The Salvation Army has established a hotline that anyone can call for emotional and spiritual support.
Bryan/College Station Salvation Army captain Paul Ryerson says the hotline was established in one day to fill an unmet need.
Ryerson says the service started last Friday, after hearing about a three hundred percent increase in the number of calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline,
Ryerson says officers and trained employees will offer assistance to people who are overcome with worry or stress.
The number, which is staffed every day between eight a.m. and eight p.m., is 844-458-HOPE. That’s 844-458-4673.
Click below for comments from Paul Ryerson, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver.
From the Bryan/College Station Salvation Army:
As the days and weeks of stress and strain weigh heavily on the nation, The Salvation Army has established a place anyone affected by COVID-19 can call for emotional and spiritual support. The Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), seven days a week at (844) 458-HOPE (4673). A team of ESC specialists, made up of Salvation Army Officers and trained employees, are available to help callers.
The specific goal of the hotline is to offer assistance to people whom are overcome with worry or undue stress caused by the pandemic. Callers will find people ready to listen to their concerns and pray with them.
“Our goal is to give people an opportunity to connect with someone who will hear their story and concerns. We hope to offer a calming presence in the midst of circumstances none of us has ever experienced before,” said Captain Paul Ryerson, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army Bryan/College Station. “The Salvation Army wants people to know they are not alone and that even though we might not be able to meet them face to face, we care, want to listen and are as close as a phone call.”
The hotline, which started taking calls Friday, March 27, received a number of calls its first weekend including a mother dealing with the additional stress of two weeks of home schooling her children for the first time, another individual seeking advice and prayer while facing the potential loss of their home, and a young man coping with the reality of being furloughed from his job. All callers expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to speak with someone and receive prayer. If needed, callers will be referred to additional helpful resources when possible.
Immediate physical needs in the community such as provision of food, rent, and utility assistance also will continue to be addressed by local Salvation Army in Bryan-College Station during this crisis.
Emotional and spiritual care is an integral year-round Salvation Army service. Particularly evident during times of natural disaster, The Salvation Army ‘s Emergency Disaster Services teams are known for being the first on the scene to provide food and hydration for first responders, front-line workers and survivors. In addition to the immediate physical needs, the Army also focuses on the emotional and spiritual well-being of those impacted in all sorts of catastrophic events. Though this pandemic is a new situation for the world, the service provided by The Salvation Army to help those affected has decades of experience behind it. Trained ESC staff and volunteers work alongside mobile feeding units as they minister to hurting communities. “Ministry of Presence” training is available to staff and volunteers as part of The Salvation Army’s ongoing training program.
“The Salvation Army is here to help during this time of heightened need, said Ryerson. “We understand physical needs are just one aspect of this. We also want people to know we are here – trained and ready – to pray with and encourage them throughout this crisis.”
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s ongoing efforts in your community, please visit give.salvationarmybcs.org, call 979-361-0618 or mail a check to 2506 Cavitt Ave., Bryan, TX 77801