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Salvation Army Teams Return from Carolinas & Prepare for Hurricane Michael

Jackson, MS— With Hurricane Michael churning in the Gulf Coast and expected to make landfall in the Florida panhandle today as a major Category 4 hurricane, Salvation Army emergency response teams throughout the southeastern United States are readying to respond. The last of The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division teams headed home yesterday from Hurricane Florence service in the Carolinas—just in time to prepare for this new threat posed by Hurricane Michael. The ALM Division is sendng a full Incident Management Team to Pensacola, Florida, which will cover the Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach areas. The Salvation Army in ALM is also preparing to respond as needed in Coastal Alabama, which is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning/Hurricane Watch and even Coastal Mississippi, which is currently under a Tropical Storm Watch. “The path of this storm is still somewhat unpredictable, so we will posture ourselves for response as necessary,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army ALM Division.

The Salvation Army’s Dothan, Alabama Corps is already serving those impacted by the storm. Three evacuee shelters opened in Dothan yesterday, serving evacuees from the Florida panhandle. The Salvation Army served dinner last night and will serve all three meals today to the shelter residents. The remaining Salvation Army locations along the Gulf Coast are bracing for possible flooding and, along with the rest of the ALM Division, are watching, waiting, and preparing to serve as needed.

To support The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Michael relief efforts, visit www.HelpSalvationArmy.org.

 

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: 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. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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)

Making a change. Officers’ lives could be different without The Salvation Army


I am constantly amazed by the people I get to meet and the stories they tell me. Working at the Divisional Headquarters for The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, I work with 32 local corps to try and bring the most attention to their work together with local and divisional resources. On my last visit, to the Dothan, Alabama Corps, I realized I sometimes make this job more difficult than it has to be.

The Dothan Corps is the farthest trip time-wise and mileage-wise from the Divisional Headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. This means those officers and their employees have to be really good at what they do. Don’t misunderstand however, any employee at DHQ would gladly make the trip to help in any way we can, but again, it sure is a long way to Dothan.

Long story short, the communication team, Daphne Nabors, our creative specialist, and myself, drove to Dothan to meet the officers on their home turf for the first time and found out more than we bargained for. This is why I am writing this story.
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Captains Christopher and Kelly Bryant have served the Lord in The Salvation Army for eight years. Their current appointment, in Dothan, is their first outside the state of Texas. Captain Christopher Bryant’s family was helped by The Salvation Army.

“We received food, clothes, lived in the shelter. My mom even got a job at The Salvation Army,” said Christopher Bryant.

But despite the help and attending church, his parents’ lifestyle never changed.

“We went to church, but that was only a couple hours a week. The drinking and parties…that was our entire life.”

Christopher first met Kelly at Salvation Army summer camp when they were twelve. Kelly’s parents are Salvation Army officers. From that moment, however, their lives took dramatically different paths. Captain Christopher Bryant’s mother was an alcoholic, his step-father was an abusive alcoholic, and his birth father was a biker who dealt drugs. This is not the background you expect a Salvation Army officer to have.

At fifteen, Captain Bryant’s mother died. He was on his own, officially emancipated at sixteen. His younger sister went to live with their grandparents in Anderson, South Carolina. This will play an important part in the Bryant’s lives.

Christopher’s life went downhill from there. He dropped out of high school, and almost went to prison.

“I found myself in a bad situation after I was arrested on a drug possession charge and facing serious jail time,” said Bryant

The judged ruled the drugs were seized through illegal search and seizure, the first break that would begin to change Christopher’s life.

He then turned to his grandparents.

“I asked them if I could stay with them for a few weeks to get things back in order.”

They took him in, although, still seen as a problem by his grandmother, his time was limited. Still, this was break number two. Christopher knew he had to make the most of this chance.

“I gotta make a change. I’m either going to be dead or in jail for the rest of my life.”

Turns out, break number three was a big one. His sister attended The Salvation Army church in Anderson, South Carolina. The officers in Anderson at the time Christopher went to stay with his grandparents? Kelly’s parents, Majors Mike and Nettie Morton .

You might say the rest is history, but the Bryants did not move straight into officership. Kelly earned her culinary degree while Christopher worked as an industrial electrician, but it was during this time he learned to play the guitar. Several years later after moving from South Carolina to Oregon, they felt the call to do more with their lives.

I can’t help but think about Jeremiah 29:11 when it comes to the Bryants and specifically Captain Christopher Bryant:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

No matter your situation, no matter your problem, no matter where you come from, The Salvation Army is there to help because we aren’t perfect either. We are forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jon-Kalahar

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.