Home News COVID-19 Situation Salvation Army food bank sees demand grow as revenue shrinks

Salvation Army food bank sees demand grow as revenue shrinks

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The Salvation Army Roswell will likely benefit from the state’s coronavirus relief package in a trickle-down method, giving the organization a boost as demand increases and its revenue-generating avenues are unable to operate, including the familiar bellringers during the holidays.

The New Mexico Legislature created and passed a $330 million relief bill in special session Tuesday, and it was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday. It includes $5 million for emergency food bank services.

Capt. Niki Woollin, Salvation Army Corps officer, said the organization has not received details on how the organization’s food bank will benefit but expects to get information on Monday.

She said The Salvation Army’s food bank is a distributor for Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico and she expects the relief will come through Roadrunner.

She said that was what happened when Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos donated $100 million in April to Feeding America.

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“They credited our account and so I’m guessing it will be very similar,” she said.

Woollin said The Salvation Army has seen a large increase in demand at its food bank during the pandemic while at the same time its biggest revenue drivers, its thrift store and Red Kettle bellringers, are unable to operate due to the public health order.

Last year, the food bank provided about 300 to 350 boxes a month to families, she said.

“Last month we did 667 boxes,” she said.

“We’ve seen an increase in new families who have never used our facilities before,” Woollin said.

Just last week, she said, the food bank signed up 11 new families.

“It’s been kind of insane, generally mildly to moderately insane,” she said.

Both the thrift store and the bellringers have been deemed non-essential services and so are unable to operate. Woollin said between the two, the organization is looking at a $100,000 loss in income this year.

The Red Kettle Campaign is the organization’s biggest fundraiser at about $60,000 a year, she said.

Woollin said one small blessing in the thrift store being closed is that The Salvation Army has been able to shift the store’s staff and volunteers to help out in the food bank.

“While the thrift store is one of our primary sources of funding and that’s not great, it has been very helpful with the increased demand to have some extra hands on deck,” she said.

To make up for the income loss, Woollin said The Salvation Army will be contacting businesses and individuals for donations. The Red Kettle Campaign has also gone virtual this year, with donations being taken at www.roswellredkettle.org.

“We’re really trying to be proactive because it is quite possible we won’t be able to have any ringers for the rest of the season, which is unfortunate but we’re trying to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Woollin said donations can also be mailed to The Salvation Army at P.O. Box 897, Roswell, NM 88202, or by calling 575-208-2371.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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