Captain Tim Scott, Georgetown South Carolina's commanding officer, could not have known when he answered the phone, one week into the COVID-19 crisis, that a portal was about to swing open allowing Salvation Army volunteers and staff to repeatedly respond in the weeks that followed.
“The whole thing began with that phone call,” Captain Scott explains, “from this elderly man who needed food in the worst way. Then he told me that he was blind and could not come to us, so I told him that I would bring the food to him.”
Then the Captain had a better idea. The man attends one of three senior centers in the county, so Captain Scott asked him to contact his center director who then contacted The Salvation Army.
“When she contacted me, we had an automatic opening to serve 90 senior citizens who are members of her three centers.”
The Army in Georgetown is responsible for the two counties of Georgetown and Williamsburg—and the travel time from one end of Georgetown County to the farthest point in Williamsburg County can take up to three hours.
“Plus, the fact that Williamsburg County is ranked as one of the poorest in the country. There’s a lot of abject poverty there.” he says.
Captains Tim, his wife, and their daughter Brie, began making nearly daily runs throughout the two counties, as well as overseeing drive-by distribution at their building.
“I really like loading stuff into the cars as the people drive up for a food box,” Brie says. Brie lives in Georgetown and works in a daycare center, but since it is closed, probably into the month of May, she works alongside her parents.
“That can be a good thing and a bad thing,” she says with a chuckle.
Typical food boxes are crammed with non-perishable items: canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, mac and cheese, bags of trail mix, and peanut butter, for example.
“But we are really scratching for food resources, since our regular pantry now usually runs bare. But one thing is for sure, I will do my very best to make sure no one goes hungry," said Captain Scott.