International Leadership Visits ALM Division

The Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division of The Salvation Army was honored in April with a visit from the international leadership of The Salvation Army. International Chief of Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, and the World Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham took part in a tour of the ALM Division that included special events in both the Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL command areas.

The Commissioner’s travels took them from The Salvation Army International Headquarters in London, where they have served since January of 2018. They were first commissioned as officers in 1990 and came into their current positions after service in the territories of New Zealand, Canada and Bermuda, and Singapore where they served as Chief Secretary and Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries.

In Jackson the Commissioners took part in a rally where they, along with Divisional and Territorial leadership, joined salvationists in the Jackson Salvation Army community in celebration. It was an event that included musical performances, testimonials from the Commissioner, and saw the enrollment of 40 new soldiers.

In Birmingham, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham spoke to the crowd at the National Advisory Board meeting about the work of The Salvation Army in the United States and in the world. The Salvation Army serves in 131 countries across the globe, and Commissioner Buckingham spoke about the wisdom necessary to move forward in the world while serving wherever The Salvation Army is called. “We are needed more than ever to be this group of people who testify to what it means to be in a relationship with God and what it means to love our neighbor. It is a testimony that actually extends around the globe,” he said.

Night at the Shelter

night at the shelter logo

On May 7, 2019 The Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi division of The Salvation Army embarked on an inaugural event. For one day, special guests were invited to come and spend time in Salvation Army facilities in their community. Local media was there as well, to share the story of local celebrities, public servants, and media figures coming together with The Salvation Army to help bring hope to those in need and to make a positive change in their lives.

The Salvation Army is an organization devoted to doing the most good in the communities they serve. Many locations provide a shelter to those who have no other place to go; a bed, a meal, a hot shower, or a change of clothes can help those in need find comfort and safety. But the shelter they offer is more than just a place to stay. Sometimes it is a shelter from the fear of losing a home. Sometimes it is shelter from the oppression of addiction. Sometimes it is the shelter provided in place of worship for those seeking a new direction in life.

Night at the Shelter was a time to showcase the work The Salvation Army can accomplish, through faith, with the support of the community. In Dothan, AL Mayor Mark Saliba was joined by County Commission Chairman Mark Culver to pack boxes of food to give out to those in need. This event, which aired on local TV was an opportunity to showcase the work The Salvation Army does in the community, and the support they enjoy from community leaders.

On that same day in Jackson, MS the shelter there hosted a lunch that was cooked in their facility and served to the residents of their Center of Hope. Afterwards they were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from local staffing agencies to learn interview skills, job preparation, and to have the chance to interview for jobs. A local organization, Dress for Success Metro Jackson, came by as well to help train in proper dress and appearance for job interviews. This event also included local community members and business owners who had once been homeless themselves, to share their testimony with those looking to change their path in life.

In Shreveport, LA KTAL NBC 6 Evening News Anchors Dan and Jacque Jovic along with Lynn Vance of The Lynn Vance Show came out to help serve food to those in need. They were joined by representatives of the local power company, SWEPCO, to help highlight the work that The Salvation Army does in the community. In the midst of their work the two anchors found time to make a live broadcast for their evening show.

And they were not the only TV personalities that showed up. At The Salvation Army in Monroe, LA there was a surprise appearance by Silas “Uncle Si” Robertson of the A&E series “Duck Dynasty”. Along with representative from the local sheriff’s department, they helped serve food to those in need.

Night at the Shelter was a one-day event meant to demonstrate that The Salvation Army is there all year, bringing shelter in all its forms to those who need it. It’s another way the Army is doing the most good in their community.

The Salvation Army in Louisiana, Mississippi standing by if Harvey moves east, 29 canteens ready to respond

JACKSON, MS – As Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds, The Salvation Army in Louisiana and Mississippi must wait to see if Harvey turns back to the east. Officers, staff and volunteers across the three state Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division (ALM) are prepared to respond should that happen.

“We still are anticipating flooding here in Lake Charles,” said Lieutenant Richard Watts, Lake Charles, Louisiana Corps Officer. “The potential for severe weather will be with us into next week, so we are working with our local partners to make sure our community is prepared.”

A state of emergency has been declared by the Louisiana governor. The National Weather Service models for Southwest Louisiana show locations where up to twenty inches of rain could fall over the next week.

“We are asking the public and our personnel to be diligent,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director, ALM Division. “Just because Harvey has come ashore in Texas doesn’t mean this is over. We expect this to be at least a week-long event before we can determine Harvey’s impact here.”

The Salvation Army has 29 canteens or mobile feeding trucks stocked with water, snacks and food ready to respond if needed.

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.


Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

A Home of Their Own

A place to call home is all Michaela Bustamante wanted for her two children, and she was determined not to let anything get in her way…not an abusive relationship, not the lack of a job, or twice living homeless.

“I was in a domestic violence relationship,” said Bustamante. “We separated and things went downhill from there. I kept trying to get in school to make our life better for us, but it was hard.”

That’s when she heard about a program at her local Salvation Army.

“I needed help. It was hard on my own,” said Bustamante. “You might have someone say, ‘oh, you can come stay with me,’ and they take your money and put you out the next day, but The Salvation Army is not like that. They are actually there to help you.”

The Salvation Army provides solid ground for those looking for more out of life.

“Trying to find someone to keep my son while I go to school, trying to keep a job and once I got into the shelter, the shelter provided all these things I was looking for,” said Bustamante. “Not only just shelter but daycare, tokens to get on the bus to go look for a job.”

Each year, The Salvation Army in the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division is working to end homelessness and poverty and break the cycle that affects generation after generation. Not only did we provide over 350 thousand nights of shelter last year, but also, assistance to pay power bills, job training and counseling sessions as well as transportation to work and job interviews.

But the main thing we offer through these programs is something many who walk in The Salvation Army don’t know they need. Michaela has seen it in her children since moving in her new home.

“Once I got the stability I have now, their grades have gone up, their behavior has changed. They are more settled. They are not all over the place.”

Thirteen year old Adrian, can see the benefits in his mother too.

“She can sit down and help me with my homework and doesn’t have to be worried about everything else,” said Adrian.

Michaela earned her Certified Nursing Assistant’s degree while going through the program as well. She cherishes those who helped her along the way, her children running in after school, and most of all their own place to call home.

“It’s warming. It’s nice to have a place to stay and being able to come in and fix whatever you want to eat, and lay down in your own bed. I love it.”