Though much of normal society has changed because of the novel coronavirus, the needs of those in Hunt County have not. They continue to grow the more this pandemic spreads and the longer it lasts.
One organization among the many showing love and doing good during this time is the Salvation Army Hunt County Service Center.
Cynthia Ard, service center director, said their center has been responding to an increased need for services, especially food. Ard also said she believes they will continue to do so the longer people go without consistent income during business closures during the pandemic.
Though dangerous for all, this virus particularly targets seniors. Those 60 and above have been encouraged to remain indoors as much as possible to keep them safe from infection. For many, even getting out and going to the grocery store has become an anxious risk-assessment. Ard, and her volunteers at the Salvation Army, are making a concentrated effort to alleviate the burden of these seniors of Hunt County by taking the food to them.
The food boxes, filled with the essentials – canned vegetables, starches, meats, among others – are boxed up and delivered by Salvation Army volunteers to seniors who are not able to get out and shop for these basic needs.
“Senior food boxes,” she calls them, “for our shut-in seniors.”
Ard said that along with the essentials for the body, her volunteers are also helping to meet the spiritual needs of those to whom they deliver food, providing reading materials such as “The War Cry” – a Salvation Army magazine, along with offering to stand and pray with them, encouraging them as they face the days ahead.
In just the few days they have offered this service, volunteers have delivered more than 140 boxes to shut-in seniors of Hunt County.
Speaking of her volunteers, Ard said, “I would be dead in the water without them.”
Betty Moody is one such volunteer. She fills the boxes with food for each family in the Salvation Army pantry so those who are delivering the boxes do not have to worry about grabbing and sorting the items – it’s all boxed up and ready by the time they need it.
She started volunteering for the Salvation Army nearly a year ago, previously having volunteered with numerous other Hunt County organizations. She had taken time off from volunteering in this way to care for and support her late husband, Leland, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
After Leland’s death in March 2017, Betty soon returned to serving and volunteering to help those in need, because that’s what Betty loves to do.
“I found that after Leland’s death, I felt like at this time in my life, I needed to get out and serve,” she said.
Betty, along with the other volunteers, continues to serve as long as the Salvation Army’s doors are open. Ard said they plan to keep open as long as they are needed, and will close only if the pandemic gets worse and the government orders all business and charities to close and hunker down until the virus wanes.
During this time of uncertainty, Ard said fear is only natural – and understandable – for those who depend on others for food.
“What if we were in that position,” she said. “How desperate would we feel?”
The increase in need from the community requires more from the Salvation Army, which is why Ard said they need financial and prayer support during this unprecedented time.
On top of supporting the Salvation Army financially and prayerfully, Ard said one way to love your neighbor during this time is simply, “if you know you have a senior in your neighborhood, you can stop by, ring the doorbell, and tell them ‘hey, I’m going to the grocery store, do you need anything?’”
For those wishing to support financially, they can do so online at www.salarmy.us/covid, by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), or through the mail at P.O. Box 956, Greenville, TX, 75403.