Atlanta, GA - The menagerie of vehicles that idled alongside the Gwinnett County Salvation Army curved around the parking lot and extended almost back into the street. Anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic and questions about what it means for their futures drew people from all walks of life across Gwinnett County to patiently wait for a mid-day distribution of much-needed food and sheltering supplies. Sharply at noon, the Gwinnett Salvation Army staff hustled into a swirl of activity to hand out boxes and bags filled with non-perishable food items, cleaning materials, and toilet paper. A copy of The Salvation Army’s most recent War Cry magazine was placed snuggly in each bag or box. Within a half hour, amidst greetings and expressions of gratitude and thankfulness, the initial rush was over.
“This is an unprecedented time and we are seeing that people who have never needed us before, need us now,” said Captain Jeremy Mockabee, presiding officer at The Salvation Army’s Gwinnet County Corps. “People just don’t know what to expect, and if someone is thinking about a job loss or that this might go on for some time, then any additional resources will help.”
According to Captain Mockabee, there were many more people lined up this day than in previous days – a trend he anticipates will continue. “It’s all about helping people in their time of need,” says Mockabee, “And people trust The Salvation Army because they know we are geared to adapt and handle large types of responses like this that possibly smaller organizations may not be able to weather.”
Throughout the afternoon, periodic vehicles continue to meander in and through the cone-guided trek to the distribution center at the front of the facility – where Angela Wylie, a social work intern from Georgia State University, greets them.
“When I heard we were helping people affected by the coronavirus, I said, ‘I have to do this!’” says Angela. “I love helping people – especially the elderly and homeless, and they seem to be the most affected during this time.”
Angela has a heart to help people in need and has been working for years toward a social work degree. She shares how fortunate she feels about working at The Salvation Army. “I love it here – not every intern has such a great experience.”
Angela will graduate from Georgia State University in May, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has dampened some of her joy.
“I waited all these years to graduate and walk across the stage at Georgia State, and now that has been taken away,” she says reflectively. “It’s OK, though, I have nothing to complain about - there are people out there who are in real need.”
According to Captain Mockabee, there may be a possible social work position opening up soon for a someone with a heart to serve others at the Gwinnett County Corps.
Angela has already expressed her interest in the position.
“It’s amazing here – I could not think of a better place to work,” she says with a big smile.
How you Can Help:
The best way to help The Salvation Army is via financial contributions. Monetary donations allow The Salvation Army to meet the immediate needs of individuals who are seeking help from the COVID-19 pandemic.