Blessings and Perseverance with Seniors Amid COVID-19
Coined “Baskets of Blessings,” baskets filled with gloves, masks, sanitizer, a Bible study book, and chocolates were delivered to the homes of seniors and members of The Salvation Army Shreveport Corps’ Women’s Ministry. Distributing the baskets was the Army’s way of staying in touch with church members and reassuring them that they are cared for and loved while also practicing social distancing.
Virginia Fernandez-Schalewski, a member of the women’s ministry for over ten years, appreciates the basket of goods and says it helps her to feel more protected while running errands.
“I would like to thank The Salvation Army for the gloves, face mask, and candy. I carry the sanitizer with me everywhere I go,” shared Fernandez-Schalewski.
Retired Salvation Army officer, Major Patricia Johnson, was also one of the women who received a “basket of blessings” and was grateful for the added resources to her and her family.
“I appreciate the gifts and The Salvation Army for thinking of me. You can’t always find these things when you need them, so I’m grateful for the tissues and hand sanitizer,” Major Johnson stated.
“I enjoy the Army’s programs. I was raised in the Army. My parents were very active at the Corps. I plan to join the Shreveport Corps in assisting the Boys and Girls Club once the pandemic is more under control,” Major Johnson added.
Major Johnson and Lieutenant Tamarique Ellis know each other from previous appointments in Atlanta. Major Johnson offered advice to Lieutenant Ellis early in her career as a Salvation Army officer. Nearly 20 years later, they live in Shreveport, Louisiana, and are still involved with the Army.
“Time is one circle. It comes back around. Major Johnson blessed me as a young soldier in Atlanta, and now we’re both in Shreveport and keep in touch,” Lieutenant Ellis shared.
“I just love my Army and want to give back, despite my losses and time of mourning.”
Although the Army is continuing to serve members of its community during the coronavirus pandemic, the past few months of self-isolation have been hard for some and even harder for others. Patsy Wallace, a member of the Shreveport Corps’ senior’s ministry, lost both of her daughters during self-isolation due to ongoing health issues and the coronavirus. Through all of this, she has still kept the Army in mind and has donated what she can to assist the Shreveport Corps. She regularly visits the Corps for the senior’s ministry and weekly meals, which has only been offered drive-thru style since the start of COVID-19. Due to the loss of her daughters, Wallace has been unable to travel, so Lieutenants Ellis brought lunch, flowers, a handmade vase, and a handmade necklace designed by the Ellis’ children to Ms. Wallace at her home. While receiving her gifts, Wallace offered a gift of her own to the Army.
“Ms. Patsy has given us a financial donation from her heart. In all her suffering, she says she has meant to bless us. Her love and care for others and the ministry in her time of bereavement is so wonderful. Ms. Patsy is a blessing to the Army. The Lord is with her,” Lieutenant Ellis stated.
Wallace has been a member of The Salvation Army Women’s Ministry for over 20 years and also participates in the senior’s ministry. She goes above and beyond for the Army. Just last December, she took the initiative to volunteer to help organize Angel Tree and tended the tables throughout the fundraiser’s duration.
“I just love my Army and want to give back, despite my losses and time of mourning,” Patsy Wallace shared.
Lieutenant Ellis says members of the senior’s ministry keep in touch with one another via phone calls. The Corps checks in with Wallace and other seniors weekly to see how they are doing, whether it be a phone call or driving by their homes to wave and chat from a safe distance.
“We are a family. We see that family spirit in our corps, from mothers taking care of kids, to the senior’s ministry checking in on each other through coronavirus. It’s beautiful,” Lieutenant Ellis shared.
“Seniors would come and sit and encourage each other daily before the pandemic, so we are staying in touch with them to let them know that we are thinking of them and praying for them. They are praying for us as well. We like to encourage seniors and remind them that they have a presence and a place in this world. If society takes time to lift both of our vulnerable populations, the children and the seniors, we can learn so much from them,” added Lieutenant Ellis.