Fayetteville, Arkansas (May 1, 2020) Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army is adapting service delivery methods for its food ministries for the Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers Salvation Army locations. Currently, The Salvation Army is using donated fresh produce and other perishable items to make food boxes available to the public via a “Drive-Thru Service.” This method allows for social distancing and a larger food supply box per household, to safely meet growing local need.
Captain Josh Robinett, Northwest Arkansas Area Commander for The Salvation Army, states, “I don’t consider our feeding efforts above and beyond, just different. We know there is a growing need and we are doing our best to meet the need within the very different circumstances COVID-19 brought upon all of us. If we can fill in the gap, then it is our duty and mission to do so. We are committed to serving to the very best of our ability.”
Each week, more and more people are lining up at all three locations. Since March 16th, there has been a critical increase in food distribution in the locations with over 2,842 food boxes given out to the public. In addition to food boxes, The Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army has assisted over 5,844 individuals through a meal, emergency assistance, and shelter needs. Over a hundred individuals have received emotional and spiritual care.
Before the COVID-19, food distribution for needy families occurred through the Client Choice Food Pantry as well as at The Salvation Army Family Stores. Specifically, the Family Stores received pallets of fresh produce and allowed customers to take what they needed, much like a Farmer’s Market. With Family Stores closed, a change of service was required, therefore the “Drive-Thru Service” was initiated.
The Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army’s ministry of food boxes, utility assistance, and other critical services are not new services to the community. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the way the services are being delivered is constantly adapting during a time when the need for those services is growing exponentially. Social service resources for rent and utility assistance are now handled by telephone or appointment to allow for social distancing and protection of both the clients and employees. Providing for the increase in food distribution through the new “Drive-Thru Service” is also allowing for a safer environment for the public and Salvation Army staff.
To support The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas’ efforts online, please go to give.salvationarmyaok.org/COVID-19.
Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to COVID-19.About The Salvation Army