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Salvation Army Divisional Leader Major Joliker Leandre, left and Divisional Secretary Major Chris Mathias.

There has been an increase in persons asking for social help at the Salvation Army of T&T. The increase coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in March of this year.

The Salvation Army is also getting calls from persons looking for a place to stay.

The Salvation Army has been in existence in T&T for over 100 years and has hostels to help persons who are socially displaced, Divisional Leader Major Joliker Leandre told Guardian Media yesterday.

Speaking about how the pandemic had affected their operations yesterday, Leandre said, “For the housing, there has not been a significant increase but in terms of requests for food items and so on there has been a significant increase in that area.

“The housing had not been increased due to the fact there are restrictions as persons are not moving so and so forth, so you will see the same number at first, the same number of persons, if there are new persons it will be minimal.”

He said since the restrictions were put in place and many started to be affected economically, the phones have been ringing off the hook.

“The hammer has doubled, and it can be tripled because we have calls because we provide based on resources and what is available and there are times that if they are calling and our resources are exhausted, unfortunately, we have to put them on hold list until we can give the assistance needed for them,” he said.

In the last nine months, the faith-based organisation has spent over $300,000 assisting many homes across Trinidad and Tobago.

Divisional Secretary Major Chris Mathais added, “We would of catered to 1,200 to 1,250-plus individuals in terms of provision of food hampers that would of run us in the region about around 300 thousand expense wise and those food hampers also included Tobago and the length and breadth of Trinidad. Coming out of that, we would have persons continuing to call as to when will be the next distribution phase but we had to curtail it a bit due to the finances and now we are gearing up for the Christmas food hamper distribution.”

Leandre is welcoming all forms of donation to continue helping the many disadvantaged at this point.

“The Salvation Army is always ready for anything because we deal with a disaster on a daily basis worldwide and we are never hopeless and the whole world belongs to God, because wherever there is a need God always will provide for us,” Leandre explained.

“And in terms of preparation, we did not know that COVID-19 was coming but now it is with us, so we are prepared in the sense that we are faithful friends who would always come on board and our priorities of the Salvation Army is people, so whatever funds that we may have available when there is a disaster and a need we would usually spend this funds.”