The Salvation Army’s preparations for Tropical Storm Barry have been in full swing over the weekend, as staff and volunteers worked hard to get ready for the impact of the storm. Barry made landfall as a hurricane early Saturday afternoon near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and quickly weakened back to tropical storm status. It’s still too early to breathe a collective sigh of relief, however, as the storm system is moving very slowly there is still the possibility of severe flooding. Tropical Storm Barry could potentially dump a tremendous amount of rain on already strained waterways. The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division stands ready and prepared to serve as needed, with the bulk of activity so far being in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Terry Lightheart, the ALM Division Emergency Disaster Services Director stated, “Preparedness and partnerships are key to an effective disaster relief response and recovery. The Salvation Army seeks to “Do the Most Good” which includes providing much-needed resources to the communities where we serve in a time of need.”
Beginning on Friday, The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans has been serving three meals a day from their mobile feeding unit (canteen) to local Department of Transportation employees who are stationed at Baby Cakes Field to inspect a fleet of buses on standby for evacuations. Lunch on Friday included sandwiches donated by Subway. The Salvation Army New Orleans Area Command also spent much of the day preparing their Center of Hope shelter for an expected increase of shelter residents as a result of the storm. Employees unloaded pallets of drinks donated by PepsiCo and moved them, along with water and other supplies, to the fourth floor of the shelter to prepare for the possibility of flooding.
The Baton Rouge Corps of The Salvation Army has also been busy in the community and at their shelter, taking full advantage of the lead-time that an event like this gives for preparation. “The good thing about hurricanes is you know they’re coming. You do get to prepare at least,” said Major Donald Tekautz, Baton Rouge Salvation Army Corps Officer. At the request of the Cajun Navy on Thursday, the Baton Rouge Salvation Army provided hydration at one of the main sandbagging locations in town. They also helped to fill sandbags and even sent Salvation Army volunteers to drop off sandbags to elderly residents who otherwise would not have been able to get them. The Baton Rouge Corps continued to help with sandbagging efforts on Friday and Saturday. The Salvation Army shelter in Baton Rouge was also a hub of storm prep over the weekend, with employees stocking the warehouse with disaster relief items such as bottled water, clean up kits, cots, and personal hygiene kits. Extra food was also put in place in the shelter kitchen in anticipation of a storm-related surge in shelter occupancy.
Disaster personnel from across The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division are gearing up to respond to the effects of what is predicted to be the first hurricane of the season. The National Hurricane Center has reported the tropical system is expected to make landfall in the next 48 hours producing heavy rainfall and flooding.
Preparation for this event began days ago when the ALM Division placed as many as 28 Salvation Army units on standby. These units are prepared, as needed, to provide disaster relief equipment and personnel to affected areas along the Gulf Coast and affected areas inland. Service delivery will include the deployment of canteens stocked with meals, snacks and hydration and trained personnel to provide emotional and spiritual care. Each mobile feeding unit (canteen) has the capacity to provide anywhere from 500 to 1,000 meals per day.
To maintain situational awareness, The Salvation Army disaster personnel are working in close coordination with local and state emergency management partners which aids in the identification of the most affected areas and determination of entering that area when it is deemed safe to do so.
Terry Lightheart, the ALM Division Emergency Disaster Services Director stated, “Preparedness and partnerships are key to an effective disaster relief response and recovery. The Salvation Army seeks to “Do the Most Good” which includes providing much-needed resources to the communities where we serve in a time of need.”
For additional information, go to https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/news/
If anyone wants to help, we are not accepting in-kind donations at this time. To make a financial contribution please go to helpsalvationarmy.org.
As the first potential hurricane of 2019 brews in the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Division disaster personnel are working closely with local and state emergency management officials to monitor the situation.
Severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, and localized flooding have already occurred in New Orleans. The National Hurricane Center is predicting similar conditions to continue over the next 48-72 hours as the system tracks along the coastline from Mississippi to Texas and many parts inland.
The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services disaster relief includes providing food, water, and emotional and spiritual care to residents in the affected areas and first responders.
“Good afternoon, thank you so much for calling The Salvation Army’s ‘Do Good Day’ phone bank!” That was the greeting callers heard as they phoned into The Salvation Army of Jackson, Mississippi’s inaugural “Do Good Day” event. It was a “Mediathon,” where for 18 hours, with phone lines open as early as 4:30 am, the community called, texted, and hand-delivered cash to help support The Salvation Army’s life changing services for those in need.
Donations began early, as every broadcast media outlet in the city came out to partner with and support the work of The Salvation Army. As live reports flooded the airwaves in the morning, drivers on their way into work could hear the message, “It’s Do Good Day!” on local radio across the dial. Billboards lit up the early morning streets and stayed running all throughout the day, reminding the community that June 27, 2019 was a very good day to do the most good for their community.
The event was a first in the Jackson community. The first with such a broad reach, and the first with so much cooperation and support from local businesses and local media. Do Good Day was the story of the day across the Jackson metro area. “It’s a broad range, multi-media event to raise awareness and money for the missions of The Salvation Army. We say missions because there is a lot we are doing,” said Jackson Development Director and event organizer, Jennifer Bennett.
And those missions are many. The Salvation Army mission is “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.” Those needs can include something as immediate as emergency services, as simple as a meal, or as enriching as art education for the next generation. The message of Do Good Day was that the community can help to support these services as volunteers and as donors.
It was a message heard throughout the Jackson area as media outlets, in partnership with The Salvation Army helped raise awareness all day. More than a simple news story, it was an event seen and felt all throughout the community. It was a day where people could see the work of The Salvation Army as more than Red Kettles at Christmas. It was a day when the mission of The Salvation Army became the mission of the people of Jackson. And it was a day where those people raised over $50,000 in donations.
The all-day media event that helped raise that money also raised awareness of how The Salvation Army is making a difference in Jackson. Donations help feed and house people in need. They also make a difference in the lives of children and families. Donors to The Salvation Army do good every day.