WINCHESTER — The local Salvation Army has served more than three times as many people this year through its utilities program compared to last year.
The utilities assistance program, funded by the Washington Area Fuel Fund, runs from January to May each year. When local residents receive a past due notice, they can apply for help up to $600 per household.
According to a news release from Winchester Salvation Army Lt. Jared Martin, the local Salvation Army was able to provide $22,753.51 in assistance to help 54 households and 148 total individuals in 2020. In 2021, the need was much greater as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Salvation Army provided $76,419.67 to help 159 households and 451 individuals. This is over triple the amount provided and number of people served from the previous year.
One Salvation Army client told Salvation Army social worker Tracy Hines that she had recently lost her son, her job and had a cut off notice. The client described the situation as “just too much to handle.”
Hines was able to pledge the full balance on the client’s utility bill to prevent cut off. According to Martin, Hines said, “Don’t worry, I won’t forget you.” The words made the client feel like she belonged, and the client left the office with a smile.
In addition to utilities assistance, the Salvation Army also runs a 40-bed homeless shelter for families and individuals on Fort Collier Road, in addition to other programs. A case worker partners with shelter residents to become fully self-sufficient within four months of entry into the shelter. Sixteen children are currently living there with their families.
For more information, visit salvationarmypotomac.org/winchestervacorps