.
The Dothan Corps wanted to end the week with a revival, but couldn’t because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We did what we could to keep social distancing while getting the word out there that we’re here for our community. I’m excited about this partnership with Love In Action. We have the same purpose, which is to take care of God’s children and God’s kingdom. It’s about being together when we’re doing it,” Fisher added.
The Salvation Army Kroc Center of the Mississippi Gulf Coast began a meal delivery ministry for seniors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are unable to gather food themselves, whether it’s due to a physical disability, illness, or lack of a vehicle. Hence, officers and staff administer meals and offer encouragement to seniors throughout the Gulf Coast area. It’s a beautiful experience for the seniors as well as the ministry team. Some have even come to know one another on a first-name basis.
“Many of the seniors offer us words of encouragement as well. They say, ‘We thank God for what you do. We appreciate you,’ and that inspires us to continue serving our seniors. We need to be there for our vulnerable adults,” stated Lieutenant Sonya Smith.
“Our ministry team has a huge heart for seniors. We wanted to find a way not only to feed them spiritually as well,” Lieutenant Smith added.
“People are connecting more than ever over kind words, letters in the mail, and in my case, a meal.”
The weather was terrible on the coast one day, but it didn’t stop the meal delivery ministry because they knew there were seniors out there waiting for their doorbells to ring.
“I asked God to find a way for us to deliver the meals safely, and what do you know, it stopped raining right around lunchtime. There was not a drop,” Lieutenant Smith stated.
The ministry has recently started delivering meals to a woman who is in dialysis. Lieutenant Smith is aware of the woman’s treatment schedule, so she tries arriving when she knows the woman will be home and settled. One day Lieutenant Smith arrived at the same time as the bus that transports the woman to and from her appointments. Lieutenant Smith waited for her to get settled. When she rang the doorbell, she was greeted with a “Come in sweetie.”
“When I rang the doorbell, and she said that, it felt like whatever I was going through was just lifted. It was so sweet. She was sitting there, waiting on her lunch. I’d had a rough morning, but I knew I needed to push on because someone was out there waiting on a meal. This is why we do what we do. There may be issues with the economy, there’s a virus spreading, and people are dying, but God is still good,” Lieutenant Smith shared.
“I went back to my car and just sat there and was filled with joy. I asked God to forgive me for complaining in a moment just because I was having a rough morning. This woman is going through dialysis and is one of the most vulnerable, yet still giving God glory. It’s the little things,” added Lieutenant Smith.
“Many spiritual exchanges are happening, and people are missing it because we’re focused on this pandemic. People are connecting more than ever over kind words, letters in the mail, and in my case, a meal. It was an exchange between one generation to the next,” stated Lieutenant Smith.
“We’re looking for these huge blessings during this pandemic, and God is telling us to look at the small things. He is allowing this pandemic to bring us together in compassion. I had a spiritual exchange with this woman that she doesn’t even know she’s given me. I gave her a meal, and she gave me gratitude. That exchange reminded me of why we do what we do. I put my mask on, and I go out there, and I’m going to be a blessing. I never think about someone else being a blessing to me. I’m thankful for that. Those are the things I hold on to,” Lieutenant Smith added.
Meals are delivered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to seniors throughout the Biloxi community. Services will continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact the Biloxi Kroc Center to sign up for meal deliveries.
Treshone Collor, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans, recently secured permanent housing for 12 families—having a total of 39 children between them—while she was fighting her own battle with the coronavirus.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army New Orleans Area Command has been doing its part to make sure all residents and staff are safe and secure. Staff members continue their day-to-day operations, making sure vulnerable populations receive meals and finding homes for families. Working in a state with the most rapid spread of the virus has been challenging, but The Salvation Army’s dedicated staff continue doing their part to serve the New Orleans community.
Collor found out she was COVID-19 positive on April 9th, while already working from home in self-isolation due to the Louisiana Stay at Home order.
“I took my multivitamins, took medicine, continued doing anything that I regularly do, but went to get tested to be sure. I wasn’t showing symptoms when I tested but started developing flu symptoms as time went on. I had a fever, back pains, migraines, and restless sleep. It was challenging and scary,” Collor shared.
Collor has a son with sickle cell anemia. “I’ve been in mommy mode to keep his immune system up. Making sure he didn’t contract the virus was my biggest concern,” she added.
Despite dealing with her health, Collor was still concerned about the 12 families who needed a permanent home.
“My goal was to get those residents out of the shelter. I knew they were there and had limited access to things because of social distancing. We had 39 children at the shelter, so I knew it could become a trying situation. I had to keep moving,” Collor stated.
Collor succeeded in getting all of the families out of the shelter and into permanent housing. She also housed eight additional families who lived in other shelters throughout New Orleans who received services from the Army.
It’s easy to spiral into fear, but Collor stays motivated by reassuring herself that success will continue despite this pandemic. “People keep telling me I was born to work in social services, and I tell them I’ll take note of that,” said Collor.
“I am amazed at the dedication Treshone Collor has shown during the COVID-19 outbreak. She was forced to self-quarantine early after the Stay at Home order took place here in New Orleans. Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done,” said New Orleans Area Commander, Major Ernest Hull, about Collor’s dedication to serving others.
“My faith and positive mindset helped me to keep going. Providing services for those who need help was a drive for me to continue even though I was dealing with a personal illness. I still wanted to help. I still wanted to be dedicated to the individuals here. There were many days when I couldn’t do anything but stay in bed and rest. Those were trying days. This whole process has been trying and very memorable. I think I’ll carry on this conversation for many years to come,” Collor added.