Multiple Feeding Units Respond To Ruston Tornado

Ruston, LA (April 26, 2019) — The Salvation Army has deployed three mobile feeding units to Ruston after a tornado ripped through that community yesterday morning, resulting in a considerable amount of debris from damaged commercial buildings, residential homes, and downed powerlines and trees. The city is home to Louisiana Tech which has a student population of approximately 12,000. The school experienced damage to its field house and a significant amount of debris scattered around campus.

In the aftermath of the storm, debris removal teams are in force to help bring some normalcy back to the community. The three Salvation Army mobile feeding units from Alexandria, Monroe and Shreveport will also be out in force today to provide meals, snacks and hydration to affected residents and debris removal teams. Captain Jerome “Jerry” Casey of the Monroe Corps is serving as Incident Commander and has been on the scene with the Monroe unit since early yesterday. He stated, “We’re meeting a lot of grateful people and they’re glad that we’re here. Some of them don’t understand why this happened. So we’re doing some spiritual nourishing as well as physical.” said Captain Casey. “There’s a community that’s hit, there’s a school that’s hit, there’s businesses that’s hit. So, we’re serving a lot of people in different situations,” he said.

Yesterday, The Salvation Army provided 160 meals, 160 drinks, and 250 snacks to tornado survivors in Ruston. The Salvation Army’s service to the Ruston community continues today.

Severe Weather Outbreak Leaves Path of Destruction across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Hamilton, MS (April 14,2019)— The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division experienced a round of severe weather beginning Saturday, April 13, 2019 which has left a path of destruction throughout the three states to include downed trees and power lines, flash flooding and structural damage to more than a few communities.

Now that the system has exited the Division and moved into Georgia, Salvation Army representatives are assessing the current and future needs of the affected areas with local emergency management.

Thus far, the most severely damaged area lies in the rural community of Hamilton, Mississippi located in Monroe County. This close-knit community was struck by a tornado on Saturday evening, resulting in one confirmed fatality. The area is served by the Columbus Mississippi Salvation Army Corps which operates at the command of Lieutenant Christian Smith.

Unfortunately, Lt. Smith is no stranger to tornadoes. His own community was struck by an EF-3 tornado on February 24, 2019. For the February event, Lt. Smith quickly mobilized the Corps mobile feeding unit to provide snacks, hydration and emotional and spiritual care for Columbus residents. Once again, he is coordinating efforts to provide similar service delivery for Hamilton residents.

Lieutenant Smith reports, “As an ordained minister and a resident of north Mississippi, it is my honor to serve those affected by such a devastating storm. It is amazing how a snack or hot meal received from the hands of those who care not only nourishes the body, but the soul.”

A two-person team and mobile feeding unit from Tupelo, MS is also en route to support the efforts of the Columbus Corps.

Across the state line in Alabama the Salvation Army Dothan and Montgomery Corps will be serving along with the Pike County Service Center to provide service delivery in the community of Troy, Alabama.

(Photo is courtesy of Tupelo Corps: Lt. Thomas Johnson and Mr. William Archie preparing the mobile feeding unit with supplies)

To donate to The Salvation Army’s tornado relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org.

Finding Shelter & Success in Monroe, Louisiana

Before Monica met Captain Jerry Casey, Corps Officer of The Salvation Army in Monroe, Louisiana, she had never found a place that provided the support she needed. “I was an addict. And I had lost everything,” says Monica. “Captain Casey said I could come stay here,” she says, referring to The Salvation Army shelter in Monroe. Her addiction had made it difficult to rebuild her life. Her options of places to stay and people to spend time with had not worked to provide the stability she needed to make a lasting, positive change in her life. But after meeting with Captain Casey, Monica found what she needed at The Salvation Army shelter.

“It’s more than just a place to stay,” says Monica. It is a place where she was able to find the opportunity to make real changes in her life. She is still working on it, but she is not walking this path alone. Monica says that with the stability she found at The Salvation Army shelter and with the continuing help of Captain Casey, she is making progress in her journey. “He and I will sit down to talk from time to time. He’ll see how I am and where I’m going, and he’ll see if I have any other options like AA or other treatment programs,” she says. She says her journey was made easier during her time at the shelter. “It’s really safe and comfortable,” she says, referring to the shelter. Meals are available every morning and evening, and the opportunity for emotional and spiritual care is also available. Monica describes the shelter as a real community. “He’s a really fair man.  Really good to his clients” she says of Captain Casey. Now that she is no longer staying at the shelter, Monica knows that the support she found in that community is still there. “If I need anything, he’ll go out of his way to help out,” she says.

Monica’s story is not unique, but she is grateful for the help she found. “I’ve been homeless for about a year and then I found a place,” she says. Now out of the shelter and living on her own, Monica enjoys returning to volunteer at the shelter, giving back to the community that helped her so much. “Thank God for Captain Casey,” says Monica.