The Salvation Army of Wake County has serviced the citizens of Wake County since 1887. Now in its 134th year of existence, we continue to remain at the forefront in providing assistance to those in need.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was a tough year. Even through the midst of it all, The Salvation Army of Wake County was still able to provide much needed services. A lot of that was because of the commitment of the people of Wake County, who care about others in their community and provided for the needs of those people through TSA Wake County. And for that, we are grateful.
2020 began as any other year began, coming off a successful Christmas from the previous year in which close to 8,000 children received gifts and toys for Christmas. Majors Al and Teresa Newsome began their second year (they began in June 2019) and began to really implement their vision for TSA Wake County.
In March, COVID-19 had an affect on The Salvation Army of Wake County like it had on everyone else. For the safety of our clients, TSA Wake County moved the residents out of the facility into a local hotel. Our board was instrumental in this move, helping to raise the funds to make this happen. We also received help from companies and the community. For the safety of everyone, we had to go into protective mode and limit the public from entering the building to help mitigate the spread of the virus, but that did not stop us from servicing the community. Our Food Pantry program continued to provide bags of food twice a week. In years past around this time, our food pantry would be low. This year, the community really stepped forward to the point where our shelves have been more than stocked since March. The pantry also benefits our soup line where we saw a significant increase in need. We had to pivot from serving people a meal inside to providing them a meal to go.
When North Carolina governor Roy Cooper instituted the initial stay-at-home order, TSA Wake County staff modified their schedules, coming in a few days a week, but never stopped serving. While the Family Stores were closed momentarily, we continued to receive donations from the public. As a matter of fact we never stopped receiving donations. When the Family Stores reopened in May, because of the donations we had received, there were more than enough items to sale at both stores.
The Corps also had to close its doors to in-person services, but made its services available online.
Despite the pandemic, The Salvation Army of Wake County Red Shield Club was able to successfully hold summer day camp for 12 weeks. There were about 42 campers registered in the program and plenty of social distancing measures were in place. There were plenty of safe activities for the campers to participate in.
Project CATCH was still able to serve the community through its back pack giveaway. The community stepped up in a big way to provide the much needed school supplies. Speaking of school supplies, in September, the John Wall Family Foundation once again provided school supplies to children. The 10-year NBA veteran was once again on hand, this time waving to children and families as they drove by. Volunteers and TSA Wake County Red Shield Club staff put school supplies in the trunks of the cars of the families.
And of course there was Christmas. The Salvation Army went into its "Rescue Christmas" mode as we began generating awareness in September that donations to the Red Kettles may be down this year. The kettles were indeed down, but all of our angels were adopted this year, which was a true blessing. Christmas distribution was definitely different this year, drive-thru style and went very smooth and was extremely efficient.
The year ended on a bitter-sweet note. Majors Newsome moved to Georgia where Major Al became the first African-American divisional commander in the South for TSA Georgia Division. Major Teresa is director of women’s ministries for Georgia.
These are just a few examples of 2020 for The Salvation Army of Wake County. As we continue to service the citizens of Wake County in 2021, please remember you are a huge part of this effort. Thank you to our donors, businesses, supporters, and the community at large for all you do. As Major Al has said numerous times the community continues to step forward.
Please continue to make your monetary donation and your donation of food and clothing to the Center of Hope, 1863 Capital Blvd., Raleigh. Also consider volunteering your time as The Salvation Army of Wake County is always in need of volunteers.
We will continue to pray for your safety and be in prayer for those affected by COVID-19.
We hope you have a blessed and safe 2021 and we look forward to continue working with you.