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Salvation Army delivers groceries to Bainbridge families in need

The Salvation Army has always been known for their generosity and desire to help others in need; this uncertain time during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be no different, as they are providing meal deliveries to elderly, shut-ins and those in need.

Salvation Army Director Merreann McDonald said they began the meal deliveries approximately three to four weeks ago after several people reached out who didn’t have the means to get out of their home. McDonald said some of the people they deliver to are grandparents keeping their grandchildren, who can’t risk going to the store and leaving the children at home, disabled adults and elderly couples.

When Salvation Army is contacted, they then begin assembling a premade grocery box. The box size is dependent on the family. There is one size for a family of 1-3 people and a different size for a family of 4-6 and 6 or more.

They purchase the products from Second Harvest and include approximately $60 worth of items that should last a family seven days or more.

Boxes contain some form of protein, a frozen meat- this week’s item was chicken, a block of cheese, fresh fruit (this week’s fruits were apples and oranges), a variety of canned goods, rice and a loaf of bread. In order to fund these meal boxes, McDonald reached out to her local board members and pastors.

Salvation Army’s retail stores across the state have closed their doors. These retail stores usually fund their ministry services. However, this time the community stepped up. They began a “text 10” campaign. Each board member texted 10 people, asking them to donate a dollar or some change the next time they were in the grocery store to their local Salvation Army.

Since that campaign began, McDonald said they have assisted 155 families and provided food for 364 people.

“This is for those people who need to be served,” McDonald said. “We want to keep them well.”

In order to keep them well, McDonald and her volunteer makes sure they call the individual ahead of time to let them know they are about to drop off the box so no contact is made, but the food doesn’t sit out on the porch for long.

In addition to this ministry, Salvation Army has added more days for food pickup that happens throughout the year.

Prior to the virus, individuals in need could come to the Salvation during the two days offered and pick up food supplies. The supplies would last 90 days and upon the last day, individuals would qualify for more.

McDonald has now begun offering a drive-thru pickup line Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- noon and has lifted the 90 barrier for people who say they have a need.

“We trust that people are being genuine and have a real need for this food,” she said.

During this time, McDonald has also noticed the undue stress the shut-ins have been under. Because of this, she has started a care ministry. She is asking all shut-ins if they are okay to be contacted by someone who just wants to provide them emotional support during this time.

McDonald said she has been overwhelmed with the positive responses she has gotten at the idea of someone calling to check in, and it warms her heart to know Salvation Army can provide for them on both a psychical and emotional level.

McDonald is asking if others in the community know of someone who needs their services to contact her at 229-243-7250, so she can add their name to the list.