Mar 25, 2020 7:00 PM

Feeding those who need it the most in Salina

Posted Mar 25, 2020 7:00 PM
Captain Lynn Lopez, commanding officer, and Elizabeth Stang, cook, prepare a meal in the Saline County Salvation Army kitchen. Photo courtesy The Saline County Salvation Army
Captain Lynn Lopez, commanding officer, and Elizabeth Stang, cook, prepare a meal in the Saline County Salvation Army kitchen. Photo courtesy The Saline County Salvation Army

Salina Post

SALINA — The Salvation Army of Saline County has announced it will continue to offer meals to those needing assistance at this time and they've added an extra day of food service!

Saturday meals will now be included.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meals will now be handed out at the south door of The Salvation Army, 1137 North Santa Fe Avenue, according to information provided by the organization. Serving times will continue on the following schedule as needed, the organization noted.

Breakfast -- 8:15-9:15 a.m.

Lunch -- 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Supper -- 4-5:30 p.m.

"With so many children out of schools and parents' budgets stretched, as well as the early shopper hoarding, we are trying to reach the most vulnerable families and homeless populations out there," Captain Lynn Lopez told Salina Post. "We just began to offer Saturday meals because of the instant message requests for meals on our Facebook page."

Lopez said The Salvation Army is taking extra precautions to protect both those it serves and its own personnel.

"I am a certified emergency disaster person. So as soon as I knew this was going to get worse, I began planning for how we could help the community in the best ways," she said.

Lopez said the local organization ordered deep sanitizers, Clorox wipes, and blue gloves. Sleeves of to-go plates and other items necessary for the current operation also were purchased.

"I implemented the drive thru/walk thru to-go meals at the door and simply ask how many they need to feed their family," she said.

Lopez noted that in addition prepping for deep cleaning, the COVID-19 outbreak has had another impact on the organization.

"The main change is the number of meals we are serving. We have an excellent cook who works diligently to provide nutritious, stick-to-your-ribs-meals," Lopez said.

Prior to the pandemic outbreak, the local Salvation Army fed 45-75 meals per day, with some suppers seeing more than 100, Lopez explained. Those were prepared by the organization's cook and served by local church volunteers, she said.

Now the organization is serving 185 to 200 meals per day, Lopez noted. Staff from the temporarily closed Salvation Army thrift store now assist the organization's cook, she said. Additionally, the officer staff is helping prepare and serve the meals at the door, Lopez said.

The morning meal consists of a continental breakfast with a cup of coffee and milk if it is available, while the noontime meal is a hot lunch or soup and sandwich, and supper is a hot meal, Lopez explained.

The well-being of others

Lopez said that the local organization is also providing other services to help others.

"We continue having emergency services available such as our food pantry and the showers. We basically do phone interviews so we can look the client up in our database for approval. Then we meet them at the door with a food box. All carts are then cloroxed-down for next use," she said.

"We are praying for relief from this virus and have taken to posting church services online in Facebook. On Sundays I call people and visit with them to make sure everyone is doing OK mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually," said Lopez, who is working toward her chaplaincy certification.

Lopez noted that soon, The Salvation Army will have an 800 number for people "who are stressing out from staying home all the time and whatever various emotions they are experiencing."

"If there is more The Saline County Salvation Army can do I would like to hear from other leaders in the community in order to plan for changes," Lopez said. "God bless and keep each one in His perfect care. He is our shelter and refuge!"

Continue Reading Little Apple Post
Mar 25, 2020 7:00 PM
UPDATE: What Kansans need to know about the COVID-19 coronavirus
Health officials say one way to stop the spread of the new coronavirus is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas News Service

Note: A Spanish-language version of this article can be found HERE.

The new coronavirus is spreading quickly around the world, including across Kansas, and setting off a range of responses.

The Kansas News Service is boiling down key developments in the state and updating the status regularly here. To read this information in Spanish, go here. This list was last updated at 4:10 p.m. April 7.


900 cases (see map for counties) and 223 hospitalizations

27 deaths  (the state is no longer disclosing which counties are seeing deaths)

NOTE: These figures only include cases confirmed with lab tests and do not represent the real, unknown total. Community transmission is occurring in parts of Kansas. View additional charts showing the disease’s spread over time and other trends here.

Gov. Laura Kelly is instituting a statewide stay-at-home order as of 12:01 a.m. March 30. It will last until at least April 19. Stay-at-home orders allow people to take care of essential activities (such as grocery shopping or going to work) as well as exercise outside, but otherwise keep to themselves. 

The state’s stay-at-home order supersedes at least 13 county-by-county orders. Should the state’s order lift before a county’s is through, the county can choose to keep its own in effect.


The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is now mandating home quarantine for 14 days if you've traveled to the places listed below. If you come down with symptoms (such as a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, coughing or shortness of breath) during those 14 days, contact your health care provider and explain your potential COVID-19 exposure.  

  1. Connecticut on or after April 6.
  2. Louisiana or anywhere in Colorado on or after March 27.
  3. States with known widespread community transmission (California, Florida, New York and Washington) on or after March 15.
  4. Illinois or New Jersey on or after March 23.
  5. Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado (if your visit was March 8th or later).
  6. Cruise ships or river cruises on or after March 15. Anyone previously told to quarantine because of their cruise ship travel should also finish out their quarantine.
  7. International destinations on or after March 15. Anyone previously told to quarantine because of their international travel should also finish out their quarantine.

Some doctors recommend patients with COVID-19 symptoms stay home even if they test negative for the disease, because of concerns that current testing approaches may be producing a significant number of false negatives.


Several hospitals across the state now offer drive-through testing, but patients must get doctor approval in advance or else will be turned away. Many Kansans can’t be tested unless they’re sick enough to be hospitalized, and results may take up to a week. 

That’s because testing supplies remain limited and private labs helping many clinics and hospitals have large backlogs of samples. Hospitals trying to buy equipment for in-house testing say vendors are backlogged, too. The state will soon have several portable machines that can conduct 5- to 15-minute tests, and plans to lend them out to facilities most in need.

Some Kansas hospitals have succeeded in getting the testing materials and can give patients their results within a day. The state health department lab in Topeka can handle several hundred samples per day — a fraction of the demand.

Under a new federal law, you should not have to pay for your coronavirus test, regardless of insurance status (but patients could still see related bills). Separately, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, the state’s largest private insurer, says some patients won’t have to pay for coronavirus treatment.


Public and private universities and community colleges in the state will finish this semester via online classes. Spring sports have been canceled. Most staff travel has been suspended. Graduations at KU, K-State and Wichita State are postponed or rescheduled.

The University of Kansas and Wichita State also plan to hold summer classes online. KU and K-State announced hiring freezes in early April. 


In mid-March, Kansas became the first state in the U.S. to shut down school buildings for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. A state task force then issued guidance for distance learning, for which students aren’t expected to spend more than a few hours a day. 

Some districts that make high schoolers earn more credits than required by the state will graduate them this year based on the state’s lower bar. 

Districts across the state are still providing free meals to eligible children, but some have stopped because of concerns about the coronavirus spreading at meal pickup sites.


  1. Church gatherings and funerals: Effective April 8, the governor has prohibited services of more than 10 people. That doesn’t count people performing the rituals or funeral workers, but they must stay six feet apart from each other.
  2. State tax deadline: Extended until July 15, in line with a delay for filing federal tax forms.
  3. Evictions: Business and residential evictions are banned until May 1 if a tenant is unable to pay because of the coronavirus.
  4. Mortgage foreclosures: Foreclosures are banned until May 1.
  5. Small businesses: May be eligible for emergency federal loans. Find information here.
  6. Hospitality businesses: Kansas created an emergency loan program, which quickly ran out of funds, but businesses can still apply to help the state assess the need for more assistance.
  7. Utilities: Evergy, which serves 950,000 customers in Kansas, will not disconnect residential or business services for an unspecified amount of time. 
  8. Gatherings: Restricted to fewer than 10 people throughout the state.
  9. State of emergency: Kansas’ declaration is good through May (and can be extended). It gives the government more power to marshal resources and Kelly the ability to make certain decisions when lawmakers aren’t in session.
  10. State workers: Access to the Statehouse is limited to official business only through April 19. Most state workers are doing their jobs remotely.
  11. Prisons and jails: The Kansas Department of Corrections ended visitation at all state facilities, and will “re-evaluate on an ongoing basis.” It urges families to talk to inmates through email, phone calls and video visits. County jails largely have ended visitations as well. 


COVID-19 usually causes mild to moderate symptoms, like a fever or cough. Most people with mild symptoms recover in two weeks. More severe cases, found in older adults and people with health issues, can have up to six weeks’ recovery time or can lead to death.


  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Frequently.
  2. Cover your coughs.
  3. The CDC now recommends wearing a cloth mask in situations where social distancing isn’t possible; instructions for sewn and non-sewn versions are here.
  4. If you’re an older Kansan or medically fragile, limit your trips to the grocery store or any public space.
  5. Stay home if you are sick — this goes for all ages.


Kansas Department of Health and Environment:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.