Last summer, while our community and nation where in the earliest stages of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, we were grappling with how to deliver our Christmas assistance program to the thousands of people in Charlotte devasted by faltering economy. We were considering how we would meet the suspected increase in need. Would the community step up? Would it be hard for those we serve to access the help they need? What about volunteers, a resource we heavily rely on every year?
We began consulting with our partners from Atrium Health, who were busy themselves meeting the healthcare challenges of the pandemic. The expert team from Atrium provided months of ever-changing guidance for conducting our public interactions safely in the face of COVID-19. But, that’s not all. Atrium staff filled wish lists for hundreds of children in our community, along with providing gift cards for low-income seniors.
When the time came to distribute gifts to families, Atrium employees filled scores of volunteer slots and provided personal protective equipment (PPE) for our staff and community volunteers, and supplied tents for the newly instituted drive-through process.
“This partnership has been a lifeline for me over the past 5 years but even more so this past year in the face of the pandemic,” said Beth Butchino, Christmas program manager for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte.
Atrium’s efforts were critical in 2020, as many corporations were unable to provide volunteers or support the Angel Tree program as in years past, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In a year full of challenges, the moral support and feedback the Atrium team provided helped The Salvation Army make it to the finish line. Thanks in large part to Atrium, we were able to safely serve more than 8,000 children in need this past Christmas.
“It is amazing to me that with even with Atrium being the frontline workers fighting this virus on a daily basis, they would take the time and effort to help us make our program successful,” added Butchino.
“They are great servants to this community in more ways than one and a greatly appreciated supporter
of our program and mission.”