EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — The coronavirus crisis is driving the need for food assistance across the country, even right in Union County.
The Salvation Army is seeing a rise in its clientele during these uncertain times. Most of those in need of help are those who never though they would need assistance.
“Just in the first three weeks of November alone 46 percent of the clients that we’ve seen are first time clients. They’ve never had to rely on social services of any kind before,” Captain Jason Perdieu said.
One of the greatest needs right now is for food. With so many people who are unemployed or have been furloughed, the Salvation Army tries to keep their shelves stocked.
“We know that that need is going to continue to rise with this next wave that’s coming through. So, we’re doing everything we can to be proactive and educate our clients,” Captain Perdieu said.
There’s also a food pantry running out St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in El Dorado.
Revered Robert Wetherington says they had to purchase more food for the pantry to keep up with the demand in the community.
But providing residents with groceries isn’t the only need non-profits like the Salvation Army are trying to fill.
“Last year we had in our angel tree program 340 some children this year we’re up to 600 children,” Captain Perdieu said. “Help is to ensure that no child wakes up without a toys, clothes or without something.”
Currently, the Salvation Army has around 80 who are without a sponsor for the the angel tree program. The non-profit is also looking for volunteers for its red kettle program.
If you need assistance or would like to volunteer with the Salvation Army you can call their front office at 870-863-4830.
The food pantry at St. Mary’s will be open next Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. The food items are only given to those in need, particularly those who come with a referral form the Department of Human Services or from a partnering congregation suggesting they are a family in need of food.