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Smoke the Therapy Dog

The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge has welcomed a new member to their family. Smoke is a therapy dog to the men and staff in the Corps Recovery Center (CRC).

Welcoming a therapy dog into the recovery program was Major Donald Tekautz’s idea. He often took his dog to the CRC during a former appointment in Memphis. He realized that having a dog was beneficial to residents and decided to bring a therapy dog on board in Baton Rouge.

“In other appointments, I have seen the quality of life a dog can bring to our clients. They become the best counselor the men have because dogs keep secrets no matter what you tell them. Though it sounds tripe, dog is the same name as God just backward, so I do believe that they have an innate quality to bring peace and tranquility to our lives. They are messengers of peace, and Smoke certainly has brought that to the property for our guys. Smoke is a great dog, and the guys in the program are benefiting from him greatly,” shared Major Tekautz.

Smoke is two years old and was adopted from a local Baton Rouge shelter. He lives at the CRC, and residents are in charge of caring for him. A monthly schedule rotates responsibilities for residents, who take turns feeding, bathing, and walking Smoke as well, making sure he takes his heartworm medication until he heals.

The men in the CRC program spend a lot of time with Smoke. He has a kind heart and continuously wants to be petted and hugged. A lot of the residents enjoy him being around because he signifies comfort.

“It’s been great to have a dog around. It has brought a piece of home to my life and my recovery. Smoke seems to like it here, and I know we enjoy having him here. We’ve all fallen in love with Smoke, and we think he might love us too,” shared Percy, a CRC resident.

 

The Salvation Army Responds to Louisiana’s Stay at Home Order

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced an official Stay at Home order for the entire state of Louisiana due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout the state. The order took effect on Monday, March 23 and is in place until the morning of Monday, April 13, when local schools are scheduled to re-open. This mandate affects The Salvation Army throughout Louisiana in many ways, most notably in shelter operations. All seven of The Salvation Army’s shelters throughout the state are now housing residents 24/7. Shelters that usually serve only breakfast and dinner will now be serving three meals a day. This change to round-the-clock sheltering increases staffing needs as well as the need for more food and cleaning supplies. All shelters throughout the state are increasing daily cleaning and disinfecting measures throughout their facilities in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus and keep all shelter residents and staff safe and healthy.

Louisiana’s Stay at Home order is also resulting in the temporary closure of all Salvation Army thrift stores in the state.

New Orleans

The Salvation Army New Orleans Area Command is sheltering 96 residents and providing three meals a day, plus activities to help alleviate boredom for its residents. Major Ernest Hull, New Orleans Salvation Army Area Commander, says that while 96 isn’t max-capacity for the shelter, they are limiting acceptance to the current residents for social distancing purposes. Many of these shelter residents are young children, and Major Hull is making sure to keep them entertained as well as safe—with “drive-in” movie nights and more.

“We’re trying to give them activities and the residents are good about constantly cleaning and disinfecting their dorms,” said Major Hull. Majors Ernest and Debra Hull are also currently living in the shelter to help provide for the residents’ needs during this unprecedented time.

In addition to taking care of their shelter population, The Salvation Army New Orleans Area Command has also been requested by the state to help feed the unsheltered homeless population in the area. “While this is not your typical disaster setting, The Salvation Army is going to rise to the cause and meet the human needs of our communities to the best of our abilities. We have never retreated before and we’re not going to retreat now,” said Major Hull.

Baton Rouge

The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge has temporarily closed its thrift store and social services office due to the state-wide Stay at Home order. The Corps’ youth programs—the School for Performing Arts and character-building programs—have briefly stopped at this time to practice social distancing. The Men’s Recovery Program, which houses program participants, will continue with its regular schedule.

The shelter has limited its acceptance to 50 residents and is currently at capacity. Following city protocol, the shelter will keep an eye open for people showing signs of the virus. Shelter residents and staff are encouraged to wash hands frequently and to practice social distancing.

In addition to increased shelter operations, the Baton Rouge Salvation Army is also providing food to school-aged children and their families throughout the area. Nearly 150 grab-and-go lunches are provided to families Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout Baton Rouge.

“We’re here. The Salvation Army has been serving Baton Rouge for 115 years, and it’s not going to change. In times of difficulty, we stick to our mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus and to help people in his name without discrimination. We are working every day to take care of the needs of our community,” stated Major Donald Tekautz, Salvation Army Baton Rouge Corps Officer.

Alexandria

The Salvation Army of Alexandria includes both a veterans shelter and a general shelter, with both remaining open 24/7 for the duration of the statewide Stay at Home order. Both thrift stores are temporarily closed at this time.

The Alexandria Corps is currently providing dine-in breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all residents. Feedings take place in shifts, with only two individuals seated at a six-foot table and cleanings taking place between each shift.

Breakfast is provided daily to the community and served outside of the shelters. An anonymous donor has purchased 85 kolaches twice a week for the next two months that are being distributed each morning along with a piece of fruit and a cold beverage. The Alexandria Corps is working towards bagging all breakfasts and dinners for transient residents and the general public. Hot meals are provided in shifts, but the shelter does not have the staff and financial resources for sandwiches and lunchmeats.

“In Alexandria, we meet daily as a staff to discuss the continually evolving conditions regarding COVID-19. We are practicing social distancing in every aspect of operations,” stated Alexandria Corps Officer Major Richard Watts.

With the new guidelines of the Stay at Home order, the shelter is encouraging residents to stay indoors. Furniture has been rearranged to practice social distancing, and staff is working toward feeding the public and residents outside of the building via the canteen and outdoor tables.

Monroe

The Salvation Army of Monroe’s shelter, which houses men and women, is currently at capacity with 50 residents. Due to the new mandate, the shelter is now operating 24 hours a day, serving lunch in addition to the breakfast and dinner normally provided. In addition to the cost of supplying enough food to meet the demand for round-the-clock shelter operations, purchasing food is challenging right now because of market shortages. Shelter staff members are making daily trips to grocery stores, but markets are either low on supplies or will not allow bulk purchases. The shelter has only about four day’s worth of meals left at this time. The Monroe Corps’ thrift store also had to shut down because of the Stay at Home order.

“We are now at full capacity and in desperate need of food to sustain our residents. We also need additional funding because more staff is needed to assist with running the shelter 24/7,” stated Captain Jerry Casey, Monroe Corps Officer.


The above is just a sampling, but all Salvation Army shelters throughout the state of Louisiana are operating 24-hours a day, 7-days a week for the duration of the state’s Stay at Home order. Every one of these shelters is in immediate need of extra food and cleaning supplies to meet the increased demand, but their biggest need is financial. The Salvation Army needs a great outpouring of public support to continue to serve the increased need in Louisiana. To support The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response efforts, please give now.

Highlighting Feeding Programs in Louisiana

We’re ending our month of feeding highlights with Louisiana. The Salvation Army locations throughout Louisiana provided thousands of meals and groceries to neighbors in need last year. The Shreveport Corps distributed a total of 85,842 of those meals and the Baton Rouge Corps distributed 95,948.

These two Corps display extraordinary participation in their communities by sending canteens out into extreme temperatures, community holiday celebrations, providing additional food assistance to other local shelters and churches, and so much more. For above and beyond involvement, the Army is highlighting Baton Rouge and Shreveport for outstanding services within their communities.

Baton Rouge

Corps Officers: Major Donald Tekautz and Lieutenant Julie Tekautz

There are food pantries that operate on a daily or near-daily basis in the Baton Rouge area, so The Salvation Army provides an emergency food pantry that supplies food for up to a week for families. Appointments and drop-ins are welcome once a year, Monday – Friday 8 AM – 4:30 PM. The prepped boxes include enough food to feed 4-5 people for up to a week. Daily feedings are available for the shelter’s rehabilitation program (CSRC), and there are two meals a day for residents of the location.

The Baton Rouge location offers many community feeding opportunities, including Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as annual spring and fall festivals. The spring festival includes an Easter egg hunt held at the corps office and a canteen that provides lunches for families that come out to enjoy the festivities. The fall festival takes place around Halloween and is a similar event involving harvest-themed fun for children and families. The corps also hosts a “Back to School” fair each July, where the canteen goes into the Baton Rouge community for mass feeding. Last year’s event had around 1,000 attendees.

Shreveport

Corps Officers: Lieutenants Jamaal and Tamarique Ellis

The Shreveport Corps has a total of 111 beds and offers breakfast to anyone who spends the night. Lunch and dinner are open to those same residents as well as any newcomers. The shelter provides 250-300 meals per day on average.

The corps takes the mobile canteen into the community multiple times a month, depending on the extremity of weather. The canteen runs more during hot and cold weather, supplying refreshing beverages during the summer months and warm soup and hot chocolate during the winter months. Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis says the shelter is aware that the homeless don’t always come to the Army for help. Hence, the Army goes to them, bringing substances to help sustain individuals through harsh temperatures. It has become a routine, and now individuals know when to expect The Salvation Army canteen and gather to receive assistance.

The Shreveport Corps does a monthly feeding at Holy Cross Hope House, a day shelter in downtown Shreveport where the homeless can shower and wash their clothes. Hope House doesn’t offer food, so the Army partners with them for food assistance. The Army also helps with feedings in the Cedar Grove community, an area with a large homeless and underprivileged population. The canteen goes out as needed for these partnerships.

A food pantry is also available in Shreveport, and groceries are provided twice a week to anyone who signs up through Social Services. The Shreveport Corps provided 480 boxes of groceries to the community last year.

Hunger Is Curable

Each night in the U.S., 17.4 million families go to bed hungry. An additional 6.9 million families experience low food security, not knowing where or how they’ll receive their next meal. The Salvation Army ALM collectively served over 1 million meals in 2019 and continues to help fight hunger. Our approach to supplying food is based on the needs of each community we serve. Although food insecurity is still a prominent issue in many areas, The Salvation Army is doing its part to help rid this curable circumstance.

 

 

 

 

 

Salvation Army Actively Serving/Preparing in New Orleans & Baton Rouge Over Weekend

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.

The Salvation Army serving in 3 locations following tornado outbreak across the South

new orleans tornado canteen

Disaster units in New Orleans, Livingston Parish, LA and Slocumb, AL

Jackson, MS (February 8, 2017) – Severe weather moving across the southern United States dropped multiple tornadoes Tuesday. The Salvation Army has responded with canteens or mobile feeding units to help serve those in need as well as first responders on scene to help.

In Louisiana, six parishes received damage from multiple tornadoes. Roofs where ripped off buildings, structures destroyed, trees toppled over roadways but thankfully no deaths.

The New Orleans area saw the most destructive of the storms. The Salvation Army’s New Orleans Command responded to Chef Menteur Highway and Wilson Road where disaster workers began food service.

“We served 112 meals and 266 drinks from our location, and we plan to help as long as people are in need and are recovery from these storms,” said Major David Worthy, Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army, New Orleans Command.

The Baton Rouge Salvation Army dispatched a canteen to Watson, Louisiana in Livingston Parish where workers served almost one hundred meals and drinks.

“This is difficult work for the first responders and a difficult time for those whose homes have been affected. We are grateful to be able to serve them,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Corps Officer, Baton Rouge Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army also has officers and trained employees on location to provide emotional and spiritual care to any residents and rescue workers who might need someone to talk to or allow us to pray with them.

“Our hearts go out to those who have been touched by Tuesday’s events, and we pray the work of The Salvation Army may ease the burden these folks are feeling during these times,” said Captain Meredith.

A tornado also touched down in Houston County, Alabama near Slocumb, Alabama Tuesday evening.  Alabama emergency officials report power outages, trees down over the roads, and several buildings damaged. The Salvation Army canteen from the Dothan Corps is serving in that location.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.

  • Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate ‘February Gulf Coast Tornadoes’ on all checks
  • Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)

Canteen workers pull double duty for Baton Rouge flood and Hurricane Matthew, proud to serve

You never know where disaster will strike next. Over the last several months, the southern United States has seen more than its fair share of disaster. In August, historic rainfall in south Louisiana caused flooding like no one had ever seen. Two months later, Hurricane Matthew bared down on Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas with heavy rain and winds flooding homes and knocking down power lines.

In the aftermath of each storm, it was The Salvation Army and its officers, employees and volunteers who brought hope to those in need in the weeks following.

The Army’s response and ability to help would be drastically reduced without the men and women who spend countless hours serving meals, drinks and snacks from our canteens In the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division, we are blessed to have hundreds who give of their time and energy to go above the call of duty as canteen workers.

Four canteen workers stand out these last few months Gary Williams, Birmingham Command, Jerry Casey and Leo Saurez, Mississippi Gulf Coast Command, and Joe McDaniel, Tuscaloosa Corps because they served during the Louisiana floods and after Hurricane Matthew blew through.

Gary Williams grew up in Levittown, PA. He retired from U.S. Steel and is now a driver for The Salvation Army in Birmingham and is responsible for transporting clients, picking up donations and food, and manages the fleet of vehicles in Birmingham, including the canteen.

Gary completed two deployments this year, one in Baton Rouge and the other for Hurricane Matthew. He was initially deployed to Jacksonville, Florida and was relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina after the storm hit.

“I enjoy being a canteen worker because I enjoy helping people out when they really need it,” said Williams. “

Gary says we was glad to have his son, Keith along as a volunteer during the Hurricane Matthew response, but their trip to Florida and then North Carolina was anything but easy.

“On our way traveling from Florida to North Carolina, we had a very difficult time because so many roads were flooded and power lines were down. It was long trip to North Carolina,” said Williams.

Mississippi Gulf Coast’s dream team of canteen workers, Jerry Casey and Leo Saurez say their willingness to work on a canteen comes from just loving to serve others.

Jerry, a Long Island native, laughs at the thought of another disaster so close to these two.

“We are young, healthy and have a desire to help people so it wasn’t a problem. We hope there isn’t another disaster in the next week,” said Casey. “If there is, we will certainly be willing to help!”

Born in the Phillipines, Leo counts among his favorite memories of both the Louisiana flood and Hurricane Matthew being able to help the children they encountered.
“When kids come to the food trucks and I see their smiles,” said Saurez.

 

And, it’s reactions like that that make these canteen workers feel blessed to work for The Salvation Army.

“They say, ‘GOD bless you, we can’t believe you came to serve us.’ As if they felt they weren’t deserving to be served,” said Casey.

“When we see people after a disaster they are so grateful that we are there to help. While serving in Baton Rouge, I met a woman that broke down and started crying and said she wouldn’t know what to do without The Salvation Army. I was able to be there at that moment, give her hug and let her know that there is help out there,” said Williams.

Thank You Gary, Jerry, Leo and Joe for all you do for those in need during times of disaster.

“I just wanted to let God’s love show through.” Donating to make a difference

dsc03939Kelli Stewart of Covington, Louisiana is a 36 year old mother of three year old triplets and now a three month old. Add to that, she’s the owner of Lullaby Set Children’s clothing, and you get the idea that her life is pretty hectic.

Like many across Louisiana, Stewart was devastated by the images that came across her television screen and phone following 30 inches of rainfall two weeks ago. Her first thought was about all the families out there who were impacted…families like hers. What must they be thinking? How can I help them?

“I was looking to help, to be a blessing, and I love the mission of The Salvation Army,” said Stewart.

So, Stewart will donate hundreds of pieces of brand new children’s clothing from her store for ages newborn to six years old. The clothes still have the tags on them.

“I just wanted to let God’s love show through. Maybe they will realize, ‘wow, some stranger did this for me’, and pass it on to someone else,” said Stewart.

Plus, the fact she’s the mother to four young daughters, Stewart wants them to grow up knowing they need to give back and be a blessing. She also realizes her role in influencing her generation and younger generations currently building careers and families.

“Our parents raised us right, it’s time we show it,” said Stewart. “It’s our job to make a difference and give back. God’s put us on earth to help other people, more can be done.”

Dillard’s Donation Makes a Difference in Baton Rouge

By Rebecca Nichols | rebecca.nichols@uss.salvationarmy.org
August 31, 2016


Dillard's Donation Makes a Difference in Baton Rouge
August 31, 2016
Rebecca Nichols | rebecca.nichols@uss.salvationarmy.org

Baton Rouge, LA— Sometimes there isn’t a way to properly express gratitude. There isn’t a hug big enough or a “thank you” loud enough. I’ve experienced that feeling so many times working for The Salvation Army. I’m rarely surprised these days by the love we get from the community, the love that’s shared between neighbors, the love that still exists in our world. It’s comforting to know I can expect it now, but it’s still often too big to put into words. Even when it’s hard to find, I know it’s there because I see it every day where I work. I know there’s hope.

Within a few days of the water rising in South Louisiana, I got an email from Mark Souter with Dillard’s department store. He simply introduced himself and said, “We want to help.”

These are always the most comforting words to hear during a disaster situation, and once I spoke with Mark in person, I really understood how much they wanted to help. Dillard’s wanted to donate 25,000 units of new clothing for flood victims but they also asked how we would distribute it. This isn’t a luxury we can often offer to those we’re assisting, so I told him I wasn’t sure just yet.

Having seen our warehousing site, Mark knew we didn’t have racks or shelves for clothing and offered to send his people in to rail out the walls. Only one problem, there was no air in the part of the mall we were utilizing for our distribution center. I told him I didn’t think we could fix the air conditioners, mechanically or financially, and he said, “Let me see what I can do.” I then got a text from a volunteer coordinator working at the warehouse… She said the outlets weren’t working either so we couldn’t even plug in large fans. Mark said, “Let me see what I can do.” I asked Mark if he could loan us some racks to put the clothing on… He said, “Let me see what I can do.”

This became a massive job, but also one very special to The Salvation Army. He sent us an electrician to fix the outlets and air conditioning, at no charge to us. He sent us 150 racks on which to place the clothing, at no charge to us. He sent us half a million dollars in clothes to place on those racks …at no charge to anyone. He was one of our many heroes during this flood event. And because he was our hero, he became the hero of thousands of people we’ve helped with that Dillard’s blessing. I jokingly texted Mark that we loved him on the day he solved so many problems for us, but it wasn’t really a joke. There was love all around. We loved because he loved. I see the love and there is hope.

Gift from The Walmart Foundation boosts The Salvation Army’s efforts in Southern Louisiana

walmartJACKSON, MS (August 29, 2016) – The Salvation Army’s mission of Doing The Most Good is only possible when communities and community partners step up alongside our officers, employees and volunteers to make a difference in  people’s lives. Those partners are needed even more so when disasters strike.

This is the case in Southern Louisiana where 30 inches of rain fall led to historic flooding in places like Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Gonzales and Lafayette just to name a few. The Wal-Mart Foundation has stepped up and provide a $100,000 gift to boost The Salvation Army’s efforts as we serve meals and drinks and provide food boxes, cleaning supplies, and comfort kits.

“This is such a generous gift that will help so many folks recovering from the massive flooding in Louisiana,” said Major Steve Morris, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “We are happy The Walmart Foundation is standing with us to make a huge impact in the lives of those who need us the most.”

“As our customers and associates continue to recover from this devastating flood, we are donating $100,000 to the Salvation Army to assist with relief efforts on the ground.  We will continue to partner closely with non-profit partners to fulfill our $1.5M commitment in Louisiana, supporting those hard hit by this disaster,” said Lee Siler, Senior Manager, Global Disaster Response and Preparedness

To date, The Salvation Army has served over 125,000 meals, over 150,000 drinks and our volunteers and employees have worked over 10,000 hours in support of disaster recovery efforts in Louisiana.

Volunteers Arrive As Salvation Army Starts Supplies Hand Out

dillard university student volunteers louisiana flood

Baton Rouge resident, Vanessa Yates, stands outside a vacant part of the Cortana Mall now turned into The Salvation Army’s distribution center waiting for her name to be called.  Yates says her home was under eight feet of water just a couple days ago and now she’s trying to clean up. After a few more minutes, a volunteer brings her a case of water, cleaning supplies, and a food box.

“It’s good to find people who care,” said Yates. “It means a lot, I was in tears cleaning out my home yesterday.”

The process is the same for hundreds of other residents who’ve shown up for help. Numbers tabulated by the state emergency operation center estimate as many as 600,000 people impacted by the historic rainfall and flood.

“This disaster is incredibly widespread,” said Major Ed Binnix, Incident Commander. “But we will be here to feed these folks and get them the supplies they need to make it through this.”

Plus, friends and neighbors are stepping up to stand with The Salvation Army in a big way. Neighbors like 100 students from Dillard University who showed up at the distribution center to help organize supplies for each resident who came by.

“Some of these students are from Baton Rouge,” said Jeremy Carter, Dillard’s Director of Student Leadership.  “We know education combined with community service can make a difference.”

They weren’t shy either, as they dove into piles of donated goods and started creating cleaning kits and food boxes to be handed out.

“Not everyone is as fortunate as we are. It’s very important to make a difference,” said Anwar Robinson, Dillard Resident Life Coordinator.

The Salvation Army depends on the passion and compassion of others, like students who volunteer or residents who show up to donate supplies to truly make a difference in times of unspeakable disaster.


To help those in these flooded areas across Southeast Louisiana, you can donate by going to http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/gulf_coast_floods.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.

Greater Baton Rouge Corps creating hope, looks to make a difference

As an All-American football player at Louisiana State University, NFL Pro Bowler, and head coach at LSU, you’d think Jerry Stovall would have lots of stories about his playing days and time as a football coach, and he does. However, it’s his time as a Sunday school teacher and lessons learned from his father that highlighted his speech and the Baton Rouge Corps’ first Shield of Hope dinner.

The Baton Rouge Corps has big plans for the future of The Salvation Army.  The Corps broke ground earlier this year on what will soon be a new shelter and plans for a community center serving up to 250 children daily are also in the works.

“We are going to continue making the kind of difference the people around our community deserve,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Baton Rouge Corps officer.

This dinner was a first of its kind effort to make Captain Meredith’s plans and ideas a reality, but as Advisory Board President Gerald Garrison said, they need help.

“It’s going to be a group effort, no doubt, from local partners and businesses to individuals around our community,” said Garrison.

It’s those individuals Stovall focused on from the podium on this night.

“Jesus instructs us to love people anyway. He loved me anyway,” said Stovall.

It’s the love of Jesus and the love of his earthly father that allowed him to overcome the death of his new born daughter, allowed him to reconcile with his mother who never saw him play a game in the NFL, and showed him how to love his wife.

“We cannot always control the circumstances we are in, but we can control ourselves,” said Stovall.

It’s here that Stovall’s message intertwines with the mission of The Salvation Army.

“When you got people who are less fortunate, you’ve got to help them anyway.” said Stovall.

Through his life, Stovall says there are two things he’s found that don’t cost a thing and don’t require any special training…to love and to serve.

“Do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it,” said Stovall.

Right now, The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge is doing what they are supposed to do by loving, serving, and taking care of those in the community who need it the most.

We are a Shield of Hope.

The Salvation Army Responds As Storms Wreak Havoc Across Gulf States

(story originally posted by Thad Hicks on disaster.salvationarmyusa.org)

Jackson, MS (April 28, 2015) – The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi has responded to four separate emergency situations across the division due to severe weather.

The storms affected residents near Dothan, Alabama, in the small community of Columbia, several families are displaced due to storms Saturday. Majors George and Patty Price, along with employees and volunteers, started by serving dinner out of a local gymnasium. Their operation has since expanded to serving lunch and dinner. The Dothan Corps is also providing drinks and ice for the nearly 800 homes that lost power.

“This is what we do,” said Major George Price. “The need was there and we simply stepped in to help.”
On the Alabama Gulf Coast, a sudden storm with high winds caused an annual boat regatta to end in tragedy Saturday evening just off Dauphin Island near Mobile, Alabama.  The storm capsized several boats leading to at least two deaths. The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama responded to help serve food, drinks and snacks to local law enforcement and Coast Guard officials who are searching the Mobile Bay for missing boaters.  To reach searchers, The Salvation Army loaded a Mobile County Sheriff’s Office boat with food and drinks to take out to the law enforcement agencies.

“It’s just one less thing they have to worry about,” Patricia Finkbohner, Salvation Army director of development and community services, said. “They didn’t want to come in and take a break, they really wanted to stay out and search.”

The Salvation Army is also providing emotional and spiritual care to family members who are waiting for their loved ones to be found.

Rough weather Monday led to a possible tornado touchdown near Baton Rouge. Power was knocked out to several thousand residents in and around the area. The Baton Rouge Corps responded with a canteen to one of the hardest hit areas in Killian, Louisiana and passed out food bags.  “Many folks are without power and may not have been prepared for this storm,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge. “The Salvation Army will be there to meet these immediate needs, and we will be there as long as residents need our help.”

The same storm to blow through Baton Rouge also caused wind damage and flooding in New Orleans. At the New Orleans Area Command, the Center of Hope lost power. So, Major David Worthy and the overnight staff manned their crisis stations at the facility throughout the night to make sure the residents stayedsafe and secure.

“We used our disaster canteen truck to power fans and portable lights to shed a little light and move a little air around to keep things more bearable,” said Major Worthy.
Power has since been restored to the Center of Hope in New Orleans.


The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster survivors, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children.  82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.