How it all started
The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that impacted Galveston, TX on September 8, 1900, literally destroying the coastal city and killing over 5,000 people. At the behest of National Commander Frederick Booth-Tucker, Army officers from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help clean, feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed spiritual and emotional support.With that order, The Salvation Army’s Disaster Services program was born.
First on the Scene. Last to Leave.
The Salvation Army continues to work closely with federal, state and local authorities to assist in responding to natural and man-made disasters wherever and whenever they occur. In the past few years, our command has responded to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and many other disasters in our community, state, and territory.
Natural disasters strike without much warning, so we are ready to jump into action on short notice. We gather donations and resources in a predetermined staging area to be ready to help as soon as the local government declares the area safe to enter. Our disaster teams offer food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities for survival. Emotional and spiritual care is available for those coping with grief, loss and other trauma associated with the disaster event.
The Salvation Army disaster response teams are coordinated and directed by trained personnel and supported by volunteers. Disaster volunteers are known as our Special Forces. They assist in preparing and serving food to those affected by tragedy as well as the first responders.
Our Special Forces team members have gone through disaster training and are aware of the policies and procedures The Salvation Army has put in place to act as efficiently and effectively as possible. Members of the Special Forces sacrifice their time, energy, and efforts because of their desire to help those in need, and The Salvation Army could not be more grateful to have a group of individuals willing to help when needed.
To learn more about becoming a Special Forces team member, please contact Taylor Hart at 601-982-4881.
Helping from Home
Many individuals have commitments that do not allow them to physically help at disaster sites, but you can still be instrumental in the recovery process! The greatest need during a disaster is for cash donations, which allow responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods.
If you would like to donate items, please call beforehand and see what the greatest need is. While gently used clothing is vital to the Salvation Army Family Store, it is typically not needed during disasters. Consider donating cleaning supplies, water, non-perishable food, diapers, and care packages instead. Care packages include shampoo, conditioner, soap, a cloth rag, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene products. We ask that these donations come separated by gender and age, so we can easily distribute them. Salvation Army disaster services are funded entirely by donors, and The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief operations.
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