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Salvation Army launches new support hotline: ‘This is a way for us to distantly socialize’

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MILWAUKEE -- The Salvation Army of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan is launching a new support hotline in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Salvation Army Chaplain Support Line, 888-651-7294 (SAWI), will be available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and will be manned by trained Salvation Army chaplains.

"We still need to be social, we still need to connect that is a basic human need. And so for us, this is a way for us to distantly socialize," said Alexis Twito, Milwaukee Chaplaincy Program Coordinator.

Alexis Twito

The line, which launched at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 6, will take calls not just during the COVID crisis, but will continue to be a place for people to call during any kind of disaster such as; flooding, a tornado, a mass shooting, or a large apartment complex fire. The line will be open 365 days a year.

"We're just glad that we can be of service. Even when we're trying to be safe and shelter at home, we're still able to provide the care and support our city needs right now," Twito said.

People from all over Wisconsin have called into the hotline. Some looked for advice on how to help others during the COVID-19 outbreak. Others sought mental support or just encouraging words. Sometimes the Salvation Army will even provide resources.

"I'd say half the people we've talked to -- we've prayed with them or shared scripture verses and just really tried to encourage them in this time," Twito said.

Those who dial in are connected to a team of chaplains. Even after the pandemic ends, the plan is for the line to remain active indefinitely.

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