As the nation marks the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army of Lake County continues to address the longstanding issues of homelessness, poverty, and hunger, which have intensified and become more complex due to COVID-19. As a record number of families face the ongoing threats of “pandemic poverty,” The Salvation Army remains committed to providing a hand up to our vulnerable neighbors most impacted.
People living in poverty felt the initial effects of COVID-19 more quickly and acutely because they experienced a pandemic on top of already-existing epidemics of need. COVID-19 forced a record number of Americans to seek assistance from The Salvation Army. That was certainly true in Lake County, which experienced a fivefold increase in need at the height of the pandemic. The most requested services were food and emergency financial assistance. Because The Salvation Army meets human need on the frontlines, local centers are often the first place that people turn to in a crisis. As such, the organization took intentional steps to meet the needs in Northwest Indiana.
- Served 23,538 meals; delivered 1,151 of those to homes
- Distributed 17,925 bags of groceries
- Provided 4,253 hygiene kits
- Supported 1,441 households with emergency financial assistance
“The Salvation Army was here before and during the pandemic, and we’ll be here long after to continue supporting our neighbors in need,” said Captain Brian Clark, Lake County Coordinator for The Salvation Army. “We are thankful for the generosity of our donors in Lake County, who made it possible to help a greater number of individuals than ever before with food and emergency financial assistance during this difficult time.”
As needs evolved over the course of the year, The Salvation Army reimagined safe ways to meet them, such as expanding food pantry hours, distributing take-home meals from a mobile canteen, and offering hygiene kits.
To ensure service continues, The Salvation Army took the historic step of starting its 2020 holiday fundraising campaign early to ensure struggling Americans had a bright Christmas. Nearly $500,000 was raised locally, which will help power 2021 services, but demand is expected to far outpace resources. As neighbors face threats of eviction and financial loss, the majority of clients are families who live paycheck to paycheck. In response, Salvation Army will remain focused on vulnerable families, and keeping people in their homes through rent and utility assistance.
The Salvation Army will continue to meet the rising tide of pandemic poverty during the current crisis and beyond, but to do so, they are asking for the support of the public. Just $25 a month could be the difference between a family paying their light bill or being left in the dark. To help, visit www.salarmylakecounty.org.