DOVER — The Salvation Army of Delaware knows it is fighting an uphill battle in lending a hand to families and individuals that need it during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, officials for the nonprofit remain optimistic about giving assistance, as it recently launched its “Hope Marches On” campaign.
Leaders for The Salvation Army of Delaware said they will remain steadfast to ensure that the numerous hardworking Delawareans facing eviction are able to stay in their homes during the holiday season.
“With the resurgence of the COVID-19 variants, The Salvation Army of Delaware has seen requests for assistance increase by over 155% since the start of the pandemic,” Maj. Timothy Sheehan, state coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Delaware Command, said in a press release. “We anticipate that to increase further this holiday season.
“With the public’s generosity, The Salvation Army Delaware will continue to provide help and hope to thousands of Delaware individuals and families in need.”
The Salvation Army of Delaware is the state’s largest provider of social services.
However, the organization said it is facing a huge challenge following the resurgence of coronavirus variants earlier this fall, and with many Delaware families facing pandemic poverty more than just the month before Christmas, SA is digging in.
Additionally, with the rising cost of fuel for heating homes and operating vehicles — as well as increases in food prices — the operation is calling on everyone to help families and individuals overcome the threat of eviction.
Roughly 1.2 million Americans say they are very likely to face eviction over the next two months because of nonpayment, SA reported. And with a slow distribution of federal funding, families could be evicted before relief arrives.
The Salvation Army has already distributed more than $200 million in direct financial assistance nationwide to help people remain in their homes in 2021, after receiving more requests for monetary help in the first six months of the year than in all of 2020.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it also has provided more than 225 million meals and $81 million in utility assistance.
Now, the organization estimates that it will need $175 million — nearly 50% more than raised through red kettles in 2020 — to help individuals and families stay in their residences.
“Pandemic poverty is a threat that continues to knock on the door of millions of our neighbors in need,” Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army, said in a statement. “The Salvation Army continues to serve families who had never needed our help before, so we’re asking everyone to help this holiday season.
“With the support of a generous public, we can keep families in their homes and ensure hope marches on during what has been a difficult year.”
Maj. Sheehan added that The Salvation Army faces an increased problem due to the closing of some stores by the economic impact of the pandemic, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic where red kettles are typically placed.
All those factors combine and impact SA’s ability to provide services for the most vulnerable.
Social services organizations like The Salvation Army of Delaware have worked tirelessly to provide help and hope since COVID-19 started, but needs are increasing again this holiday season because of the threat of evictions and the continuing pandemic.
“There is no doubt the need is great again this year,” said Maj. Sheehan. “We have seen unprecedented need for our basic services since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With so many people facing eviction, out of work, or facing other challenging life circumstances from the impacts of the pandemic, we know the holidays will be especially challenging, yet again, for many.”
The Salvation Army of Delaware is offering several options for those wishing to support their neighbors in need:
Delawareans can also direct their support to the community in which they reside: salarmy.us/wilmingtonredkettle for New Castle County; salarmy.us/doverredkettle for Kent County; or salarmy.us/seafordredkettle for Sussex County.
Maj. Sheehan said every donation helps hope march on for those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given.
“That’s why we’re determined to stay on the frontlines and do our part, with community support, to ensure that ‘Hope Marches On’ for those who come to us for assistance,” he said. “We need everyone who can do so to come alongside us to make the holidays a little brighter for those who are facing difficult times.”