Salvation Army getting back to a “new normal”

Most senior volunteers set to return

When Covid hit, it wasn’t just people and businesses that were hurt, local organizations that served and supported these people also had to go through some rough times. The Salvation Army in Houston is one such organization that went through an upheaval and are now all set to get back to the “new normal”.

The organization saw a major shift in numbers with an increase in the demand and supply in the peak months of Covid restrictions, but lower number of volunteers to take on the increased workload.

“During Covid when the restrictions were as tight as you can imagine, we actually had advised our volunteers to stay at home for their own safety. A lot of our volunteers are with some pre-existing health issues or are of a specific age so we just wanted to make sure that we were doing our part to keep them safe,” said Adam Marshall, the community services director for the Salvation Army in Bulkley Valley.

“It was tough because we were doing two to three times the work for a third of the manpower.”

The Salvation Army workforce is however slowly getting back to a new routine and Marshall said that things could still change and they were ready to serve the community any way it needed.

“We are currently doing Tuesday to Saturday 11 to three. Our family service is still operating as much as it can and we are not quite there but I want to get there,” he said adding that a lot of volunteers have been wanting to come back and they would be scheduled on to their regular shifts.

During Covid, the demand for the food bank and services by the Salvation Army, skyrocketed. Marshall said that they had double or triple the number of families that needed to be serviced. “But now those numbers have started to go down and go back to normal,” he said.

The Salvation Army had also started doing school hampers every second week for Silverthorne Elementary School. However, now that the schools are out for summer, those hampers have stopped as well.

“We are still doing the regular hampers but for the school hampers we are just waiting until September for that, once the schools go back,” said Marshall adding that they are just making sure they are prepared in case the school students need that support when the school is back in session.

“We are going to do as much as we can once we know what the need is. We are basically going to wait until later in August or early September so that we can talk with the schools and plan on how to effectively serve the community.”

The Salvation Army of Houston has so far managed their funds well and have had the community’s generosity to thank for, according to Marshall.

“I don’t see there being a huge fall back in the long term but at the same time, we did probably spend a considerable amount than usual. So it is just a matter of making sure we are not over-exhausting our resources,” he said pointing out that he would always welcome any assistance.

“I will never turn down assistance but we just want to make sure that we are always being good stewards to the donations we receive.”

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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