Salvation Army-Shawnee shelter adjusting to stay-home rule
As most of the community has been under a shelter-at-home directive for weeks now, those without homes must rely on resources offered by local nonprofits.
Among essential services, Salvation Army-Shawnee's shelter has remained in operation 24 hours a day since mid-March to provide a safe place for that particularly vulnerable population to take refuge.
Shawnee Salvation Army Capt. Stacey Connelly said, though things seem to change daily, the organization is adjusting its operations to include recommended precautions due to the threat of spreading COVID-19.
The nonprofit is complying with the CDC’s interim guidance, she said, so the shelter's capacity has been reduced.
“We currently have a capacity for 12 men and six women with two family rooms,” she said. “We currently have 26 in shelter.”
Community meals are still being provided each evening at 6 p.m. in to-go fashion, she said.
“We have asked our community meal volunteers to stand down to reduce the traffic in and out of the facility,” she added.
Connelly said all the Salvation Army-Shawnee services are still being provided — except vouchers to its Family Store, which offers clothing and household items.
“These are provided by appointment so we can control the flow of traffic in and out of our office,” she said. “Doing this provides a safe environment for our employees and ensuring our ability to appropriately sanitize between each appointment.”
Meals are another regular service the salvation Army offers.
“We are providing food boxes and utility assistance,” she said. “For those who walk up to receive a food box and do not have transportation, we have been placing their food in backpacks to make hauling it back home much easier.”
Another service that's been affected is the Boys and Girls Club.
“The club suspended its operations on March 13 out of an abundance of caution,” she said.
The club is providing to go meals to children through a partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Connelly explained.
“In addition to the food, each child has received a bag of school supplies — scissors, ruler, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, coloring sheets and either crayons or markers,” she said.
The school supplies were provided by The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.
Those meals are available for pick up from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Connelly said.
The child care facility may be back in operation soon, as well.
“We have preliminary approval to reopen to serve 40 children of essential workers,” she said.
Priority will be given to first responders, medical professionals, hospital and nursing care facility employees, she said.
Services have not just been offered at the site.
Connelly said the nonprofit also provided goodie bags to SSM Health St. Anthony-Shawnee hospital for the frontline workers, which included handwritten cards for encouragement.
Salvation Army-Shawnee service between March 16 and April 12:
• 618 nights of shelter
• 2,284 meals served
• 2,660 beverages served
• 29 food boxes given