Salvation Army recruits new volunteers to respond to increased need
Because of coronavirus, the Salvation Army in Spokane has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of clients, so it has needed to have 40 volunteers a day to serve everyone, said Cassandra Cram, the Salvation Army Family Resource Center program director.
The daughter of Salvation Army officers, Cassandra has worked in Spokane since 2013, overseeing the food bank and the transitional center that are part of the Family Resource Center. Before she came to Spokane, she was a youth worker, a lay leader and then an officer-pastor serving in Montana and Colorado.
"Since COVID-19, I have seen the community come together and be more giving," she said. "Everyone wants to know how to help by donating items, giving time or saying hello."
"Many new clients have never sought help before," she said. "We are giving them more food than before."
Clients line up outside, standing six feet apart and coming alone. They give information at the door and then are given a food box with canned, frozen and fresh food and protein.
In addition, because more seniors are staying home, volunteers recently delivered 72 food boxes to seniors living on their own.
Volunteer coordinator Joshua Schultz screens volunteers for symptoms and provides personal protective equipment and gloves. Volunteers bring their own masks—from bandanas to creative homemade masks.
One of the new volunteers is Albert Rendon.
Furloughed from a used car dealer in Spokane Valley, he began volunteering with The Salvation Army March 8.
"I figured I had time on my hands and could help. The Salvation Army responded first to my offer to volunteer. I do the morning shift from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.," said Albert, who helps move pallets of groceries, stocks the freezer and hands out donations.
He signed up for unemployment and decided he could volunteer while waiting for that.
Albert first came to Spokane in February 2019, from Stockton, Calif., where he worked in car parts until that work in the area dried up and he began living in a hotel and then in his car.
The food donations he works with in the warehouse and packs in boxes for clients come from Second Harvest and Northwest Harvest, from food drives and from the Salvation Army supplies in their warehouse—where they have enough to last two months, Cassandra said.
For information on volunteering, call 325-6810 or visit makingspokanebetter.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May, 2020