Lilly Endowment Inc. has given The Salvation Army’s Indiana Division a $5 million grant to support its immediate COVID-19 response and to sustain the group’s long-term services.
The endowment provided an additional $10 million to the national organization.
“The Salvation Army is deeply commitment to alleviating human suffering—it’s in their DNA,” Ronni Kloth, the endowment’s vice president for community development, said in a statement.
“Through outreach to low-income individuals and families in need of food and shelter as well as counseling, mentoring and spiritual support, they care for communities every day,” Kloth said. “In times of crisis the Salvation Army is able to spring into action to help even more people through difficult times.”
The Salvation Army has been tailoring its response to the coronavirus outbreak based on the needs of individual communities.
In Indiana, it has set up drive-through pantries and takeout-style feeding programs to provide residents with fresh and nonperishable food, personal hygiene items, and cleaning supplies.
The organization said it has also adapted its worship services and emergency assistance interviews to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Local leaders also said The Salvation Army is also preparing for an expected jump in the need for services, thanks to layoffs across the state.
Initial unemployment insurance claims surged to 120,331 in Indiana last week, up from just 2,312 two weeks ago, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Workforce Development.
The new figure more than doubled last week’s claims. The numbers are skyrocketing as thousands of people lose their jobs either temporarily or permanently during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Salvation Army said it anticipates an increase in the number of individuals and families seeking financial, rent, utility and prescription assistance over the coming months—and maybe years.
The Lilly Endowment’s assistance comes as closures and social distancing have canceled fundraisers that would normally help fund the group’s daily operations in 85 counties.
“We are all impacted by the coronavirus, but our brothers and sisters living in poverty are feeling it more significantly, which is causing a strain on our resources,” said Major Robert Webster, divisional commander for The Salvation Army’s Indiana Division, in a prepared statement.
“As our staff and volunteers are called to go above and beyond in service, we have been praying faithfully for a miracle to make it possible for us to continue ministering now and into the future, here in Indiana,” he said. “May God bless those who will be served today, tomorrow and in the future because of this amazing gift of love.”
The endowment has supported The Salvation Army for more than 70 years, most recently with funding for the group’s Pathway of Hope Program, which works with families to break the cycle of poverty.