17 March 2020

Portland, ME. (March 16, 2020) - With the novel coronavirus now declared a pandemic, The Salvation Army has significantly increased its preparation for an impending outbreak in the United States and has ramped up efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

Ensuring the safety of those who depend on The Salvation Army’s programs and services, along with the safety of staff and volunteers, is of utmost priority. We are working with health officials at the local, state and federal levels.

All Salvation Army offices in the Northern New England Division (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) will remain open for emergency services by appointment although some programs such as youth and senior will be closed temporarily in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and state officials.

In Portland, the location of local services and programs as well as the Divisional Headquarters for Northern New England, the following actions have been taken:

  • Enhanced cleaning including disinfecting all hard surfaces in heavily trafficked areas such as door handles and elevator controls.
  • Hand sanitizer throughout the building, particularly at the entrances and exits.
  • Employees who exhibit signs of sickness asked to stay home.
  • No senior or youth programs conducted for at least two weeks.
  • All employees, volunteers and program participants encouraged to wash hands frequently.

With one in six people living in poverty and more than 550,000 people counted as homeless in the United States, a disproportionate number of Americans impacted by this outbreak possibly will be lower-income or experiencing homelessness, severely lacking access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources and care.

Our residential homeless shelters in Concord and Laconia, New Hampshire are working closely with state public health officials. Flyers regarding hygiene and prevention guidance are posted throughout the shelters. In addition, daily disinfecting surfaces, furniture, door handles and floors.

Several industries are at risk of financial hardship, such as travel and hospitality. We anticipate a significant increase in emergency assistance for low-wage employees who may be temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus.  It is likely that the provision of food will take the form of “to go” meals instead of congregate meals.

Increase demands for emergency assistance will put a strain on The Salvation Army resources, particularly with food pantries shutting down.  If you would like to make a monetary or nonperishable food donation, please contact your local Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army will continue to provide emergency assistance by appointment as to ensure safety and social distancing as per the CDC and local officials.  Please contact your local Salvation Army office or call Divisional Headquarters in Portland, ME (207) 774-6304.



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 SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter: @Salvationism and #DoingTheMostGood