Salvation Army: Your Neighbor Needs You

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Salvation Army staff and volunteers preparing and serving to-go lunches, Green Bay, WI, Thursday, April 16, 2020 (Courtesy: The Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay)

GREEN BAY (WCWF) -- As the Stay at Home order remains in effect, the need for hot meals and grocery items continues to grow. Working with our communities to help those economically impacted by the national COVID-19 crisis, WLUK-TV, the Salvation Army and Sinclair Broadcast Group have come together with the relief fund, FOX 11 "Sinclair Cares- Your Neighbor Needs You." While funds raised so far have exceeded $500,000, Sinclair is matching the first $100,000 in donations.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army continues to lend a helping hand during this time of great need. One continued effort is the noon lunch program, taking place at the Green Bay location from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Major Matt O'Neil with the Green Bay Area Salvation Army says the organization has been busy supplying hot meals during the Stay at Home order. Over doubling the meals served, they have been cautious to not run out by having a reserve to back up the meals.

Since the crisis, the organization has seen a rise in daily meals served- averaging over 100 more than usual. The food pantry service has also seen an increase, adding about 25 families a week. Looking to help people stay safer at home, not only has the Salvation Army doubled the amount of pantry bags they hand out- but the amount of supplies in them as well. This curb-side service is available weekdays from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

To ensure product availability and social-distancing guidelines, call-ahead appointments are required for both services.

Unable to plan ahead or know how long this will last, Major O'Neil says just like the rest of the world- we don't know what to expect on a day-to-day basis.

"When the need ramps up in the community, a lot of people turn to the Salvation Army. You know we're here and we're geared up and ready to go."

As the need continues, so does the need for donations. Major O'Neil says with people continuing to donate and show support the Salvation Army monetarily, they're able to meet the current need as long as the Stay at Home order is in effect.

Currently looking to avoid hand-to-hand contact with donation drop-offs, O'Neil suggests another way to donate. The Salvation Army has a registry through Walmart, called the "Registry for Good." This way, people can shop right form home and those items will get boxed up at the Walmart distribution site and sent directly to the food pantry.

They of course are also accepting monetary donations through their website, you can mail in a restaurant or grocery store gift cards to their Green Bay location at 626 Union Court, and right now- you can donate to the Salvation Army, FOX 11 "Sinclair Cares: Your Neighbor Needs You" campaign. The money raised here- stays here, so by donating to the campaign, you can truly help your neighbors and fellow community members.

Major O'Neil says he is thankful for everyone for giving during this need.

"... it takes a community to serve a community, and Green Bay is stepping up to the plate..."

With upcoming events being canceled nationwide- that includes food drives. O'Neil says normally at this time, the Green Bay Area Salvation Army is gearing up for its two big food drives that help stock their shelves for the entire year. Already, the Salvation Army has depreciated their stock and have been purchasing all of the food for the meals they serve. Seeking to restock pantry shelves for after the COVID-19 crisis passes, the need for donations continues.

Major O'Neil says, "Just thinking about us in the future will help, helping to donate after the fact, just knowing that we're still here- still weathering the storm."

The Green Bay Area Salvation Army continuously accepts monetary donations on their website, and ask the community to stay tuned for upcoming food drives following the current isolation period.