Communities Rally in Support of Wildfire Victims

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Salvation Army opened a new Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center in Austin on Friday. The center, located at 12317 Technology Blvd. Suite 300, serves as a distribution point for donated items to wildfire survivors. Families and individuals who lost their homes can select donated items: clothing, shoes, toiletries, water and household items. Additionally, The Salvation Army is providing gift cards to those in need.

Seventy-eight volunteers responded to our appeal for help last week and sorted through the overwhelming number of items received from donations. The KXAN’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign brought in several truck loads of items. Many thanks to the dedicated volunteers and staff who helped organize and distribute the donations!

Although the fires in Bastrop County have been mostly contained, the distribution center will remain open this week, Monday-Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army mobile feeding units are still active in Bastrop County, providing food and drinks to those in need. Since arriving in Bastrop County, Salvation Army feeding units have served more than 23,500 drinks, 6,000 snacks and 1,600 meals.

For more information on The Salvation Army distribution, please call (512) 476-1111.

If you’d like to donate monetarily, you can do so online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Checks can be sent to:

The Salvation Army
PO BOX 36607
Dallas, TX 75235

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Update: Salvation Army Disaster Relief

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Salvation Army continues to provide emergency relief services to those struggling with the double blow of Tropical Storm Lee and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Some areas along the Northeast coast were hit with both storms. Continued flooding and a serious lack of resources have made living conditions extremely difficult for those in the impacted areas.

Within the last two weeks, The Salvation Army has served more than 515,000 meals, snacks and drinks to victims and emergency responders along the East Coast, using 76 emergency response vehicles.

“Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene did a one – two punch, severely increasing the need in flood impacted northeastern states. Nevertheless, The Salvation Army is there, serving and providing relief services to all community members in need”, said Major George Hood Community Relations & Development Secretary.

Here are the most recent updates:

In Pennsylvania:

The Salvation Army is feeding at ten Red Cross shelters and has deployed six canteens to assist.

In Vermont:

The Salvation Army is providing meals in the areas of Rutland and Waterbury.

In New York:

The Salvation Army is still feeding evacuees and emergency responders from mobile canteens in various New York towns such as Schenectady, Margaretville, Fleischmanns, Binghamton, Nichols and Sydney.

Salvation Army personnel are stationed at three Disaster Assistance Centers in Delaware, Schenectady and Schoharie counties. Centers are in operation from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

In Amsterdam, a feeding support is set up at the Montgomery County shelter. In Schenectady, a shelter is provided at the Schenectady High School.

In Massachusetts:

The Salvation Army deployed emergency relief teams to the areas of New Bedford, Attleboro and Metro Boston to provide food, drinks and clean-up kits.

The best way that you can help us provide is to donate monetarily. Donations can be made online by visiting www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

You can also text the word ‘STORM’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your cell phone.

Checks should be designated “2011 Hurricane Season” and can be sent to:

Disaster Gift Processing Center

PO B ox 1959

Atlanta, GA 30301

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Salvation Army Readies for Tropical Storm Lee

Friday, September 2, 2011

As the storm system threatens Tropical Storm Lee and twenty inches of rain on parts of the Gulf Coast, The Salvation Army is prepared to provide relief if disaster strikes.

Read more about the coming storm here.

Flash flooding remains a concern for residents of these states. Salvation Army offices in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are geared up with 24 mobile feeding units and a gigantic field kitchen in case a response is necessary. We are also prepared to provide clean-up kits, water, shower units, first-aid supplies, and spiritual care.
The Salvation Army would like to encourage residents in the path of this storm to prepare for Emergency. Read more about how you can stay prepared by Clicking Here.

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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.

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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!

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The Salvation Army Prepares for National Emergency

Friday, August 26, 2011

In preparation for Hurricane Irene, all divisions of The Salvation Army stand ready to support the impacted areas along the East Coast between the Carolinas and New England.

Although the hurricane has not yet hit the U.S. coast, Commissioner William Roberts declared the storm a national disaster today after confirmation that the hurricane, which is predicted to affect multiple states, will definitely make landfall. The Salvation Army has ensured that all units throughout the United States are on alert and prepared with staff, equipment and supplies.

Mobile feeding units throughout the country are standing by, ready to provide hundreds of thousands of meals per day if called upon. In the Carolinas alone, 30 mobile canteens are set up and an Incident Command Team, established in Charlotte, is ready to deploy once the storm passes.

Salvation Army efforts continue to support the 800,000 impacted by Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico. Shelters continue to be available in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix. In the Bahamas, food and water has been distributed to the Kingston emergency operations center.

“As The Salvation Army now moves into strategic positions that will put us directly at the point of need, we are praying for all of those who will be caught in the direct path of this very large storm”, said Major George Hood, National Communications and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army.

Please make sure you are prepared with a plan in case of emergency. Critical decisions need to be made ahead of time, before the storm makes landfall.

Please Check back for updates. You can also find updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Monetary donations can be made online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by texting the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone.*

* A one‐time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging & data rates may apply. Donations are collected for The Salvation Army by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 85944 to stop. Reply HELP to 85944 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.

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The Salvation Army Responding to Lincoln, CA Fire

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A propane rail tanker fire has residents in Lincoln, California evacuating their homes while Firefighters let the tanker burn itself out.

The Salvation Army has been aiding local evacuees by providing Emergency Disaster Services canteens at the Lincoln Community Center and two other sites. The Salvation Army has served more than 600 meals while the mandatory evacuation is in place. It’s still unclear how the tanker caught fire.

Almost 5,000 homes in the city of 40,000 people were evacuated due to the burning propane and potentially catastrophic explosion that could ensue. Although the heat is intense and thus slowing their efforts, firefighters are still working on the burning process and expect that the blaze should be under control within 24 hours. The mandatory evacuation will remain in place at least through the end of today.

The Salvation Army will be set up to help those in need until the area is deemed safe.

If you’d like to make a donation for this relief, please visit GoSalArmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. All donations should be designated “Lincoln Fire.”

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Disaster Relief Efforts, please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Update on Hurricane Irene

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

800,000 people in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are currently without electricity due to Hurricane Irene. Storm damage involved flooding, fallen trees, and roof damage. Thankfully, the damage was not as severe as originally anticipated and no fatalities have been reported.

The Emergency Operations Center in Puerto Rico remains open and the Divisional Headquarters Facility is fully operational. A Salvation Army Liaison Officer is also present at the scene.

There have been minimal requests for service received with some Corps providing small amounts of support to Corps members, the homeless, sick, and disabled. Salvation Army shelters have opened in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix.

The storm has since strengthened with the possibility of turning into a Category 4 by Saturday’s expected landfall in the southeast. This is the first hurricane in almost three years to seriously threaten the U.S.. The Salvation Army continues to meet, plan, and prepare for the coming storm.

Check back here for updates. You can also visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-date news.

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Salvation Army Readies for Hurricane Irene

Monday, August 22, 2011

As Hurricane Irene strikes the coast of Puerto Rico and gradually moves towards Florida and South Carolina, The Salvation Army stands ready to spring into action. The storm, currently producing 80 mph winds, is expected to hit the East Coast on Saturday.

Major damage in Puerto Rico was evidenced over the weekend resulting in half of the island experiencing no electricity and leaving many people without water. The significant possibility of other severe storms, tornados, and flooding has residents in all parts of Florida to the Carolinas keeping a close eye on the threatening storm.

The Salvation Army is prepared in the case that Hurricane Irene makes landfall. Specifically, the Florida Division of the Salvation Army is equipped with 40 mobile kitchens, shower trailers, field kitchens, and additional equipment strategically placed around the state.

We’d like to encourage you to prepare an emergency supply kit, make an evacuation plan, and stay on top of all storm warnings. Please check back for updates. You can also find updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Salvation Army Provides Water to Drought-Hit Communities in Kenya

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Salvation Army is responding to the drought crisis in East Africa by providing water to the people of the Turkana region of northern Kenya. Due to the current scarcity, people in this region are forced to travel more than two miles on average to access water. As a result, schools are closing because they lack the funds to pay food and water bills.

The Salvation Army is funding almost $50,000 to cover the fuel, labor, and maintenance costs for water tanks and tractors for six months. Water will be collected from boreholes, transported to the large water tanks, and taken to communities and schools in Turkana. Some of the funds will improve storage facilities of schools and villages.

This plan will provide around 5,000 villagers and 2,000 schoolchildren with clean, safe water. The efforts will also decrease the distance travelled to fetch water and reduce the risk of women being abused as they seek water in isolated locations.

Donations to the Africa Disaster Fund at International Headquarters can be made online at www.salvationarmy.org.

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