Charlottesville Salvation Army hopes to fill vacancies and recruit volunteers as demand continues

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – The Charlottesville Salvation Army has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and food of the homeless in our community during the pandemic. These efforts are not stopping yet, but they join many others in their calls for further help.

The Salvation Army kitchen was where approximately 1,500 meals per week were served, even when meals were only served take-out due to the pandemic. Now the meals are back inside and it even looks a little different – now there are round tables and flowers.

“It just creates a more family atmosphere,” said Major Walter Strong, the Salvation Army’s base officer.

Strong says the demand for fresh meals has not declined significantly.

“The COVID virus has not changed the daily settings for the homeless, for those who are already down, that has not changed,” he said. “And that’s not changing because COVID is ending. “

The Salvation Army still provides three meals a day, but there are some changes.

“Like everyone, we find it very difficult to find people who want to work. We are seriously understaffed in our shelter, ”he said.

This forces the Salvation Army to close between breakfast and 4 p.m. this week. Not only are they looking for staff, but they are hoping for volunteers to return, especially in the kitchen.

“We are trying to recruit our churches,” Strong said. “Our soup kitchen was mostly prepared, in particular the dinner was prepared by volunteers – churches, groups, individuals.”

Some of the volunteers are already back, but The Salvation Army hopes the community can rally with those it serves, especially as they work to get back on their feet.

“A lot of our residents are working, but it’s always an ongoing process, finding work and getting the money to be able to afford apartments and housing in the Charlottesville area,” said Strong.

Major Strong made sure to thank all volunteers, including churches, for letting the Salvation Army “be their hands and their feet” during the pandemic when in-person volunteering was not possible.

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