Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the effect it has had on public gatherings, the Salvation Army in Branson has had to get creative in order to continue providing their food pantry services to the community.
Normally, food pantry participants would park their vehicles and go inside the lower level of the Salvation Army building on Stanley Avenue to pick up their food. But for the food pantry event on March 25, Capt. Linda McCormick said that they had to adopt a new curbside front door service in order to continue providing this weekly event.
“We would have volunteers that would bring out the clipboards, get their ID and information, take that back into the building,” said McCormick. “While they’re doing that the indoor volunteers are filling the bags for the size of family they’re working with. As soon as they were done with all the information, they took that and their bag of food back out to the car and on their way they went.”
The Branson Salvation Army offers a food pantry to qualifying area residents every Wednesday. McCormick said, at this time, there are no plans to add an extra day.
“If this goes on longer than normal, we may have to open another day, but with CAM (Christian Action Ministries) being the regular food bank, (recipients) always have to go there first before they come to us anyways,” said McCormick . “So we would chat with CAM about what they think needs to happen as far as for the food distribution, because we like to cooperate and coordinate with them, as well.”
During Wednesday’s 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. curbside food pantry, volunteers assisted a total of 60 families, which McCormick said was a lot more than what they typically serve.
“Everybody, as far as our clientele that were coming through, were very patient and kind, because they knew it was going to be different,” McCormick said. “Of course, our staff is always very kind when they’re dealing with our clients. It was just smooth as silk. We didn’t have any hiccups at all.”
McCormick said the curbside program would not have operated as smoothly if it hadn’t been for the volunteers who made it possible.
“I want to thank our volunteers that come in every week and help do this and that they were willing to be flexible and go outside the box on some of their duties,” said McCormick. “It’s so nice to see them work together as a body of Christ and do the best we can for our community.”
While the Salvation Army has the ability to purchase food from the Ozarks Food Harvest for 18 cents a pound, McCormick said that in times like these, they will take all the monetary and food donations they can get.
“Our food truck, thank God, came in yesterday from the Ozarks Food Harvest,” said McCormick. “That’s where we get our fresh meats, eggs, and a lot of our peanut butter and basic staples that we put in our bags. This is going to hit our pantry hard. We just need people to remember that we still need donations of food and money to be able to sustain the food in the food pantry if this lock-down goes longer than anybody expects.”
Anyone who would like to make a monetary donation can mail a check to PO BOX 1715 Branson Missouri 65615. Canned food items and dry good donations can be dropped off at the Branson Salvation Army office at 1114 Stanley Ave. in Branson.