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.

ALM Canteens on Standby for Harvey

disaster prep

JACKSON, MS – With Tropical Depression Harvey moving back into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) is preparing for the severe weather Harvey might bring to the Gulf Coast. Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army ALM, Terry Lightheart says there is a strong likelihood Harvey could grow stronger as it moves through the Gulf.

“We are monitoring the storm closely,” said Lightheart. “We have all our canteens or mobile feeding trucks and personnel on standby to respond if we are needed.”

Lightheart says Harvey is expected to impact the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi within the next two to five days.

“Right now, we believe the biggest threat is from flooding, so we are asking residents to stay alert to their local weather reports,” said Lightheart. “And remember, large amounts of can fall in a short amount of time and flooding can impact communities quickly, especially in low lying areas.”

Lieutenant Richard Watts is Corps Officer at the Lake Charles, Louisiana Salvation Army. At this time, Southwest Louisiana is expected to receive heavy rain from Harvey.

“We have our canteen ready to respond when called upon,” said Lieutenant Watts. “We are staying in touch with local partners so we can work together to provide the best service should our community be affected. We know rain is on the way. What we don’t know is how much.”

The Salvation Army is working with state emergency officials monitoring Tropical Depression Harvey as it moves closer to the coast. The Salvation Army is prepared to provide food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care to communities affected by the storm in the coming days.