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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.

Anniston Corps working for God’s Glory, Doing The Most Good

Being a parent of five children, I often hear the statement, “that’s not fair.” Usually, those three words come from a child who feels his or her parents purposely jobbed them out of getting the most awesome piece of candy ever created or the toy of all toys made by Santa himself.  They’re really dramatic about it too.

In another example, a friend’s parents bought them a scooter and it just wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t get a scooter also or so they’d say. Our reaction is the same…yes, Braden, Will, Olivia, Thomas, Lillian (I’m sure the order here has the youngest two yelling, “How come I can’t be first? That’s not fair!”) life is not fair and you don’t always get what you want.

I can imagine our heavenly father’s response to us would be the same. After all, God promises to take care of us, not necessarily that all will be fair throughout our lives.

These examples entered my mind as I left the Anniston Corps of The Salvation Army.  I visited with Captains Bert and Christy Lind for a couple days to figure out how we could garner more attention for the work they and a handful of dedicated employees and volunteers are doing.

You see, if there was ever a reason to cry “not fair”, it’s in Anniston right now. The Corps is housed in an old Coca Cola bottling plant, and when I say old, I mean 1926 old. The problems at the moment include a roof repair that will cost thousands and some old pipes that don’t like the cold weather.

This isn’t to say the facilities are inadequate. Walking around the grounds you can see just how much space the Anniston Corps has to work with…and work is not something the Linds or their workers shy away from.

Walking into the building for the first time, I was greeted by an employee helping a family wheel out groceries that will help them through the weeks ahead. The colder temperatures called for a warming station to be opened so the area homeless could get out of the dangerous weather. A volunteer mans the warming station to help those who come inside. (I counted at least fifteen who’d come in out of the cold when I was there). On that same day, volunteers gathered to go pass out food bags to the needy in town, and that doesn’t even speak of the busy Family Store on campus.

I’m definitely not writing this to make you feel sorry for these faithful officers, soldiers and employees, but rather the opposite. You see, these folks will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what their building looks like and no matter what it becomes in the future. In fact, the Captains aren’t ones to talk about their accomplishments.

I’m not sure about this because I never ask Captain Lind, but if I had to guess, my guess is he subscribes to the motto: “Let go, and let God.” So, the Linds will keep working, they’ll keep serving, and they will keep sharing the Word of God. One thing you won’t get from them though is a lot of complaining. They know who’s in control.

To me, that’s what makes The Salvation Army a great place to work and that’s why you should help out with your time, donations, and prayers. To make a donation or volunteer, contact The Salvation Army of Anniston at 256-236-5643