At the Heart of the Operation – Meeting Need in Margaretville, NY

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The following was contributed by Mary Jo Barnello, Director of Development and Community Relations at The Salvation Army Empire State Division.

Traveling into the hard-hit village of Margaretville, NY from the Incident Command Center located in Oneonta, NY, the skies were blue, the temperatures seasonable and the drive breathtaking as we traversed the winding roads of the Catskill mountains. Leading in, the town of Delhi celebrated the end of summer with a farmers’ market lining Main Street, American flags displayed on porches, and flowerbeds in full bloom.

As we approached Margaretville, the beautiful creeks running along the roadway mile by mile became increasingly rushed. They converged on the outskirts of town and turned dark brown and raging. Debris were evident on trees and mud covered everything including the roadway. The National Guard was stationed on the closed bridges, clearing alternate roadways and directing travel in and out of town. Flying overhead, six black helicopters circled the town several times bringing in supplies. The Margaretville Firehouse has become the center of the community. The Salvation Army disaster relief vehicle was the heart of the operation, positioned right in front. The Salvation Army Team of Bellaire, Ohio was serving food fast and furious to residents, volunteers, firefighters from neighboring stations, and National Guard personnel. The Salvation Army served hundreds at the Firehouse with countless more waiting for delivered meals.

A cheer went up when The Salvation Army box truck loaded with supplies arrived. More than 15 firemen leaped into action to unload the supplies ofwater, cleaning kits, baby supplies, pet food and canned food for mass distribution. The firemen worked side by side with Salvation Army volunteers to help the townspeople make their selections. The overwhelming response from residents and volunteers alike was deep gratitude and sincere appreciation that The Salvation Army was there helping with such basic needs.
“We really appreciate The Salvation Army being here helping our community,we need it and you guys are a great support,” said Mike Porter, thePresident of the Margaretville Fire Department and Communications Officer.“So far, we’ve been at it for days and have had 48 rescues already. Now, volunteers from Stanford, Andes and Halcottsville are here helping with pumps and clean-up. The Salvation Army is taking care of all of us with food.”

See more Photos Here.

Denim at a Discount for Donating!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let’s be honest. We all have that one pair of jeans we’ve been holding onto that were either:

a) way too expensive

2) nostalgic or

3) reminiscent of smaller sizes past.

It’s time to upgrade! And now that The Salvation Army has partnered with Stein Mart stores, there’s even more incentive to make the break from that incorrigible pair.

Pass on that denim-love to someone in need!

Stein Mart stores’ annual Denim Trade-In Event begins next week! From September 6-11, you can recycle your old threads in exchange for new denim at a discount. Your old jeans will be donated to your local Salvation Army.

Stein Mart stores offer fashion merchandise, awesome service and presentation at competitive prices. Check out more info on their website or Facebook page!

Your donation supports The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers nationwide. Learn more by Clicking Here.

National Preparedness Month – Part 1

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The following was contributed by Guest Blogger Jeff Jellets, Territorial Disaster Coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Southern Headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

September is National Preparedness Month.

The timing is always curious to me. September is the historical peak of hurricane season and most years, I’m way too busy responding to a looming tropical cyclone to think – at that point anyway — much of preparedness. When you live in the path of hurricanes, the best time to prepare is … well … way before September 1st.

But September 2011 also marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a terrible event that also serves as a somber reminder that America, as a people and a nation, must be always be prepared. As www.ready.gov, FEMA’s disaster preparedness website, succinctly states September 2011 marks a “Time To Remember. A Time To Prepare.”

And, while most of my Septembers have been preoccupied with the paths and intensities of tropical storms, 9/11 has always remained a day apart. I served in New York City at the World Trade Center site, and not a year passes in my life when that day is not marked in remembrance. I am sure most Americans will take “Time To Remember” those that were lost on that terrible day in 2001 and, like me, will also take time to honor all those who continue to serve our great country today.

But what does “A Time To Prepare” really mean?

First, prepare yourself, your family and your home. This means developing a family disaster plan, building a family disaster kit, and protecting your home from the most common disaster hazards. For example, every home should have a smoke detector to protect your family from fire, and every home should have a weather radio to warn your family of dangerous weather. What if you had to evacuate? Where would you go? If your family was separated in emergency, how would you reconnect with one another after reaching safe locations? These are questions you should answer long before disasters threaten.

Don’t let your family become disaster victims! Be survivors. By preparing, you not only protect yourself and those you love, but you also put yourself into a position where you are much more likely to be able to help others. Just as importantly, by being ready to take care of yourself, you allow professional emergency responders to focus their attention on life-saving efforts for others who may be trapped are in the areas hardest hit by the disaster.

Second, prepare your community. And in this sense, I mean community in the broadest sense of the word. First, you need to think about your neighborhood. In an emergency, it is often your neighbors who will be the first people to rush to help. In a catastrophic incident, like an earthquake or ice storm, where whole communities are affected, professional emergency responders may need to time to reach your particular area. Know the people in your neighborhood who have special needs, such as the elderly or small children, and plan to check-in on them during a crisis to ensure they are okay. Likewise, identify people in your neighborhood with special skills or training. If a doctor or nurse lives on your block, that’s important to know.

Now extend your community preparedness efforts beyond where you live. Think about where you work, where your children go to school or daycare, where you worship, and even the car you drive. Disasters can occur at any time or place … so it is just as important to have a disaster plan for your workplace or church and a disaster kit in your car as well as your home. Talk to your children’s school or daycare about their emergency plans and make sure they have a procedure for reunifying you with your child in the event of an emergency.

Third, prepare to help others. Once you have taken care of yourself, your family and your community, then you can start thinking about helping others. The most important thing to remember here is to help appropriately. In the United States, most municipalities have a disaster response and recovery plan coordinated by a local emergency management agency. If you want to help, you have to fit into that plan. One of the easiest ways to do so is to affiliate with an existing voluntary agency, like The Salvation Army, or check to see if your community supports a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Another important point to remember is that training is essential. The Salvation Army, among other voluntary agencies, offers disaster training. If you are not sure where to start, let me recommend basic first aid and CPR. Basic lifesaving skills have application far beyond just disaster response; even on the quietest day, someone around you might become injured or ill and it may be up to you to help save their life.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you by this point to take emergency preparedness a bit more seriously this September than you have in the past. If so, let me give you one more challenge – Don’t stop preparing on September 31st!

As Spencer W. Kimball said, “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.” Make your emergency preparedness and planning efforts more than a one month endeavor. Revisit and update your family and neighborhood disaster plans periodically. Change the supplies in your family disaster kit so the food, water, batteries and other perishables stay fresh. In short, don’t let the major lessons of past disasters fade away.

Stay tuned for “What’s In Your Disaster Kit?” in Part 2 of our National Preparedness Month blog – coming soon!

Providing Relief in Upstate New York

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Salvation Army is working to care for thousands of evacuees in Upstate New York. Flooding in several towns has caused blocked roads creating travel difficulties for residents. Six mobile canteen units have been deployed to the affected areas, providing relief for towns such as Schenectady, Delhi, Roxbury, Margaretville, Fleischmanns and Schoharie. Emergency disaster teams will work to support these areas with limited resources, providing the much needed food, drinks, and additional relief to community members and first responders.

The Salvation Army sent baby formula, food and diapers sent to the towns of Margaretville and Fleischmanns. 2,000 clean-up kits were provided in Oneonta to assist those families with damaged homes. 1,000 more kits will be delivered to eight impacted areas in the Mid-Hudson region. An additional 1,000 kits will be provided for distribution on Long Island.

In addition, Walmart donated two semi-truckloads of drinking water. This generous donation was sent to hospitals and nursing homes in Delaware County where contaminated water remains a major issue.

The Salvation Army is in need of donations to continue providing relief to thousands across the East Coast. Donations can be made online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Or, use your mobile phone to text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

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