International Disaster Relief Update

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salvation Army in Indonesia Provides Help to Volcano Evacuees

Salvation Army teams in Indonesia continue to help those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Java. At least 138 people are known to have been killed and more than 200,000 evacuated.

It’s been a dangerous and difficult time for our workers and those of other NGO’s. A team from the Salvation Army’s William Booth Hospital in the city of Semarang originally responded to the first eruption during the end of October and set up operations only 8 km from Mt. Merapi. But after another, more violent eruption on November 3, they and everyone else in the area had to be evacuated immediately with no time to recover tents, supplies, or resources.

Our team is now working at a safer distance (approx. 36 km front the volcano) at Tlogoadi Village Elementary School assisting 692 displaced people, including 140 children.

The circumstances are difficult in their makeshift shelter – there’s a lack of nutritious food, clean water for drinking and bathing, and not enough toilets (10 for 692 people). But The Salvation Army is providing as much support as possible with medical care and nutrient-rich food such as noodles, sardines, eggs, milk, and porridge. Local women from Tlogoadi are helping cook.

The Salvation Army Emergency team will continue working in the area until the volcano settles and people are allowed to return home.

Salvation Army Responds as Tomas Storms Across the Caribbean

The Salvation Army across the Caribbean is responding to damage caused by Tropical Storm Tomas. Some countries like Haiti experienced overall minimal damage. For others, it was a much different story.

In Barbados, Salvation Army Major Dewhurst Jonas described it as “the worst storm to hit…since Hurricane Janet in 1955.” On the north side of the island many homes and businesses suffered significant damage, along with some Salvation Army properties. Most homes were left without water or power, and those of some Salvationists were destroyed completely.

In response, The Salvation Army quickly provided those affected with hot meals, shelter and basic necessities, for which the Barbados government expressed their deep appreciation.

In St Lucia, where 14 lives were lost in the storm, the Army is providing relief assistance in cooperation with NEMO, the government’s National Emergency Measures Organization, to offer counseling and some daily feeding programs.

A local Salvation Army leader reported widespread damage across the island including destroyed homes, fallen trees, downed utility lines, flooding, and landslides.

In St Vincent The Salvation Army is offering assistance as needed, Jamaica appears to have faced little damage, and Haiti seems to have fared well where one report describes it as ‘business as usual’.

A Paper Angel, A Country Star

Monday, November 8, 2010

Country music star Jimmy Wayne will be performing in Nashville tonight at the ‘A Gathering of Angels Benefit Concert’ to promote our Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program.

As an advocate of Angel Tree, Jimmy’s doing more than just promoting a good cause. He knows from personal experience the incredible hope it provides to those in need.

Jimmy survived a turbulent childhood and bounced around from foster home to foster home with his sister before ending up on the streets. During those difficult years they were also adopted angels, receiving Christmas presents from kind, anonymous donors through the Angel Tree program. The gifts were a source of cheer amidst an otherwise dark time.

The experience was so important to him that it inspired his 2004 hit song “Paper Angels,” referring to the angel shaped tags which represent the Christmas wishes of children and seniors up for “adoption.”

I wonder, did Jimmy ever imagine that one day he would be on the other side serving as a voice for a program from which he once received support? I don’t know, but the generosity of others certainly resulted in a life-changing impact on the course of his life (while a homeless teenager, an elderly couple adopted him for real and set him on the course for college and a music career).

By adopting an angel this holiday season through our Angel Giving Tree online program, you too can have a significant, positive effect on the life of a child or senior in need – we have more than 140,000 signed up this year. Just go to jcp.com/angel, or watch the video below to learn more.

Thanks for your support!

Haiti/Hurricane Tomas Update

Monday, November 8, 2010

While the world held its breath as Hurricane Tomas hit Haiti this weekend, we’re thankful to report that the tent cities under The Salvation Army’s care in Port-au-Prince seem to have fared well amidst the storm.

According to a brief update from The Salvation Army’s Major Rae Doliber, it appeared to be “business as usual” when he visited the camps in the neighborhood of Delmas 2.

He added, “While the rains washing down the mountainside resulted in pooling water and debris, tents appear to be standing strong with a few tarps flapping in the breeze. People were setting up shop like nothing was going on.”

We’re happy that damage appears to be minimal in a community that has already lost so much. Please continue praying for Haitians and aid workers in the country, especially as cholera and waterborne diseases pose a significant threat to the population.

Introducing Garbage Bag Couture

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go to your closet and pick out your nicest dress. Now throw it on the floor because you can’t be caught dead in that at tonight’s event hosted by The Salvation Army of Pittsburgh.

Forget sequins and silk. Trash bags are all the rage this evening at The 9th Annual Garbage Bag Gala where you’ll find “Pittsburgh’s classiest guys and girls” gathered for “this season’s trashiest event.”

The gala is a unique fundraiser to raise money for homeless families living at The Salvation Army’s East Liberty Family Caring Center. Instead of spending money on a new outfit, partygoers donate the funds to The Salvation Army where they’ll be used to support family center residents. Oh ya, and as a fun twist, attendees create evening attire out of plastic garbage bags!

For more information, find the Gala on Facebook (The 2010 Garbage Bag Gala) or visit their website at garbagebaggala.com.