Rocky Mountain Power, Salvation Army form partnership to battle the aftermath of a pandemic

Salvation Army Outpost staffer Lt. Crystal Smoak holds a box of food to donate to local people in need at the outpost building in St. George, Utah, June 15, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As life begins to resume its normalcy, Rocky Mountain Power came forward last month to announce several new grants to help Southern Utah organizations support their communities, including the Salvation Army outpost in St. George. 

Salvation Army Outpost staffer Lt. Crystal Smoak sits at the front desk in the outpost building in St. George, Utah, June 15, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

Lt. Crystal Smoak with the Salvation Army told St. George News that the grant money is being used to meet the increased need for food pantry services and emergency relocation assistance. After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army’s services were abruptly impacted and business as usual was interrupted. 

“With this grant, we’re able to tell the community, ‘If you’re running out of food and you need something, please just come back, even if it’s not been the two weeks, and then we can go ahead and help you.’ And that’s been a gift,” Smoak said. 

She added that since receiving the grant, the outpost has filled its food pantry with meat, cheese, milk, eggs and other food items that they can deliver to people in need. The outpost has also been able to connect people with bus tickets so they can be relocated somewhere more stable or closer to their family. 

“We’re able to supplement those items and make sure that the community is able to have nutritious meals,” she said. “We’re able to sit down one-on-one because of the Rocky Mountain Power grant, and be able to figure out how we can help you get a stable ending on the other end.”

When the pandemic hit, the biggest immediate impact was the outpost’s home delivery services, Smoak said. Not only were many people shut inside their homes due to medical issues, but food supply also dwindled as items in the groceries stores were bought up quickly. Since receiving the grant, the Salvation Army has been able to deliver boxes of food to people’s doorsteps, including people staying in trailers or vehicles on BLM land. 

The Salvation Army also struggled to meet with people and find shelters or homes that would accept them, assuming they were able to get a bus ticket, Smoak said. Greyhound shut down many of their bus stops, which limited the number of passengers that could travel and altered routes to add hours to a journey. 

“Again, with that, the Rocky Mountain Power grant has been a gift in itself because the bus tickets were even more expensive,” Smoak said. “We’re really grateful. We’re grateful for Rocky Mountain Power, we’re grateful for our donors, for people that come along in support.”

Jasen Lee of Rocky Mountain Power told St. George News that the company was excited to support the Salvation Army because it was an opportunity to connect with people who were reaching out for help during the pandemic. He added that Rocky Mountain Power looks forward to do their best to help the Salvation Army continue their work in the St. George area. 

The Salvation Army Outpost storefront in St. George, Utah, June 15, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

“As all these vaccines are rolling out, we see a lot of challenges from the pandemic, we see a lot of brighter days ahead,” Lee said. “And we want to remain deeply committed to fortifying our communities and helping them be strong, healthy and resilient.”

The Salvation Army is always accepting donations, Smoak said. Donations can be mailed in or dropped off in person at 803 S. Bluff Street in St. George. The Salvation Army also needs volunteers to help restock food, organize it and hand it out to people in need. 

Other Southern Utah organizations that received grants from Rocky Mountain Power last month were Castle Valley Fire Protection Area, Moab Free Health Clinic, Rural Senior Adult Services and Sanpete Pantry.

The Salvation Army will be hosting a kettle kick-off fundraiser in late October or early November to kick off the Christmas season, and Smoak encouraged people to watch for the kettles in grocery stores during the holiday season and donate whatever they can. All of the donations collected through the kettles and kettle kick-off will directly support efforts in Washington County.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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