ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- People who were already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic have been hit especially hard and the Salvation Army is stepping up efforts to help.
Officials with the Salvation Army say they continue to provide emergency assistance when it comes to rent, utility help and food but officials are putting out a call for donations of several items.
Captain Carol Huffman with the Salvation Army said 30 million people had a job in January and those 30 million people today do not have a job, and that "creates a whole new level of need."
The Salvation Army says it now needs donations of diapers, household cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, personal hygiene products and non-perishable food.
Huffman said those who were at risk before the pandemic are now considered "extremely vulnerable." Because of the stress many people are under, the Salvation Army has launched its first regional hotline for those in need. The number is 1-877-220-4195 and staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"They're going to call the number and the first thing they're going to hear is a person, not a recording," Huffman said.
The goal is to provide emotional and spiritual support and can also direct callers to additional support that they may not have realized was available.
"There's great levels of anxiety happening with people that they don't have a job, they don't know where their next meal is going to come from," Huffman said. "There's added levels of stress. They don't know if they're going to be homeless in a week and that's a very real picture that I've painted."