The COVID-19 pandemic dominates headlines as it continues to spread rapidly to corners of the world. It has stripped vulnerable communities of vital resources, such as medical personnel and hygiene supplies, further weakening their defense system against its contagion. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to support those at risk all around the world. We must join together to foster a healthier future for all.

The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) recognizes the international impact of COVID-19 and introduces a globally minded strategy. Their COVID-19 relief work spans across 131 countries, offering comprehensive support to the communities who need it the most. From feeding 1,200 homeless people in South Africa to supplying 12,000 families with hand-washing materials in Mali, local Salvation Army community centers are on the front line of the pandemic with programs that make a positive impact. SAWSO provides vital funding and technical support to help those hit the hardest by this pandemic. Their COVID-19 response embodies a global focus that gives the world hope during this uncertain time.

West Africa 

In Liberia, the Salvation Army’s COVID-19 relief strategy focuses on mass communication. Information is the key to protecting the health of the public and it’s imperative to stay up to date on all news surrounding COVID-19 prevention. Through the William Booth Clinic, the local Salvation Army center prints information leaflets, posters and banners to educate the people of Liberia on the importance of practicing safe hygiene and social distancing. In addition to education, they have supplied hygiene supplies to over 2,500 people in Montserrado and Margibi. This includes buckets, soaps and sanitizers.

Hygiene education is the key to fighting the COVID-19 crisis in Mali. Utilizing the power of advertising, the Salvation Army in Mali rented five hoardings to raise awareness on COVID-19 and provide critical health tips to the public. These displays are projected to reach over 100,000 people, gifting them the knowledge they need to stay safe. In addition, they are providing direct hygiene education to 12,000 families in Mali. Their education strategy focuses on the importance of handwashing and the local Salvation Army team supplies handwashing materials to put their knowledge to work.

South Africa
COVID-19 has skyrocketed in South Africa, amassing the most confirmed cases on the continent. While the country experiences a national lockdown, the Salvation Army’s emergency relief team works tirelessly to feed the 1,200 homeless in the Pretoria region. The team fulfills the roles of 24/7 camp managers for three camps where they provide two nutritious meals every day to those in need. Meals are incredibly healthy, featuring fresh bread, fruit, meat, vegetables and rice. Before every meal, staff presents information on COVID-19 prevention measures and explains the importance of proper hygiene practices.

South America

People in Argentina hold supplies from The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO).

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina, the local Salvation Army’s social assistance programs continue to uplift families in need while ensuring optimal health conditions for all participants. They’re taking every necessary precaution to prioritize the safety of their staff, families, and other service users. This initiative is led by the local Salvation Army Corps’ Captain David and Lieutenant Alicia Acosta, and it focuses on the Rosario neighborhood of Santa Fe.

The goals of this operation are to provide vital nourishment to the people of Santa Fe and foster a sense of community during quarantine. The young people in Rosario have collected nonperishable food to distribute to families in need, strengthening SAWO’s support network.

Facebook Live has proven to be a useful tool during international lockdown, digitally hosting all of the Salvation Army’s women’s meetings and Sunday worship services. This keeps the community connected without putting their health at risk. Tools like this help us all realize that, even though we are isolated, we’re all in this together.

SAWSO workers holding supplies in Uruguay.

In Uruguay, the local Salvation Army center partnered with Burger King to expand their support network for vulnerable families and individuals in the community. Through this partnership, families in the Patule area received crucial food parcels. In the Salto region, these food parcels are supplemented with a package of essentials, including diapers, bleach and cleaning supplies. This partnership helps the people of Uruguay maintain social distancing to combat COVID-19.

South Asia

People provide hand sanitizer and information in India.

Amidst a widespread stay-at-home order, the Salvation Army distributes critical food parcels, clean water and hygiene essentials to the people of New Delhi, India. Their COVID-19 relief action plan embraces all people impacted by the virus, including medical workers, emergency services personnel, hospital patients, police and the homeless. In the Safdarjung hospital, a single food distribution sustained a total of 500 patients and staff. To strengthen their support for the entire New Delhi community, India’s local Salvation Army center is developing a plan to deliver food parcels to quarantined households.

Based in the India Northern Territorial Headquarters, the Salvation Army’s women’s ministry is distributing hand sanitizer to promote proper hygiene practices, which can effectively prevent the spread of harmful diseases like COVID-19.

Sri Lanka
Amidst an anxiety-inducing global health pandemic, SAWSO understands that clear communication and comprehensive support from leaders is critical. Colonel Suresh Pawar, the leader of The Salvation Army in Sri Lanka, addressed islanders through a Facebook video to ease the worries of the public, raise awareness on COVID-19 prevention and outline the Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response.

“Know that God is in control and [that] he will be with us,” said Colonel Suresh Pawar.

In Sri Lanka, the Salvation Army provides essential hand-washing education and promotes social distancing measures to strengthen the nation’s defense system against COVID-19. The local Salvation Army also feeds and cares for the homeless, providing approximately 300,000 portions of dry food to those in need.

South Pacific & East Asia

South Korea
In Korea, the Salvation Army’s main priority is the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene products to vulnerable communities. In Gyeongbuk and Daegu, 18,500 masks and almost 6,000 bottles of hand sanitizer were distributed throughout the community. These resources will help at-risk Koreans protect themselves from this contagious pandemic. Additionally, the Salvation Army has provided vital sustenance to the communities in Namdaemun and Donui-dong, supplying 800 lunch boxes to families in need.

A man holds a jug of hand sanitizer.

SAWSO is an asset for the people of Australia, where the COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly across the entire continent. Amidst the pandemic, the local Salvation Army centers have adapted their essential services to prioritize the safety of their staff while providing fully comprehensive emergency relief to vulnerable Australians.

Local hotels have collaborated with the Salvation Army to provide safe lodging for those in need, and their food distribution programs continue to support the community with take-out options. Run by Wyndham City Corps, Café Agape partnered with Second Bite to produce and distribute nutritious care packages throughout Victoria. Each care package includes nourishing staples, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. A similar project is underway in Hobsons Bay, where a Salvation Army outreach team delivers meals to people who rely on the Salvation Army’s soup van. To emphasize unity in isolation, local Salvation Army centers have also produced “We Care” packs for the entire community. These packages highlight the sentiment that we’re all in this together.

Support the vulnerable, all around the world  
COVID-19 is a global issue that calls for a united response. During these uncertain times, we must use our resources to help the vulnerable and protect the brave health workers on the front lines. SAWSO is among the many Charity Alliance partners committed to helping the communities who need it the most during the pandemic.

Learn more about the inspiring COVID-19 relief work of our charity partners on our #GivingTuesdayNow blog post.