SYRACUSE – The Salvation Army is changing the way it serves people in need. Unemployment in New York state has skyrocketed in just a few weeks. The state labor department reported that parts of the state are seeing a 1,000% increase in jobless claims, and Salvation Army Officers and staff members are continuing to meet human needs without discrimination across New York.

Major Ivan Rock, The Empire State Divisional Commander, says he is proud to serve alongside people who are rising to these new challenges. “For 155 years, The Salvation Army has found ways to help those who are hurting,” Major Rock said. “Our passion to serve people leads to creativity in the way we meet human need.”

The need for Salvation Army services has increased exponentially across the state. The soup kitchens are giving out bagged or boxed meals to avoid having large groups gather inside buildings. The food pantries are giving out more food per visit to reduce the trips a family has to make and limit potential exposure to the virus. In Saratoga Springs and Syracuse, a month’s worth of food was given out in a single week. Some Salvation Army food pantries, like the one in Cortland, are delivering food while some others are using a “drive-thru” system, where possible. In Rochester, Salvation Army staff are bringing food, toiletries, and socks to homeless encampments.

Major Rock says The Salvation Army will face this challenge and prepare for what is still ahead. “We are committed to serving people, not just during this crisis, but during the recovery,” he said. “The Salvation Army is always ready to help.”

Major Rock says The Salvation Army has an abundance of commitment to serve those in need, but he says they need donations of canned goods, non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, diapers, baby wipes, formula, and financial contributions. Contact your local Salvation Army center to find out what specific items they need. You can go to or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to make a donation.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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