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Salvation Army provides dinners

The Salvation Army is doing what it can to help its community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Salvation Army provides a drive-through meal distribution in front of their location at 400 Bank St.

“We started this at the end of March,” said Capt. Angel Simmons, a corps officer. “We wanted to do this to help with COVID relief. So many people have kids at home, have lost their jobs, or been furloughed. We want to help them through this season.”

These dinners are provided with help from the city and donations. The Economic Development Department provides the first 60, and the rest of the 150 meals are from donations. These meals are bought from local Suffolk restaurants by a partnership with the Love Local, Buy Suffolk initiative.

The distribution starts at 3 p.m. and runs until supplies last. It is not uncommon for the team to give out the last meal within 10 minutes of starting.

“It is a pretty quick process,” said Simmons. “We have great volunteers who come out every week to do this.”

One of the regular volunteers is Chris Anthony. Anthony can be found on the front lines handing out plates of food to the cars that pull up.

“I started volunteering two years ago because my fiancée works here,” said Anthony. “Now, I come out every week to do this, and I really enjoy it.”

Wendy Ali has been on staff with The Salvation Army for six and a half years. Ali can be found at the table counting cars and keeping track of the meals given out.

“I really enjoy working here and being able to help people,” said Ali.

Simmons and her husband, Lt. Shawn Simmons, were placed at the Suffolk Salvation Army at the end of June.

“It is a good program we have here,” said Lt. Shawn Simmons. “Since we’ve been here, it is great to see how this works and meet the community. We love it, and everyone is very wholesome.”

Lt. Simmons went on to say that he enjoys the chance to meet members of the community through this dinner give away. The Salvation Army returned to in-person Sunday worship services recently, but many members are still not comfortable coming due to the virus. This outreach gives an opportunity to still keep in touch.

“We love being able to see the community come together to help,” said Capt. Simmons.

In previous drive-throughs, The Salvation Army was able to give out donated toilet paper, incontinence briefs and other goods to those in need. To donate, call the office at 539-5201 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.