COLUMBIA Mo. (KMIZ)
The Salvation Army in Columbia continues to accept limited donations and hold appointment-only services during the pandemic.
Lori Benson, the director of community relations for the Salvation Army says they hope to get back to their open-door policy as soon as possible.
"Right now The Salvation Army is one of the only places, open and accepting donations," Benson said. "I'm hoping as we move forward, that we are able to have that open door policy again, people can come into the facilities freely and either donate, get services and all of the different things that they need."
The Salvation Army has seen an increase in donations recently but decided to take safety precautions when handling the donations which sometimes leads to congestion.
"We like to start out the day where we can accept clothes we can accept furniture, but at some point during the day, it gets overwhelming and we don't have any room and unfortunately sometimes in the afternoon we do have to shut down donations," Benson said.
People may still leave donations outside of the building for contactless drop off. Staff handling donations wear gloves and masks and will place donations in quarantine for three days before separating and organizing what comes in.
Benson says The Salvation Army saw an influx in utility and rental financial assistance requests in the April and May months and she thinks a lot of people are using the quarantine period to clean out their closets.
"With people being home during that six-week period, people did a lot of spring cleaning," Benson said. "We have seen a large influx of donations and again being the only one of the only few places taking donations, yes we're getting hit very hard, and we're very grateful. It's amazing, the response."
Benson recommends organizing donations before bringing them in and calling The Salvation Army thrift store before showing up.
"Especially if it's later in the day, and those morning hours were usually pretty open and we're able to accept a lot of those donations, but when you're getting closer to the end of the day, you might want to pick up the phone and call and make sure that they're still accepting donations for the day, or wait till the next morning," Benson said.