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Salvation Army “A Conglomerate of Angels” in Lake Charles

Lake Charles, LA (September 7, 2020) – In the course of their daily rounds, The Salvation Army’s canteen crews make a difference in the lives of the people they serve throughout the severely damaged neighborhoods of Lake Charles in the wake of Hurricane Laura. They provide more than simply the much-needed hot meals and cold drinks they serve. They also provide hope and consistent help as they make their rounds day after day.

Barbara and Joseph Prater are two of those who have been impacted by the ever-present help of The Salvation Army in Lake Charles. They have been living in a makeshift room which Joseph boxed in at the back of their house, “so we wouldn’t be outside,” said Barbara, a breast cancer survivor who needs to keep cool for her health. They secured a generator and use it to run an air conditioner to cool the room, which they are currently sharing with the rest of their family whose homes are also damaged. “We’re sleeping on the floor on mattresses, but we’re so grateful for it because some people don’t have walls at their house,” said Barbara.

Sometimes they all sit in the shade of their carport to break up the isolation and monotony of the only cool room in the house. “We were just sitting here praying and asking God to send us some angels, and that’s exactly what He did. And here they are, back again today, to bless us,” said Barbara. “That’s what angels do. That’s what The Salvation Army is, it’s a conglomerate of angels,” she added.

The Salvation Army brought hot meals, cold drinks, and snacks that day. The next day, they also brought the clean-up kits that the Praters had requested the day before. “All I’ve ever known The Salvation Army to do is help people. It’s what they do, and I’m so grateful,” said Barbara.

To date, The Salvation Army has provided the following in Lake Charles in response to Hurricane Laura:

117,340 Prepared Meals

84,192 Drinks

74,583 Snacks

Emotional & Spiritual Care to 3,068 Individuals

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

The Salvation Army Addresses The Invisible Effects of Natural Disasters and Trauma in Lake Charles, LA

Lake Charles, LA (September 5, 2020) – Food, water, and meeting physical needs are incredibly important parts of The Salvation Army’s efforts to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Laura. But, Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) remain an essential part of total disaster response.

The Salvation Army helps treat the emotional stress and trauma of disaster victims and first responders with emotional support and spiritual comfort. Whether it’s lending a listening ear, offering a hug, joining together in prayer, or simply being present, Salvation Army counselors are ready to help.

Major Robert Lyle leads the ESC efforts for Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles. In addition to his time meeting with survivors, Major Lyle has also asked the canteen drivers to bring him lists of prayer requests each day. Each and every name on this list is prayed over that night by his team.

Alonzo Hill, one of the canteen members who traveled up from Baton Rouge LA to serve Lake Charles is committed to this effort. “When I’m out there with people, I tell them the resources and systems we have in place to help them are great, but our main purpose is to lift you and your family up in prayer. I just want them to know the love of Jesus because of how He has changed my life.”

This wholistic approach to recovery allows The Salvation Army to meet survivors where they need it most. Many effects of a natural disaster are long reaching and invisible to the naked eye. The Salvation Army aims to support these needs while also meeting the more visible needs and will continue to do so as long as they are needed.

To date, The Salvation Army has provided:

78,829 Prepared Meals

57,761 Drinks

47,936 Snacks

1,243 Emotional and Spiritual Care visits

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

Salvation Army Field Kitchen Heads to Lake Charles for Hurricane Laura Relief

Jackson, MS (August 28, 2020) — Hurricane Laura made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a category 4 hurricane early Thursday morning, pummelling the Lake Charles area and leaving a devasting path of destruction in its wake. State-wide there are approximately 500,000 without power and the public water system sustained so much damage that there’s currently no water, or restricted water service, in much of Southwest Louisiana.

Destin Smith, Total Transportation Internal Manager

Early Friday morning, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi [ALM] Division’s 53′ field kitchen, along with a refrigeration unit and a support unit, headed out to Lake Charles to serve in Hurricane Laura relief efforts. The mobilization of the equipment was made possible through the generous volunteer efforts of Total Transportation, a Jackson, Mississippi trucking company. “Total Transportation is honored to support the work of The Salvation Army in this way. To be able to help out a good cause and people in need is something we are glad to be a part of,” said Destin Smith, Total Transportation’s Internal Manager.

The field kitchen has the capacity to prepare up to 10,000 meals per day, which will be distributed by 14 mobile feeding units deployed into the area from Mississippi, Texas, and other less affected Louisiana Salvation Army locations. It will serve the 4 parishes that are most affected by the hurricane— Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Cameron.

“Disaster preparations start well before the threat occurs so that The Salvation Army is ready to go into the affected community, alleviate the suffering that’s there, and provide hope,” said Terry Lightheart, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, follow the social feed on Twitter at @salarmyeds or visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. To donate to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org.

The Salvation Army Responds to Easter Tornado Outbreak

Jackson, MS (April 13, 2020)—On April 12, 2020, severe weather pummeled the south and produced a tornado outbreak throughout Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. All three states have issued official emergency declarations. The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division is responding to the Easter tornado outbreak throughout the three states. Mississippi is the only state of the three that suffered tornado-related fatalities. “The Salvation Army is continuing to assess service delivery needs in affected communities with local emergency management while also considering COVID-19 social distancing precautions. We realize this severe weather event, coupled with COVID-19, is likely a time of great difficulty and increasing anxiety. Beyond our local service delivery of meals, snacks, and beverages, The Salvation Army has established an Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline at 844-458-HOPE (4673). Hours are seven days a week from 9 AM to 9 PM eastern time,” said Terry Lightheart, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.

The deadly tornadoes in Mississippi caused a confirmed 11 deaths across Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Jones, Carroll, Panola, and Walthall counties. A number of other counties across the state are reporting storm damage and over 74,000 power outages. Lt. Brian Hicks, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army Hattiesburg, is preparing their mobile feeding unit to serve in Jefferson Davis County today, where approximately 100 homes were damaged. Major Raymond Pruitt, Salvation Army Corps Officer in Laurel, is assessing needs this morning in Jasper and Jones counties. Other Salvation Army corps officers and service center directors who serve areas impacted by yesterday’s tornadoes are in contact with their local Emergency Management Agency to determine service delivery needs in their area.

Alabama reports nearly 120,000 power outages, with most of the damage consisting of downed trees and power lines. The main area of damage in Alabama is in Etowah County, which is served by The Salvation Army Gadsden Corps. Captain Dennis Hayes, Gadsden Salvation Army Corps Officer, is assessing needs in Boaz and Reece City today. Cynthia Smith, The Salvation Army Walker County Service Center Director, will be providing service to several affected areas today.

Monroe, Louisiana, experienced damage to approximately 200 homes but thankfully, no tornado-related fatalities have been reported. Captain Jerry Casey, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army of Monroe, loaded up his mobile feeding unit and went out to tornado-damaged neighborhoods on Sunday afternoon to provide sandwiches, drinks, and snacks to residents and first responders. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds new challenges to providing emergency disaster relief. We’re being careful to wear a mask and gloves, and we’re taking social distancing precautions while serving the public,” said Captain Casey. He plans to be back out in the community serving again today.

Financial donations are the best way to meet the evolving needs and to support relief efforts. To donate to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, visit www.HelpSalvationArmy.org. For the latest Salvation Army disaster response news from across the country visit www.SalArmyEDS.org.

 

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.

Preparing to Respond to Tropical Storm Barry

Disaster personnel from across The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division are gearing up to respond to the effects of what is predicted to be the first hurricane of the season. The National Hurricane Center has reported the tropical system is expected to make landfall in the next 48 hours producing heavy rainfall and flooding.

Preparation for this event began days ago when the ALM Division placed as many as 28 Salvation Army units on standby. These units are prepared, as needed, to provide disaster relief equipment and personnel to affected areas along the Gulf Coast and affected areas inland.  Service delivery will include the deployment of canteens stocked with meals, snacks and hydration and trained personnel to provide emotional and spiritual care. Each mobile feeding unit (canteen) has the capacity to provide anywhere from 500 to 1,000 meals per day.

To maintain situational awareness, The Salvation Army disaster personnel are working in close coordination with local and state emergency management partners which aids in the identification of the most affected areas and determination of entering that area when it is deemed safe to do so.

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.”

For additional information, go to https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/news/

If anyone wants to help, we are not accepting in-kind donations at this time. To make a financial contribution please go to helpsalvationarmy.org.

Salvation Army Monitoring Potential Hurricane in Gulf of Mexico

As the first potential hurricane of 2019 brews in the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Division disaster personnel are working closely with local and state emergency management officials to monitor the situation.

Severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, and localized flooding have already occurred in New Orleans. The National Hurricane Center is predicting similar conditions to continue over the next 48-72 hours as the system tracks along the coastline from Mississippi to Texas and many parts inland.

The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services disaster relief includes providing food, water, and emotional and spiritual care to residents in the affected areas and first responders.

Multiple Feeding Units Respond To Ruston Tornado

Ruston, LA (April 26, 2019) — The Salvation Army has deployed three mobile feeding units to Ruston after a tornado ripped through that community yesterday morning, resulting in a considerable amount of debris from damaged commercial buildings, residential homes, and downed powerlines and trees. The city is home to Louisiana Tech which has a student population of approximately 12,000. The school experienced damage to its field house and a significant amount of debris scattered around campus.

In the aftermath of the storm, debris removal teams are in force to help bring some normalcy back to the community. The three Salvation Army mobile feeding units from Alexandria, Monroe and Shreveport will also be out in force today to provide meals, snacks and hydration to affected residents and debris removal teams. Captain Jerome “Jerry” Casey of the Monroe Corps is serving as Incident Commander and has been on the scene with the Monroe unit since early yesterday. He stated, “We’re meeting a lot of grateful people and they’re glad that we’re here. Some of them don’t understand why this happened. So we’re doing some spiritual nourishing as well as physical.” said Captain Casey. “There’s a community that’s hit, there’s a school that’s hit, there’s businesses that’s hit. So, we’re serving a lot of people in different situations,” he said.

Yesterday, The Salvation Army provided 160 meals, 160 drinks, and 250 snacks to tornado survivors in Ruston. The Salvation Army’s service to the Ruston community continues today.

Severe Weather Outbreak Leaves Path of Destruction across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Hamilton, MS (April 14,2019)— The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division experienced a round of severe weather beginning Saturday, April 13, 2019 which has left a path of destruction throughout the three states to include downed trees and power lines, flash flooding and structural damage to more than a few communities.

Now that the system has exited the Division and moved into Georgia, Salvation Army representatives are assessing the current and future needs of the affected areas with local emergency management.

Thus far, the most severely damaged area lies in the rural community of Hamilton, Mississippi located in Monroe County. This close-knit community was struck by a tornado on Saturday evening, resulting in one confirmed fatality. The area is served by the Columbus Mississippi Salvation Army Corps which operates at the command of Lieutenant Christian Smith.

Unfortunately, Lt. Smith is no stranger to tornadoes. His own community was struck by an EF-3 tornado on February 24, 2019. For the February event, Lt. Smith quickly mobilized the Corps mobile feeding unit to provide snacks, hydration and emotional and spiritual care for Columbus residents. Once again, he is coordinating efforts to provide similar service delivery for Hamilton residents.

Lieutenant Smith reports, “As an ordained minister and a resident of north Mississippi, it is my honor to serve those affected by such a devastating storm. It is amazing how a snack or hot meal received from the hands of those who care not only nourishes the body, but the soul.”

A two-person team and mobile feeding unit from Tupelo, MS is also en route to support the efforts of the Columbus Corps.

Across the state line in Alabama the Salvation Army Dothan and Montgomery Corps will be serving along with the Pike County Service Center to provide service delivery in the community of Troy, Alabama.

(Photo is courtesy of Tupelo Corps: Lt. Thomas Johnson and Mr. William Archie preparing the mobile feeding unit with supplies)

To donate to The Salvation Army’s tornado relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org.

Transition to Long-Term Recovery After Alabama Tornado Outbreak

Annabelle Tsui

Lee County, Alabama (March 25, 2019)— The Salvation Army’s emergency response to the Lee County tornado outbreak of March 3, 2019, has transitioned to the long-term recovery phase. After serving from day one of the tornado outbreak—providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to tornado survivors, first responders, and volunteers—The Salvation Army is continuing to serve affected residents through partnerships with local emergency management and the Lee County Long-Term Coalition.

The Coalition meets to identify unmet needs and determine how the resources of volunteer agencies can be best utilized to meet the continued or on-going needs of the affected communities. Thus far, The Salvation Army has participated and contributed to the recovery by ensuring that survivors have food, household goods and hygiene items.  “In partnership with other community organizations, we will continue receiving tornado survivors to address their needs,” said Annabelle Tsui, Salvation Army Lee County Service Center Director. “It is truly blessing to witness wounded hearts and communities being mended through the volunteer efforts of The Salvation Army and many other partner organizations,” she continued.

To donate to The Salvation Army’s tornado relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org.

President Trump Visits Tornado Ravaged Lee County & The Salvation Army Continues to Serve

Beauregard, AL (March 8, 2019)— President Trump toured the tornado ravaged Beauregard community on Friday, and The Salvation Army was on hand, ready to serve survivors, volunteers, and work crews. The level of security required for a presidential visit meant that the highly secured disaster area was locked down tight until the president concluded his visit, but The Salvation Army was on the scene—ready and eager to get back into the area and back to helping the people.

As soon as the area was cleared for those granted access there, which still isn’t open to the general public, The Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) was in high gear, grilling hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken for the people doing the massive ongoing cleanup effort. “Some of the people that we served said that it was just what they needed. That it was a godsend because God knows exactly what to send at the right time. We were there to fill that need,” said Lieutenant Bryan Farrington, who was working at the canteen as soon as people were allowed back into the area.

“I think it’s wonderful because I thought I was about to starve to death,” said Eric Bush, who took a break to eat a burger from the canteen. Eric is volunteering to help a friend, using his tractor to remove limbs from what’s left of his friend’s home. “It is awesome to see the presence of The Salvation Army helping feed people, and everybody just here to work, to try to pitch in and make a difference. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing—if you’re cooking hamburgers or moving limbs or picking up trash—it takes everybody,” Eric added.

As the weekend approaches, with Sunday marking one week since lives in this community were changed forever, emotional and spiritual care was again the greatest need. “It was good to be able to love on the people who were most affected by the storm and to hear their stories. To be able to share God’s love, to help them smile for a minute, to relieve some of the stress and strain. Words can’t describe what you actually see there, but it’s very rewarding to have an impact, to brighten their day for a moment and encourage somebody while they’re going through the midst of their trials,” said Lt. Farrington.

“This may seem impossible, but through faith it is possible. Through faith all things are possible,” said Napoleon Darby, resident of the hardest-hit area of Lee County. Napoleon’s home is destroyed. His is a tight-knit community with mostly family members as neighbors, and some members of his family didn’t survive the storm. There‘s a distinct heaviness in the air, and you can hear the deep pain in his quiet voice, but he refuses to let himself sink into despair. He’s choosing to focus on the good. Napoleon met President Trump on his tour of the area Friday, and it left a positive impression on him. “I shook his hand and talked to him, shook his wife’s hand,” Napoleon said.

Of his visit with Salvation Army officers on the same day he met the president, Napoleon says, “This is a testament that there are lots of nice people that care about people in the world. It’s easy to concentrate on the hate in the world but when you get exposed to the love in the world you have to lean more towards that.”