Grateful Communities Receive Meals from The Salvation Army

Salvation Army mobile kitchens from Texas deployed into impacted areas of Louisiana on Tuesday, delivering close to 9,000 meals to individuals and families struggling after Hurricane Ida. Many communities remain without power, with storm debris and isolated flooding causing additional challenges.

The Incident Command Post in Gonzales, LA, was fully functional early on Tuesday morning, and the ongoing collaboration with the Southern Baptist Convention Texas Field Kitchen saw food being prepared and loaded onto waiting Salvation Army mobile units by mid-morning. Units each received their assignments, driving for the first time into communities in the southern region of the state with several traveling more than an hour to specified locations.

“The first day of disaster operations is always something of a challenge,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “There are so many moving parts to an operation of this scale and there remains a number of significant unknowns. We have crews driving on roads that may be flooded in places, blocked with trees and down power lines, and pulling into communities for the first time. As well as service delivery we continue on something of a fact-finding mission. I am so proud of our Salvation Army staff and volunteers who have worked around the clock to get this command post operational and are already delivering practical assistance to those in need.”

Close to 9,000 meals were served on Tuesday, in more than 10 cities. In several locations, the arrival of The Salvation Army mobile units was met with long lines of traffic with residents eager to receive their first hot meal since Hurricane Ida moved through Louisiana, leaving so many without power. “God bless you for being here and helping us,” said a grateful resident of Hammond, LA, who had patiently waited in the drive through line to receive 5 meals for their family. “We heard The Salvation Army would be coming today and you all are a real blessing. Thank you!”

On Wednesday, mobile units will be serving in Hammond (2 units), Houma (2 units), Thibodaux (2 units), Kenner (2 units), Livingston Parrish (2 units), Baton Rouge, La Place, Napoleonville (2 units), Gonzales, and two units will be roaming in affected communities.

Seven additional units arrived at the Incident Command Post from the Oklahoma Arkansas Division on Tuesday evening and will further expand the reach and capacity of assistance in the coming days. Salvation Army operations are also in place in other impacted areas of the state including New Orleans and the Gulfport region.

“We anticipate ramping up service to close to 20,000 meals a day. Our team continues to assess the specific needs of communities impacted by Hurricane Ida,” said Migues. “We’re off to a tremendous start and our staff and dedicated volunteers are focused and prepared to deliver meals, water, and a word of encouragement and a prayer to those we encounter.”

Donated Polaris ATVs and Generators Used to Support Hurricane Ida Response Effort

The Salvation Army is using two ATVs and ten generators donated by the Polaris Corporation in support of Hurricane Ida response efforts in Louisiana. This equipment has already significantly enhanced the response effort and the effectiveness of the Incident Command Post.

Most of the area around the Incident Command Post, located in Gonzales, LA, is without power after Hurricane Ida moved through the area on Sunday, damaging much of the power grid. The Salvation Army Incident Command Team consists of more than 30 staff members and volunteers in addition to 11 mobile kitchens, a shower unit, bunk trailers, a command post, and more. Each of these units requires power to function.

“Setting up and getting any incident command post operational during a disaster is a logistical challenge at the best of times, never mind working without power,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “We are using the donated Polaris generators to power just about everything on site from our command post, shower unit, bunkhouses, radios, computers, and kitchen. Even the simplest of tasks would be significantly more difficult without power this week, and so we are very thankful for the gift of electricity and the generators from Polaris.”

Any response effort after a hurricane or tornado requires access to roads and neighborhoods that have experienced physical damage. The Texas IMT is currently deploying 18 mobile feeding units each day to impacted cities throughout southern Louisiana, delivering hot food and cold water to affected residents. This regularly means encountering down power lines and trees, storm debris blocking access, and damaged vehicles.

“Our full-size mobile kitchens and even our Rapid Response Units can sometimes find it impossible to get into affected neighborhoods,” said Migues. “This is where the Polaris ATVs are beneficial. We can deliver food and water to individuals and families that otherwise would be cut off until roads are cleared, which can sometimes take several days.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Polaris ATVs deployed for the first time. They delivered hot meals to homes without power in a neighborhood close to the Incident Command Post where power lines and trees obstructed the roads. Disaster volunteers delivered meals and water to several families who said that this assistance from The Salvation Army was the first help they had received since the storm passed.

“Corporate and community partnerships are key to any successful disaster response effort,” said Migues. “The Salvation Army is grateful for generous partners, like Polaris, who come alongside us with very practical support that makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.”

Salvation Army Serving Thousands of Meals Today in New Orleans Area

NEW ORLEANS, LA (September 1, 2021) – The Salvation Army has 15 mobile feeding units ready to distribute 17,500 meals to hardest hit areas left in Ida’s wake. The Emergency Operations Center has helped The Salvation Army identify areas most in need. Eight locations have been identified and will be receiving meals for lunch and dinner.

“Our disaster workers got in late last night and we are preparing to serve lunch and dinner today to anyone in need,” said Major Ed Binnix, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. “We are working with state and local officials to help coordinate and execute this as efficiently as possible. Get food and water to those people quickly.”

The following locations are being served for today. The Salvation Army is serving hot meals for lunch and dinner. Helping provide food and hydration to those still in need. The additional mobile feeding units will be roving helping to identify locations in need.

LUNCH LOCATIONS (12-2 PM):

  • Treme Recreation Center (900 N. Villere St)
  • Gernon Brown Recreation Center (1001 Harrison Ave)
  • Milne Recreation Center (5420 Franklin Ave)
  • Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center (4300 St. Claude)
  • John P. Lyons Recreation Center (624 Louisiana Ave)
  • Rosenwald Recreation Center ( 1120 S. Broad Ave.)

DINNER LOCATIONS (4-6 PM):

  • Joe W. Brown Recreation Center (5601 Read Blvd)
  • Cut Off Recreation Center (6600 Belgrade St.)

For more information on The Salvation Army’s continued response, visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. To make a financial gift to support Hurricane Ida relief:

  • Visit helpsalvationarmy.org
  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Text GIVE to 52000 to donate $10 automatically through your cell phone bill

International Students Volunteer with The Salvation Army in Hammond, LA

Word spread quickly in Hammond, LA, that a group was serving food at Zemurray Park on Tuesday. A steady line of cars reaching around the block greeted The Salvation Army mobile kitchen from Pasadena, TX, as it pulled into the parking lot.

Alicia, Nuria, and Paula are international music students from Spain enrolled in the master’s program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Alicia read on Instagram that lunch would be provided at the park, so the friends ventured out on their bicycles to see what they could find. They have been without power since Hurricane Ida moved through the area on Sunday evening.

The students have been in Louisiana for less than a month as classes started on August 9th. The news of an approaching hurricane was particularly frightening and daunting for the girls. “I was very afraid as we don’t have hurricanes in Spain,” said Nuria. “We put our clothes and belongings into bags and left our instruments in the music school as we didn’t want them to be damaged.”

Hurricane Ida caused loss of power in Hammond along with many other communities in the region. “The power went out about 6 PM on Sunday. We prepared for the worst and stayed in our apartment once the storm began,” said Alicia.

The girls were among the first people to greet Captain Dante Salgado and his crew once the mobile kitchen was in position. “We had just started to set up and they asked if there was anything they could do to help,” said Salgado. “In no time at all they were behind the serving table passing out hot dog plates and water to the line of cars. They took over the entire operation!”

After more than two hours serving grateful individuals and families from the community, the last plate was served. “We were very sad in our apartment this morning and came out today to find some help for ourselves,” said Nuria. “After meeting up with The Salvation Army team it was so nice to help other people in the same position as us, without power, and struggling.”

“We prepared for the storm as best we could. Other than losing power we are fine,” said Alicia. “It was good to get out of the apartment and I enjoyed helping today.”

The team served 1,748 meals in Hammond on Tuesday, enjoying great support from the community and local law enforcement. The Pasadena mobile kitchen will continue service in Hammond on Wednesday, while 10 additional units from Texas will work in other impacted communities. Seven additional units arrived on Tuesday evening from The Salvation Army in Oklahoma Arkansas to support response efforts.

Paula said, “I was feeling very homesick this morning, missing my family and my boyfriend. I like it here, but my English is not great, so sometimes it can be very difficult and discouraging. It was hot and hard work, but it felt good to help. There were so many people! I’m hoping we can come back and help The Salvation Army again tomorrow.”

 

 

Salvation Army Units From Across the Southeast Responding to Hurricane Ida

Jackson, MS (August 30, 2021) — Exactly sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina’s massive destruction, Hurricane Ida made landfall as a major hurricane in Louisiana on Sunday. With widespread power outages across the region, providing food, water, and other essential items to those in affected areas is crucial, and The Salvation Army is already helping in affected areas with more help on the way. Salvation Army disaster response units from locations throughout the Southeast are already en route to Louisiana to assist with relief efforts.

Salvation Army Emergency Incident Command Teams from Texas and Florida are joining with The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division Incident Command Team to serve across the affected areas of Louisiana. Canteens and crews are coming from all over the Southeast to assist. The Texas team arrived in Baton Rouge today. The ALM team will be arriving in New Orleans tomorrow, and the Florida team will be serving in the Southern Louisiana area.

“The Salvation Army stays prepared year-round to respond to disasters as they strike. We are often the first on the scene and the last to leave because these are our communities — where we live, work, and serve every day. We greatly appreciate the strong network of support available through our Salvation Army family throughout the country. They never hesitate to support us when extra help is needed for a large disaster event such as Hurricane Ida,” said William Trueblood, Salvation Army ALM Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director.

To support Hurricane Ida relief efforts, please go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations to support disaster relief.

For the latest information, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/SalArmyALM/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

Salvation Army Prepared to Respond to Hurricane Ida Along the Gulf Coast

Jackson, Mississippi (August 29, 2021) – The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster (EDS) teams in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) are closely monitoring and preparing for response to Hurricane Ida, forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane along the Gulf Coast later today. Salvation Army EDS teams in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and several other southern states are mobilizing personnel and units in anticipation of immediate response.

“We are working with Salvation Army teams from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Georgia to support our relief efforts following the arrival Hurricane Ida across the affected areas,” said William Trueblood, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division. “We are looking at having three separate manned feeding sites providing food for more than thirty canteens which will serve multiple hard-hit areas throughout the region as needed. A Texas Incident Managemnet Team (IMAT) is pre-staging in Beaumont, TX, and a Florida IMAT team is prestaging in Pensacola. The ALM IMAT team is meeting in Jackson and heading into New Orleans after the storm passes. We are currenty planning to have the IMAT teams set up and serving from Gonzales, New Orleans, and Biloxi, but these locations are subject to change depending on the outcome of the storm’s path.”

The Salvation Army EDS staff and volunteers are constantly ready to respond, often with very little notice, to provide support and assistance during times of disaster.

To support Hurricane Ida relief efforts, please go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations to support disaster relief.

For the latest information, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/SalArmyALM/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

Ambassadors For Good Day A Success

It’s Ambassadors for Good Day!

Camp Hidden Lake Is Back In Session!

It’s National Donut Day!

Keeping Community | Jackson Corps Senior Citizen Program

The Salvation Army of Jackson Corps hosts a year-round Senior Citizens Program where community members over 65-years meet for ministry, arts and crafts, and socialize. The program runs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 9 AM – 1 PM. Different activities are offered, such as health and nutrition classes, daily devotions, community gym, and workout classes. Representatives from companies throughout the community also come to speak with seniors to keep them abreast about life skills and what’s going on around Jackson. Examples of companies that visit are health insurance representatives, funeral home directors, and brokers. Seniors participate in many activities during each program session and end the day with snacks and lunch. Seniors also have opportunities to participate in different Salvation Army programs to share their talents.

“This program was designed for seniors. We take field trips, host programs, and many other activities. Right now, we have a partnership with Comcast, so we’re able to provide internet essentials to our seniors. We have a virtual session coming up where we will do our first Zoom session with the seniors to try to help them better navigate the computer and get them to be more comfortable,” Jackson Corps Community Center Director, Nita Humphrey.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have not been able to have the program on-site, so I’ve been checking on seniors to see if they need anything. We also do biweekly devotional conference calls to help with their spiritual growth. We have made it where we are available. They have my cell. Some of them call and need immediate assistance. Anything that they need, we are there to make sure that they are taken care of during this time,” Humphrey added.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how the program operates, but The Salvation Army and members of the program have stayed in touch throughout the past year in hopes of maintaining a sense of community. A few of the Senior Citizen Program members have been hospitalized, or in nursing homes, so Humphrey and officers go to them to provide community care. They take items that the seniors may need and attend funerals when members pass away. Humphrey contacts families on behalf of the Army to see if they need anything.

“We do the best that we can to make sure that we are there for them. And making sure they’re okay throughout their daily lives,” Humphrey added.

Building Community

Ms. Inez Rushing is one of the seniors who keeps in touch with members of the program.

“I’ve spoken with everyone individually. They tell me they miss The Salvation Army and wish we were back. Being unable to meet with our group or family members has been really hard on us,” Rushing shared.

“We’ve stayed creative and keep in touch with each other. This is the reason we’re part of the Senior Citizens Program; to meet and form a community within our age group.

What’s been most missed is in-person devotions and gym class. One of the seniors uses her local Kroger to work out. She uses a buggy for support and walks around the entire store for exercise. Other members have taken to walking around their homes and yards as their source of physical activity.

“The Salvation Army has helped me a lot. First thing in the mornings, we’d have devotion, prayer, and scripture reading. I like doing that. Sometimes we have a guest speaker and other times we have a chance to go to the gym. That helps strengthen my lungs because I have certain respiratory issues. Everything is organized. We have lunch after our activities, and we have recognized birthdays every three months. I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in planning the Christmas program, which I enjoy a lot,” Edna Rhodes, member of the Senior Citizens Program.

Isolation Amid A Pandemic

Many seniors spent their quarantine with family to avoid complete isolation. One member has an 82-year-old aunt who she’s taking care of during the pandemic. She’s able to assist her aunt, and her aunt keeps her company. The Salvation Army of Jackson’s Senior Program hosted a weekly devotion throughout the pandemic to ensure seniors don’t feel completely isolated or forgotten.

“We’re all retired, and most of us don’t have many places to go. I’ve missed gathering; talking to each other. I miss the food,” Rushing said.

“We’re anxious to return. We’ve kept in touch. We’ve shared phone numbers and have a great line of communication. We call ourselves The Salvation Army Senior Citizens Family,” Rushing added.

The Seniors began meeting in person on January 11, 2021. Social distancing is in place, and masks are required.

Bridging the Gap Between Youth and Law Enforcement with Vanessa Brown

Vanessa Brown, Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport Executive Director, is one of seven 2021 Maytag Dependable Leader Award (MDLA) recipients. She will receive $20,000 to use towards Boys and Girls Club program efforts in a safe, dependable place that enables young people to achieve their great futures. Brown received this national award because she has projected a reliable, positive impact on youth throughout the Shreveport community.

The MDLA award will be used to create a summer program – “Responding With Connections.”

Summer Camp

Brown got the idea for “Responding With Connections” because there’s a big disconnect between Shreveport youth and families and first responders.

“Responding With Connections” is the selected 2021 camp program. The Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport summer camp serves as a supervised environment where youth can develop into successful adults. Summer camp will take place June – July, Monday-Thursday, 10 AM – 3 PM, and is open to ages 6-13. High school-aged kids can come on Fridays and do “Dollar Days” where, for one dollar, they can enjoy all Boys and Girls Club activities, including lunch, snacks, sports, and just having fun.

“When I received the award, I said, ‘I have the best idea!’ I was so happy when they told me. I was like, ‘No way, no!’ because hundreds of people apply, and only seven are selected. I felt honored and blessed. The individuals who mentored me and helped me, I thank them,” Brown shared.

A superhero theme will accompany the “Responding With Connections” program. Brown feels that first responders are the superheroes of our communities. She will use The Avengers and other themes to assist in intriguing kids in learning more about first responders.

The Avengers is one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. I’d like to incorporate some Avenger themes in accordance to which first responder presents and how their job relates to a Marvel hero’s powers,” Brown stated.

“The goal is to be able to establish a connection that enables a positive response. When first responders visit the Boys and Girls Club, they can see young individuals who have a bright future but may have some obstacles against them. In turn, the youth will see the human behind the uniform. I want to establish those connections that will enable us to have a positive connection and a positive future.”

“Responding With Connections” will include field trips to local agencies and scheduled community events. Law enforcement and first responders will see the Boys and Girls Club facilities and meet individuals in the community that they serve outside of their regular job duties. First responder mentorships will also be arranged for students. Paramedics, police officers, and firefighters will be able to visit and mentor community youth and teach them about their daily job duties, introducing possible career fields to community youth.

Law enforcement will also visit four times a week to teach basic survival lessons that may not be taught in school, such as fire safety, what to do when a police officer pulls you over, signs of a stroke, and other essential life skills.

Changing the Conversation

Brown hopes that a structured environment will help to find the disconnect between law enforcement and low-income communities.

“There’s so much violence in the world. Law enforcement does not have a good connection with youth and vice versa. We can start to change that. My goal is when they interact outside of the Boys and Girls Club, there’s already an established connection and not a blind face-to-face meet.”

“I think if the world could understand each other better, there would be less tension and fewer casualties. Both community and law enforcement have to understand that.”

Brown has been part of the Boys and Girls Club Movement for five years. She began her journey at the Boys and Girls of Nothern Louisiana, and transferred to Shreveport a few years ago. She briefly participated in her local Boys and Girls Club as a youth but didn’t feel that she received adequate mentorship. She wanted to change that conversation.

“I did not specifically need Boys and Girls Club growing up. I lived in a well-rounded household, but my mom wanted me to interact with my peers. We lived fairly close to my local Boys and Girls Club, so it was no trouble for my mom to drop me off. Kids come to our programs for different reasons. I came for the mentorship,” Brown shared.

“I tell boys and girls that they all come for different reasons. Some come for food, some come for shelter and security, and some come for mentorship. I didn’t receive that at mine, and I told myself I would never want that for the kids that come through our Club. I joined Girl Scouts and eventually turned to sports, which is what I feel saved me.”

“Many children have options for their extracurricular, but a lot of our kids in Shreveport don’t. The Boys and Girls Club fills that gap for them.”

Bridging the Gap

The main message of “Responding With Connections” is if we don’t change history, it will repeat itself. This program’s mission is to bridge the gap between low-income youth and law enforcement with the hopes of building a better tomorrow.

“Kids understand American history. They know the history of crimes against Black Americans. We have to figure out how to make the journey of changing this reality impactful to our kids, which involves giving them the tools they need. For example, if they have an issue with someone, how do they use words to explain their views? They should be able to walk away saying, ‘I didn’t physically win as in a fistfight, but I won differently.’ This program is ultimately trying to change that behavior and that culture,” Brown shared.

“Many of our kids have the pressure of siblings looking up to them and helping with their household. Many live in low-income apartments and food isn’t where it’s supposed to be. This program will also help our kids navigate through that.”

Brown doesn’t want “Responding With Connections” to be a one-time thing. She wants this to be a recurring program that can genuinely positively impact the Shreveport community.

“I’m excited to be able to represent our Boys and Girls Club here in Shreveport, and I’m excited to be able to give our youth this opportunity. This is what a lot of the kids need; Just that door opener. That opportunity that gives them hope for a better tomorrow.”