Salvation Army expanding services during COVID-19 pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash. – As the weeks go by, it may be a little harder to pay bills or get food for people without work during this pandemic, but there is help out there. The Salvation Army is one organization who has seen an uptick in need over the last several weeks.

On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee extended the ‘Stay at Home’ order until May 4. That extension could make it harder for people to get by and the Salvation Army is preparing for an increase in need.

Volunteers with the organization are now constantly stocking shelves and putting together boxes of food to give out to people in need.

Tamara Berger was one who picked up food. She told 4 News Now she lost her job because of the coronavirus.

“It helps us when we’re low on money. I’m jobless, so trying to look for a job and its hard,” she said.

Anything helps right now. The Salvation Army is giving away carts full of nutrition and supplies that could last someone weeks.

“For the food bank, we’ve seen over a 30 percent rise in number in people coming through, it’s pretty significant for us,” said Major Ken Perine with the Salvation Army.

To meet the demand, they decided to open up an extra day to help, now serving Monday through Friday.

“What we’re really encouraging folks is that ‘Please, save your cash and save your money to pay your electric bill and pay your rent, just come to us for food,'” Perine said.

The organization not only gives out food, they help people find housing.

“Our emergency shelter and our Stepping Stone program, the long term shelters are both still open,” Perine said.

Those wanting help for housing just need to apply and be qualified.

Help is out there, even if you don’t think you need it.

“If you’re at home thinking that help should be for somebody else but you’re the person that needs it, pick up the phone and call us or come by and see us. We’d rather help you stay in your home and stay employed and stay safe than have you try to do it all on your own,” Perine said.

If you want to help someone, there are a few ways you can do that. You can donate food, time or money.

For a list of the programs the Salvation Army offers, or how to help them, visit their website here. The organization is also hiring during this time.

The Salvation Army is also taking part in an assistance program with SNAP and the City of Spokane called U-Help. Those wanting to help can donate money and the city and Avista will match that donation. Money donated will help pay for someone’s utility bill. Click here to learn more about that program.

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