Update: West Virginia Coal Mine Explosion

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Since Monday’s explosion in the West Virginia Upper Big Branch coal mine, Salvation Army volunteers and officers continue to offer emotional and spiritual comfort to victims’ families and hydration to fire and rescue personnel. They have served more than 650 meals, along with snacks and drinks.

The Salvation Army’s Major Tom Richmond of Charleston, WV is serving as Liaison for the Emergency Operations Center and Homeland Security.

Area businesses, including the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, have greatly assisted The Salvation Army by providing food and snacks for distribution to those affected by the tragedy, truly making this a community effort.

The Department of Labor and Statistics has deemed the tragedy as one of the worst mining disasters in the past 27 years, and four miners remain missing.

Your prayers are welcomed for the victims’ families and all those affected.

Visit The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory website for more information.

Information provided by Major David Singletary, Divisional EDS Director, MWV Division

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Salvation Army Serving Flooded Communities in Northeastern US

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Salvation Army is actively serving flooding communities of the northeastern United States that have been inundated with torrential storms the past few weeks. New York City and Boston experienced their wettest March on record, and a state of emergency has been declared in Rhode Island, which is said to have seen its worst flooding in 100 years.

New Jersey was hit with two rounds of flooding, but The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services jumped in to serve thousands of meals to first responders, distribute more than 500 clean up kits, provide clothing, and offer shelter to evacuated families. Our officers are continuing to monitor areas threatened by rising rivers.

Reports indicate local dams were at risk of breach in northern New England, resulting in evacuations for several miles below the dams. Again, The Salvation Army provided help by supplying meals and beverages to 100 first responders, state police, and local and state agencies, with 2 mobile kitchens (canteens) deployed and 6 volunteers and an Emergency Disaster Services staff member on the scene.

In Massachusetts, Salvation Army volunteers worked with the National Guard filling sand bags and loading trucks.

Our team is also at work in southern New England, which includes part of Connecticut and Rhode Island, where they’re in communication with emergency management and serving meals at temporary shelters and through Salvation Army canteens.

To learn more about The Salvation Army’s disaster services and how you can be involved, visit our Eastern Territory’s website here.

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Salvation Army Responds to Mine Explosions Near Charleston, WV

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Salvation Army officers, church members, and volunteers from Beckley, West Virginia offered their service and support Monday at the disaster scene in the Upper Big Branch coal mine, where a massive explosion is said to have killed 25 miners and trapped several more.

Headed by Captains Robert & Monica Barber, The Salvation Army provided, food, drinks, emotional and spiritual care throughout the night to those affected by the mine explosion and the 150 rescue workers that were present.

Initial relief efforts by the Army have been suspended today while the authorities begin a recovery operation that requires holes to be drilled into the ground to vent the toxic gas that has filled the mine. All site crew, except for state patrol, have been released, but The Salvation Army is expected to return at the request of the state’s Emergency Operations Center.

We will post further updates when they become available. You can also find more information at The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory website.

Please continue to pray for those affected by this tragedy.

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Salvation Army in Southern California Serving Earthquake-Rattled Communities

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aftershocks continue to rattle residents along the U.S.-Mexico border following Easter Sunday’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake whose epicenter was located just outside of Mexicali. Some 20 million people from Tijuana to Los Angeles are said to have felt it.

The Salvation Army is diligently serving in the Calexico and El Centro areas, which were the hardest hit cities within the United States.

Vicky Esqueda, a captain with the Salvation Army in El Centro, says, “El Centro’s main street has a lot of structural damage with fallen brick, busted storefront windows, and garbage everywhere. The hospital set up a triage outside with numerous people coming in with broken bones.”

Her husband was injured during the earthquake. Jerry Esqueda, also a captain with the Salvation Army, injured his arm and knee when he fell during the disaster, but after he was treated at an emergency room, the Esquedas began helping other earthquake victims in El Centro.

“The corps has set up beds for those needing shelter and we are busy feeding and handing out water,” said Vicky.

The Salvation Army is sheltering and feeding at its Community Center in El Centro multiple families whose homes suffered damage from the quake. Thirty individuals were housed last night. Volunteers and staff are busy preparing meals in the center’s kitchen, which will be distributed along with bottled water, fruit and snacks by Salvation Army mobile kitchen units, known as canteens. The Salvation Army now has two emergency canteens in the El Centro and Calexico area, serving first responders as well as those affected by the earthquake.

Other workers and volunteers are helping with clean up as well as assessing damage to Salvation Army buildings and thrift stores.

Those who would like to help with relief efforts may send donations to:

The Salvation Army
(designate Baja/Imperial Earthquake)
PO Box 503580
San Diego, CA 92150-3580

Or CALL 1 866-455-4357
Or donate ONLINE at www.sandiego.salvationarmy.org

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Million Meals Event for San Francisco Bay Area

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Salvation Army will host its next Million Meals Event for Haiti relief in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, and this one will be like no other before! Instead of packaging 1 million meals in two days, our goal is to package them all in ONE DAY!

If you haven’t heard of these events before, The Salvation Army distributes one million meals per week in Haiti and will continue to do so over the next six to nine months. In order to meet the demand, meal packing events are being organized around the United States in partnership with Numana .

And that means we need your help! Below is information about how you can be involved. You can also check out the About “Million Meals For Haiti” page to learn about packaging events nationwide and The Salvation Army’s work in Haiti.

WHAT: ONE MILLION meals to help curb hunger in Haiti

WHEN: Saturday, April 24, 2010.

Teams are being recruited for the following shifts:
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Cow Palace, Exhibit Building #2, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA., 94014. Free parking, provided by The Cow Palace. Click here for a map to the Cow Palace

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Recruit a team of 12 people (age 10 and older, please) and sign up your team or sign-up as an individual.

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EnviRenew Awards $10 Million Toward New Orleans Green Home Projects

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Salvation Army will announce today $10 Million in EviRenew Recovery Grants for 5 New Orleans neighborhoods. 125 Grants of $75,000 will be awarded to assist these deserving areas in developing Green Home sustainability projects.

EnviRenew is a Salvation Army initiative focused on making home-ownership costs more affordable through comprehensive green building standards and is a part of The Salvation Army’s ongoing recovery efforts in New Orleans. Energy efficient housing lowers owner’s expenses, enabling low and fixed income households to put aside more money towards savings and helps them achieve a better quality of life.

Working side by side with neighborhood associations, rebuilding agents, and community members themselves, Envirenew will establish replicable, sustainable standards for the area’s revitalization efforts.

EnviRenew’s four programs include:

· Grants for the new construction of 125 affordable, sustainable homes and homeownership grants for community-capacity builders (i.e. teachers and first responders)

· 125 home rehabilitations

· 250 $500 Green Home Sustainability Packages (home weatherization)

· EnviRenew Home Solar Program

“Kicking off EnviRenew is a great way to celebrate Easter by giving continued hope to those waiting to return home after a long journey of despair,” stated Captain Ethan Frizzell of The Salvation Army in Greater New Orleans.

Members of the community are invited to attend this exciting event! Details are below:

What: EnviRenew Recovery and Renewal Grants Announcement

Where: The Salvation Army Greater New Orleans Area Command

4526 S. Claiborne Avenue

New Orleans, LA 70125

When: 2:00 P.M.

April 1, 2010

Why: To announce the five Greater New Orleans neighborhoods that will receive 125, $75,000 for community capacity and funding for additional Green Home sustainability projects.

Guests: Capt. Ethan Frizzell, Area Commander, The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans

For more information about The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans, visit their website here.

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Cots for Haiti

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The State of New Jersey, Department of Human Services, and Department of Homeland Security are providing in a tremendous way for Haiti by donating to The Salvation Army thousands of cots for earthquake survivors.

It would take The Salvation Army 3 months to be able to purchase the necessary amount of cots, but today New Jersey, with the approval of its partners, will provide The Salvation Army with 8,000 cots purchased from the Grainger Company. They will be sent to Florida via truck and then transported to Haiti. A backup order has already been made by The Salvation Army for a later date.

These cots, though simple items, will meet a significant need for the displaced population. Tens of thousands of individuals are living in tent cities, making for crowded and unsanitary conditions. The need for cots extends beyond just a place to sleep – parents sometimes spend the night sitting up to hold their children off the ground and safe from the elements. The rainy season has also begun, making conditions worse and threatening lives. These donors’ generosity will provide much needed relief for many.

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Salvation Army Aids Chile’s Fishing Communities

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Salvation Army in Chile is focusing their tsunami relief response mainly on the communities of Dichato and Caleta Tumbes. Many locals here fled to high ground and watched as the tsunami destroyed their homes, possessions and livelihoods, and in some instances took the lives of their loved ones.

One woman lost her 92-year-old father who decided to stay in their house after trusting his son, a local fisherman, that the sea well would not reach the house. On any other night that would have been true – but not on this occasion.

Another fisherman explained that he didn’t think about the boat he left behind as he and his family fled, and now he doesn’t know how he’ll be able to afford to pay for a new one. His family is currently living with many others in tents and makeshift shelters in woods on high ground inland from their homes.

The tsunami destroyed the communities’ fishing fleets, and this time of year is the most important for sardine fishermen. The season lasts only three months, and many earn almost their entire annual income during this short period.

Salvation Army officers and volunteers have been working selflessly in these coastal communities to provide food, water and clothes, helping to clear and clean properties that are still standing, and offering spiritual support. In one camp volunteers are running a children’s club to try and assist in their recovery.

The secretary of the fishermen’s cooperative in Dichato said: ‘The young men may be able to retrain to do something else but many of us are too old. All we know is fishing – it is our livelihood, it is our life.’

In addition to providing food, water, clothes, and spiritual support, The Salvation Army in Chile is considering raising donations for the purpose of replacing the boats that were swept away.

The secretary of the fishermen’s cooperative in Caleta Tumbes thanked The Salvation Army for all it was doing in the community and appealed for it to continue to give assistance.

If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief efforts in Chile, please visit our online donation page.

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Haiti Strategy Conference Plans for Long Haul

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Salvation Army’s Major Laurie Robertson reports that recommendations coming out of a Salvation Army international strategy conference held in London confirm that The Salvation Army will be heavily and closely involved in rebuilding Haiti well past the conclusion of the current emergency situation caused by January’s massive earthquake.

The conference was attended by a delegation from The Salvation Army’s Caribbean Territory, representatives from 10 Salvation Army territories involved in the relief and rebuilding process, personnel from The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters, Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), and The Salvation Army International Headquarters.

The emergency phase for The Salvation Army in Haiti is expected to last for another six to nine months. During this time The Salvation Army will continue to care for 20,000 displaced people who are living in cramped camp conditions on a soccer field in Port-au-Prince. Emergency assistance will also be ongoing for those who were adversely affected in Jacmel and Petit Goave.

One of the urgent challenges for The Salvation Army is the relocation of the 20,000 people from its emergency camp to transitional housing. It is hoped this housing will be constructed before the end of the year.

The Salvation Army in Port-au-Prince provides essential services to one of the poorest areas in Haiti and conference delegates strongly expressed their belief that The Salvation Army’s facilities needed to be rebuilt as quickly as possible. Most of its buildings have been so badly damaged that they will need to be demolished.

During the next few months prioritization of the transitional and long-term projects will take place, applications for further funding will be processed and some projects commenced while emergency relief service continues.

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Strong Arms Around Chile

Friday, March 26, 2010

One month following the destructive magnitude 8.8 earthquake and tsunami that struck Chile, The Salvation Army continues distributing help throughout the country. More than 15,000 people have been assisted and 14,000 rations of food provided to individuals and families. Some 350 volunteers have given their help.

A campaign called ‘Strong Arms Around Chile’ has been set up to help collect donations and goods that can be delivered to the neediest Chileans.

In the area around the capital, Santiago, coffee, hot meals and other services continue to be offered.

The south of the country, particularly coastal regions, was most affected by the disaster and this area is where The Salvation Army is focusing its efforts.

Four hundred baskets with basic necessities have been given out in Caleta Tumbes, which was affected by both the quake and tsunami. Salvation Army workers are helping to clear debris in this area. The Salvation Army is also distributing family baskets with basic necessities such as food, water, hygiene products, and clothes to families who are sleeping outdoors since they no longer have homes.

In Concepción, around the epicentre of the earthquake, family baskets were distributed at a camp in the centre of the city.

In nearby Hualpén, a well on the grounds of Hualpencillo Corps (church) is providing water to the neighbourhood.

The Salvation Army’s Central Division in Chile sent 20 tons of food, clothing and water to the cities of Concepción and Hualpén, including some goods purchased with funds received from overseas.

The supplies were organized in a reception centre at Concepción Corps. The corps officers went to the affected zones to see where the aid was most needed and the community of Dichato was identified. Unfortunately, because of contamination, the military was not allowing people into the community.

Eventually a Salvation Army team was allowed to visit the New Dawn camp in Dichato, which is made up of 180 families – approximately 850 people. The team also visited Villa los Sauces, which has a number of temporary settlements, and the area of Coliumo, where many people are living in small makeshift camps along the side of the road.

In each of these places goods were given out, including food, water and some tents. Three volunteers, rotating every few days, are living in a tent in the New Dawn camp and there are plans to set up a community kitchen. Salvationists and volunteers have helped clear debris and have lifted people’s spirits with times of worship.

In an emergency services coordination meeting, it was decided that Concepción Corps would take responsibility for people in Dichato, Coliumo, Lota, Coronel and Hualqui. The corps at Hualpén will visit and document the communities of Las Salinas, Lenga, Talcahuano and Caleta Tumbes. Some of these areas are dealing with devastation from both the earthquake and the tsunami.

Major Raelton Gibbs (International Emergency Services) is now in Chile to assist and advise the local Salvation Army teams.

The Salvation Army has been shown great appreciation by those receiving help. Many are simply happy still to be alive. The Chilean Salvation Army continues to work and aid those in need by providing not only material necessities but also spiritual comfort.

To help support The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief efforts in Chile, visit our online donations page.

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