The Salvation Army Responds to Unprecedented Need Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 19, 2020 | by Joe Cohen

Communications Manager
(703) 299-5551

Largest provider of poverty relief anticipates need for additional funding in order to meet demand for services


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 19, 2020) – The Salvation Army, the nation’s largest social services organization with more than 7,600 service locations across the country, is increasing efforts to meet human need, no matter the cost. In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organization has evolved service delivery to ensure immediate needs of community members, first responders, and government partners are met. With an expected spike in requests over the coming weeks, months, and potentially years, ongoing public support will be needed to help ensure services are available to existing and new vulnerable populations.

While everyone is being impacted by this coronavirus outbreak, the one in six people living in poverty and the more than 550,000 individuals experiencing homeless will feel the effects more quickly and more deeply.

In the short-term, The Salvation Army is meeting need in communities across the country by ensuring people have access to food, shelter and desperately needed services like childcare through its nationwide network. This includes drive-through food pick-ups, community-based food delivery through canteens, and meals at Salvation Army facilities. The organization is also providing snacks and hydration to first responders.

In the months that follow, The Salvation Army will continue to provide basic needs to the 23 million Americans it already serves, and anticipates it will also serve a new generation of need that is born out of the virus. Anticipated impacts on the economy and workforce will likely force more Americans to seek rental, utility, and other forms of assistance. After the Great Recession, The Salvation Army saw an increase of 10 million requests for service. While the full scope of the pandemic’s economic impact is still unknown, cancelled fundraising events and market volatility elevate the need for public support in order to maintain and grow these efforts.

“Though this is an unprecedented situation for all of us, its impact will be greatest on the least of these,” said Commissioner David Hudson, National Commander of The Salvation Army. “Millions of Americans were already living paycheck to paycheck, and they will likely face incredible challenges from these uncertain times. Across the country, The Salvation Army is committed to serving those who need our help, and we are thankful for generous public support which will allow that to happen.”

To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts in your community, visit


About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps nearly 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood