Salvation Army Celebrates the Power of Volunteerism on International Volunteer Day

Cartoon dudes with SA shield and face masks represent volunteers worldwide

International Volunteer Day takes place every year on December 5. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and thank people from all walks of life who freely give their time and expertise for the good of others. Throughout the pandemic and, working with COVID-19 protocols, thousands of Salvation Army volunteers around the globe stepped up with an overwhelming response of kindness because they wanted to help in any way they could.

The Salvation Army is truly grateful for our army of givers that include our dedicated volunteers who enable the organization to extend its reach in helping vulnerable people who need it most. The following are snapshots of some of our volunteers in action around the world.

The Salvation Army launches Operation Senior Food Box Delivery

The Salvation Army launches Operation Senior Food Box Delivery

Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

In June of 2019, The Salvation Army in Fredericton launched Operation Senior Food Box Delivery – a program to bring groceries to seniors and help combat their loneliness with a visit. Little did they know this thoughtful program would have to quickly expand to help those impacted by COVID-19.

Due to protective measures being put into place, many who typically visited the food bank by bus, or got a ride with a friend, no longer had a means of transportation. The team decided to extend their senior program and offer the delivery of food and household items to all.

When someone was in need, they called The Salvation Army, and a food box was prepared. Volunteers delivered the items to doorsteps and curbsides. Everyone was able to stay safe. The program continued to benefit seniors who were afraid to leave home due to their level of vulnerability. 

Volunteers deliver food to isolated seniors

Volunteers deliver food to isolated seniors

Kilbirnie, West Scotland, United Kingdom

The Salvation Army’s George Steven Community Hub is based in Kilbirnie, West Scotland. It delivers a variety of projects and programs that serve the local community and includes specialist support for adults with learning disabilities.

During the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, the centre staff and volunteers started a food delivery service to service users who were unable to leave the house. Many of the service users live in poverty, are lonely and isolated and don’t have anyone else to look out for them.

Nadine volunteered when she was on vacation from her Sales Adviser job and joined the centre volunteers to become a food delivery driver. Sometimes Nadine would be the only person the service users had seen for days, many of which were depending on volunteers like Nadine to take them their dinners and to provide them with some friendly conversation.

Salvation Army opens low-cost food market

Salvation Army opens low-cost food market

Rockdale, South Sydney, Australia

To support the local community during the pandemic and beyond, The Salvation Army’s church in Rockdale opened a low-cost food market to cater to the increase in need being experienced by people affected financially by COVID-19.

It was noticed that a different demographic of people required assistance. People who had lost their jobs needed urgent support. The number of people coming for help jumped massively.

After consulting with other local agencies, The Salvation Army realized that on Wednesdays, no other providers gave food assistance. The passion of staff and volunteers to serve their community grew stronger, and that’s how the idea of a low-cost food market, to complement the existing services available onsite, came to fruition.

The service is COVID-safe, with social distancing and hygiene protocols being followed. Volunteers make themselves available to chat to shoppers and form relationships with the people coming in.

For information on volunteering in Canada, click here.