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Since its charter was enacted in the United States in 1899, The Salvation Army has provided emergency services to individuals and communities affected by disasters and other catastrophic events. The Salvation Army's first major disaster response operation was in 1900 after a devastating hurricane hit Galveston, Texas. The hurricane killed more than 8,000 people and obliterated more than 3,600 homes, nearly half the city. National Commander Frederick Booth-Tucker ordered Salvation Army officers from across the country to the stricken city to provide spiritual comfort and practical aid to the survivors of the storm.
Since then, The Salvation Army has been on the scene of thousands of disasters honoring a century old commitment to serve those in need, at the time of need, in the place of need. In 1970, federal law reaffirmed The Salvation Army's authority to provide disaster assistance with the passage of the Robert T. Stafford Emergency and Disaster Assistance Act, which also created the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
However, more important than this legal mandate is the moral and spiritual obligation The Salvation Army has to assist those suffering from the affects of a natural or man-made disaster. In obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ, Salvationists follow the parable of the Good Samaritan, providing compassion and physical comfort to those in need.
Salvation Army 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 is well equipped to minister to survivors of disaster, assuring them that God has not forgotten them in their time of need.
Even after a disaster becomes "old news," The Salvation Army remains on the scene, cleaning, rebuilding and helping to restore lives to normal. The Salvation Army offers help and comfort to those in crisis.
All Salvation Army disaster services are free. All people are served equally, without discrimination. Salvation Army disaster relief services are funded entirely through the generosity of donors.