The Salvation Army of Savannah is in the process of expanding their emergency shelter facilities by setting up overnight accommodation at its Bee Road location in addition to its current Montgomery Street shelter. As other shelters in the area close, The Salvation Army is trying to meet the increased demand, as well as to more successfully practice social distancing amongst its residents in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
“It’s more in preparation for what could be,” said The Salvation Army of Savannah’s Major Paul Egan of the expansion.
“Beginning of last weekend we started to think that we need to be proactive in social distancing. It’s always been an issue that we sure are tight on space here anyway, let alone what dorm living means to viruses and spreading germs in general. Now we have to weigh the comfort of our participants, the safety obviously has to be a big point, but also their mental and emotional well-being. We want to what’s best with all those things considered.”
The Salvation Army of Savannah is currently sheltering nine children and is providing them online learning, as well as emergency shelter and meals for their families. Opening a second shelter is becoming necessary to create a safe place for the residents while the Salvation Army addresses the greatly increasing requests for food, clothing, rent and utilities assistance during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.
Major Egan and the Salvation Army recently held an outdoor church service to give their staff and the people they are sheltering a chance to get outside and reconnect.
“So much of what’s going on right now is to make sure we’re in the right mental state to make it through these times,” said Major Egan. “With the Salvation Army, I’m trained for stress management in critical instances as a disaster worker, but those are usually when the disaster happens — the hurricane comes and goes and then you watch people as they learn their new normal or work their way from dealing with it to accepting it. But, that is so delayed in this instance, for many people, and I’ve prayed that this is just a nervousness for something that doesn’t happen. We’ll prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.”
The Salvation Army of Savannah is launching a new appeal for donations and support for those in need. Those who want to help can call 912-200-3004 or donate at https://salvationarmygeorgia.org/savannah.
Major Egan clarified that the Salvation Army exists to help everyone in need, no matter what their beliefs are.
“My love for Jesus is why I do what I do,” Major Egan explained. “It’s what motivates the Salvation Army. It has nothing to do with who we’ll help. We’re open and ready to help anybody who is in need. I gladly rejoice, and anybody who will listen about my church services I’ll tell about because it is very motivating for me, it’s rewarding, but it has nothing to do with who we’ll help. I have people that we are polar opposites of what we believe, but are happy to work together and help and be helped.”
frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>