IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19, LOCAL SALVATION ARMY HELPS MOST VULNERABLE

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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- As COVID-19 continues, The Salvation Army of the Midlands is helping the most vulnerable.

It's a new Sunday tradition that feeds thousands in our community who need it most.

Over several hours, they deliver a box of essentials to church members of the Salvation Army.

"We have packed enough food to last for one week," said Major Benita.

Last Sunday alone, they delivered over 900 spiritual care packages.

Every Sunday, Salvation Army of the Midlands Area Commanders, Majors Benita Morris and Henry Morris, along with a couple of volunteers hit the streets of Columbia.

"These people are people who truly, truly, truly are in need of these things," said Major Benita. "The majority of them are not planning on feeding breakfast or lunch because those kids get those meals in school."

Inside the packages, you'll find a little bit of everything.

"Hot pockets, sausage biscuits, taco wraps, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, Ramen noodles...Pop Tarts, potato chips, Cheeze-It's, cookies, soda, bottled water," said Major Benita. "It's a little bit of everything."

"We were also able to put paper towels, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, all those kids of things in the box as well," added Major Henry. "Because schools are closed, a lot of the teachers are not using the supplies they had like the sanitizers and disinfectant. So they bring them to us."

As many struggle to feed their loved ones, the Salvation Army is making sure no one goes without basic meals, supplies - and even the Internet.

"We reached out to a few of our kids who didn't have internet at home. So we helped them by trying to get them connected with Internet," said Major Henry. "We're also trying to help mothers that are not used to doing homework get through this time with their kids so their kids can continue to soar even in the midst of this virus."

"There's a lot of grandmothers and great-grandmothers who are raising the kids," said Major Benita. "The great-grandmother who is raising her grandkids, when we go on Sundays to drop off the box she almost falls to the floor, she's in tears. She's like, 'It's just like Christmas all over again'."

Other boxes go to children participating in Leveraging Literacy, the Salvation Army's afterschool reading program. Inside are books donated by USC's Cocky's Reading Express program, school supplies and toys to keep children learning.

"We're all in this together," said Major Henry. "As long as we work together, we can get through this."

Help from the Salvation Army isn't just for their church members. Their food pantry located at 3024 Farrow Road is open to everyone seven days a week.

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