The Salvation Army of the MS Gulf Coast is serving meals throughout the community as well as preparing food packages for local seniors.
Majors Anita and Bradley Caldwell, Salvation Army Area Commanders, took surveys earlier this week—checking with families throughout the community to get an estimate of how much food they had at home.
“We began Sunday as a trial to see what the turnout would be and if we could properly practice social distancing while distributing food. It went well. Most families only had an average of three to five days worth of food at home,” said Major Bradley Caldwell.
The Army has been able to serve over 100 meals a day to the Gulf Coast community and is delivering meals to senior individuals who aren’t able to procure food from the Kroc Center as they normally would. Social distancing is being taken into account during food deliveries, with staff knocking on the door, leaving meals in a visible place, and moving away from the door to wait and ensure that individuals receive their meal.
“Two women stopped by and took 30 grocery packages back to their senior residents. They were very thankful, and it was a blessing that they were aware of their resident’s needs,” stated Major Anita Caldwell.
“One resident even told one of the women that the hotdogs she received in her grocery package were the best hot dogs she’s had in a long time,” Major Anita Caldwell added.
Pascagoula, Lucedale, and Gulfport Salvation Army locations are providing food packages by appointment, and the Biloxi Kroc Center is providing prepared meals. Though the Army is currently focusing on seniors within the community, officers suspect other demographics will need help as the effects of COVID-19 are more prevalent in their area.
“We know several people who have said they have one more week of pay. When that money is gone, they won’t have resources to provide food for themselves. When that time comes, we’re not sure how we’ll be called upon to make a difference,” stated Major Bradley Caldwell. “We’re working to do what we can as we’re being asked to help by local government officials. We’re limiting our focus to seniors in the neighborhood for now because we don’t know what responsibilities we may have to take on in the coming days,” he added.
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