The Salvation Army of Horry County struggles for donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Salvation Army of Horry County is struggling for donations after missing out on their two biggest food drives with Horry County Schools due to the pandemic.

“We’re emptying out our coffers right now,” said Command Officer Captain Carl Melton.

The Salvation Army got 30,000 pounds of food in last year’s food drives with Horry County Schools.

“One of our biggest food drives is through the school system,” said Capt. Melton.

Now, because of the pandemic, their usually overflowing food pantry has several empty shelves.

Before COVID-19 spread, they were feeding around 20 to 25 families every Thursday and every Friday.

When the pandemic hit, that shot up to about 100 families each of those days.

It’s down to 40 to 50 families now, but there’s still a huge need for things like non-perishable, canned and dry foods.

Capt. Melton says one of the best things to give are foods suited to kids.

“We find that when you get families with kids, cereals, pop-tarts. Those things like that allow us to give a little dignity and a little bit of a specialness to the kids,” he said.

Monetary donations also go a long way for the group because they’re able to buy in bulk.

The group is also struggling to hire employees at The Salvation Army Family Stores, but once the federal unemployment benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic run out, Capt. Melton says they anticipate more new hires.

Capt. Melton said they’re also making changes to their red kettle campaign plan. In last year’s campaign, they raised $150,000.

“All of our volunteers and bell-ringers will be masked and gloved. I can tell you that we are looking for maybe some kind of shielding that’s not ready yet, we’re just looking at it,” said Capt. Melton. “But, one event that we’re going to look at is an online campaign. We want to be able to push that online.”

Because, to Capt. Melton and many others, Christmas just won’t be the same without it.

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