Salvation Army changes food pantry operation, but stays open during coronavirus

The non-profit needs donations to continue providing meals to the community

Salvation Army in need of donations to help feeding struggling families

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The coronavirus has brought financial hardships to families across their area, and the Salvation Army is making sure people have food on their tables during this pandemic.

But the organization has had to change how it operates due to the virus and is in desperate need of donations.

If it weren’t for the coronavirus and social distancing, people would be able to just walk into the pantry and pick out what they want. But now, those in need are getting their food in a different way.

“We’ve created a drive-thru service here in our parking lot," said Horry County Salvation Army Captain Carl Melton. "We’ve set it up so that families can pull up in their vehicles and not even have to get out of their vehicles, and you’ll notice the bags that are out, we’ve had volunteers come in and pre-shop for our families.”

Salvation Army workers have spent the last few weeks packing bags of food to hand out to people in the community.

Just last Thursday alone, the Salvation Army had 80 cars come through and served 255 total family members.

While the changes are helping to meet the needs of the community, the increased demand is making it tough for the Salvation Army.

“This March, we had about 150 families who need help in March, so you can imagine a family of two, three, four, five," said Melton. "Just last week started April, and we’ve already served 158 families.”

The “Home or Work order" has required the Salvation Army to close its retail stores, which usually produces a lot of the funding for the food pantry.

“One bag here would cost about $35, and most families of three or four will get about four or five bags," said Melton.

WMBF has teamed up with the Salvation Army for the Carolina Cares drive to raise money that will go directly to the Salvation Army to help feed families. One hundred percent of the donations will stay in your local community

“The Salvation Army is already in a position where they can step in and help, but not by ourselves," said Melton. "We need the community’s help.”

The Salvation Army will be open from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays to help families come pick up bags of food.

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