GENEVA — The Salvation Army, 41 North St., has ramped up efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations. The Salvation Army is taking unprecedented measures to make sure it stays open and continues to serve those in need.

The organization is changing the way it serves the hungry at its food programs. The Food Pantry program in Geneva is open 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. If necessary, call the office for an after-hours appointment. The Salvation Army’s Food Distribution program operates from noon to 2 p.m. or when the food runs out on Mondays and Thursdays. People can start picking up food when they arrive.

A limited number of people are allowed in the building at a time and they will be asked to use hand sanitizer and wear gloves. If you are sick or are experiencing symptoms of the virus, send someone else to pick up the food for you.

Major Ivan Rock, the Commander of the Empire State Division, says The Salvation Army will continue to do everything possible to provide for those in need. “People have turned to The Salvation Army in times of crisis for 155 years,” he said. “To face this challenge, we are going to need help from the community. The best way you can help is by providing a monetary gift that will help us keep our facilities sanitized, put food on people’s tables, and restore hope.”

The Salvation Army has increased cleaning throughout the day at its Geneva facility. Since there are only two full-time employees, Capts. Luis and Nydia Martinez, a contingency plan is being worked out to support the continuity of services, and more volunteers are needed.

Captain Nydia explained why financial donations are the best way to help The Salvation Army get the needed supplies. “Every kind of donation is appreciated and it’s heart-warming to see our neighbors trying to help each other,” she said. “In this situation, donating food items could put others at risk if a donor has been exposed and doesn’t know it yet. Donating money allows us to safely buy the specific items we need or restock the things we are short on. Some people that come to us for help need more than food, especially with so many people being sent home from work and businesses shutting down.”

The organization is expecting a spike in emergency assistance, like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food assistance, for low-wage workers who may be temporarily laid off because of the impact the virus is having on some businesses. Capt. Nydia says The Salvation Army also needs additional resources, like rubber gloves, surgical masks, additional cleaning supplies and volunteers. The Salvation Army says that, despite homeless people being more isolated, they also tend to have chronic medical issues and severely lack access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources, and care.

Contact the Captains for specific ways you can help serve those in need by emailing emp.geneva@use.salvationarmy.org or calling (315) 789-1055. Monetary donations may be made at http://bit.ly/tsageneva.https://www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyGeneva/

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