Fayetteville Salvation Army offers much-needed virtual learning center for lower-income students

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Salvation Army in Fayetteville has turned its after-school program into a full-day virtual learning center for lower-income students in Cumberland County who are having to learn online.

Corps Officer Major Tim Grider, with the Sandhills Salvation Army, says their outreaches have evolved since March.

"I think, above all, is just the impact on the kids. That gap that they're dealing with every day," Grider said.

That's why, when school started back up, Grider started offering low-income families the chance to leave their children under the care of their non-profit during school hours.

"We're not really here to help teach, we're not really trained or qualified to do that, but we've had to take that on to help those kids," Grider said.

In the last month, Grider, with the help of three other staff members, has provided 24 students with a location to do their online school work. They've provided each child with onsite laptops, working to keep them on track academically while also creating a safe, COVID-19 free environment with masks and social distancing.

"These are kids whose parent is working, uh, and are trying to make ends meet...are trying to keep their kid, at least, somewhat involved in their schooling," Grider added.

On top of seeing a significant drop in donations amid the pandemic, the Salvation Army has refocused a large portion of its budget to keep this current program running. "They're nowhere from 7:45 till 5:15, every day. That has increased our budget for that program 400 percent," Grider mentioned.

Salvation Army leaders would love to continue to offer this program into the new year, because of the Cumberland County Schools' current decision to stay online until 2021, but Grider tells ABC 11 they need more monetary support. "We have that great, grave financial concern to be able to do this".

If you would like to help the non-profit, you can go to their website to make a donation or learn how else you can help.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.