Need increases

Salvation Army offers drive-through food pantry in response to social-distancing requirements, reports uptick in those seeking help

Need increasesBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

With schools and non-essential businesses closed for the foreseeable future as a result of health and safety directives, The Salvation Army has reported an uptick in the community’s reliance on its services.

“We have especially seen an increase in people needing help with food,” said Salvation Army Major Evadne Wright. “Part of it is due to kids being at home, but also because people are out of work.”

“We have had to change the way we distribute our food assistance.” said Wright.

“We are no longer able to interview clients inside the building, so we have made everything drive-thru/walk-up. We are keeping within the set guidelines so that we keep everybody safe while we continue offering help to the community.”

Residents can pick up non-perishable boxed and canned food on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. “But it really is only a supplement,” said Makowski.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 11:45 a.m., the Salvation Army offers produce and baked goods donated from local grocery stores while supplies last.

“People can come every day if they need to,” said Makowski. “We just require a first name and how many people are in the home.”

She added that if people need diapers, hygiene products, assistance with utility bills or anything else, they can call the center at (760) 375-7219 to discuss what they need.

“We’re trying to help in any way we can,” said Wakoswki.

But the temporary closure of the Salvation Army thrift store has seriously impacted the center’s financial situation said Wright. The Salvation Army has had to cancel it’s summer camps and programs and has moved it’s Sunday worship service to an online format.

In regards to how the community can help support the Salvation Army’s efforts, Wright said that “monetary donations are best at the moment.”

“This allows us to buy what we need – all funds stay in the community,” she said. “But we also do need non-perishable food items.”

Donors should call ahead to arrange dropping off items. Monetary donations can be mailed to PO Box 189, Ridgecrest, Calif. 93556, or submitted online through givebigkern.org/organizations/the-salvation-army-ridgecrest-corps.

Sierra Sands Unified School District continues to offer grab-and-go meals (lunch and breakfast for the next day) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pierce, Faller, Inyokern and Monroe school sites. Food is given to any children present in the vehicle.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church offers its “All Souls Food Pantry” the third Tuesday of each month from 9-11 a.m. This coming Tuesday, April 21, is the next time they will be open.

Pictured: Cars line up on Wednesday to receive goods from Salvation Army’s food pantry. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2020-04-17