During the coronavirus pandemic, The Salvation Army in Bannock County wants people to know it is here to help more than ever.
The local Salvation Army is putting energy into providing food for those in need, but through different means that better suit current conditions.
People in need previously picked up food boxes at The Salvation Army’s Pocatello building, but the church is now delivering food boxes to them, as social distancing is being recommended to stop the spread of COVID-19.
There were around 20 food boxes delivered Monday, according to Lt. Ernie Evans, who runs Salvation Army’s Pocatello outpost with his wife Lt. Sara Evans. Deliveries will continue every Monday and Wednesday until the coronavirus outbreak subsides, Evans said.
The Pocatello outpost of the church and charitable organization is continuing to serve meals through Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. For precautionary reasons, the food is being handed out in to-go containers from an outdoor trailer at the back of Salvation Army’s Pocatello facility, which is at 400 N. Fourth Ave.
Evans said Idaho’s shelter-in-place order made on Wednesday does not change anything for The Salvation Army, with the continuation of the same services.
“We are still doing everything that we were already doing. We kind of set it up in place knowing this was coming,” Evans said. “The writing was on the wall. Washington, Oregon, California had already done it.”
Evans said people who are part of an at-risk population can request that the lunches be delivered to their homes.
The church is also doing what it calls The Doughnut Dash, targeted toward children who are stuck at home with the closure of all public schools in Idaho until at least April 20.
The plan for The Doughnut Dash is to give kids goody boxes that could include treats, toys and activity worksheets that allow them to earn badges through Salvation Army Adventure Corps, which Evans said is like the Boy and Girl Scouts.
“It kind of gives them something extra to do, knowing they’re kind of cooped up and bored,” said Evans, who added that the goody boxes will be given out Thursday morning and could be given out at another date if need be.
He said Bannock County residents may make requests for services such as lunch or food box delivery, or simply to solicit prayers, by calling (208) 232-5318, extension 102.
State your name, phone number, street address and number of household members on a voicemail when placing a food box delivery request. Evans said to accommodate as many people as possible, he discourages one household from making multiple requests over a short time period.
The Salvation Army in Pocatello started expanding its services and installing safety measures in light of the coronavirus outbreak on March 16 and looks to continue to better serve the area.
For example, Evans said The Salvation Army’s Pocatello outpost will be prepared to be a place to quarantine coronavirus patients if that is needed.
“I have seen the impact Salvation Army can have by being a hands-and-feet style ministry and being a reassuring voice,” Evans said. “These are things that The Salvation Army has planned for, we’re uniquely equipped for this.”
If someone wants to help The Salvation Army’s cause, they can contact the church through the Pocatello outpost’s Facebook page, make monetary donations through its local website or bring goods to its Gate City facility.