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A Passion and Heart to Serve Despite Personal Loss

When Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday, August 29, the powerful storm resulted in damage and destruction throughout southern Louisiana and beyond. For one Salvation Army employee, her passion and heart to meet the needs of others means serving in her very own neighborhood and city.

Angela Brown is from Gray, Louisiana, and is The Salvation Army Service Center Manager in Houma, LA. “Just like many of my neighbors, my home was damaged by the storm,” said Angela. “My ceiling collapsed, and I’ve had water leaking in my home, and there’ll be even more today since it’s raining. Down my street was total devastation. We had several trees fall, and power lines are down. It was bad.”

After recovering from an extended illness that prevented her from working, Angela came across an opportunity with The Salvation Army. “Once I was able, I was looking for work, and particularly an opportunity where I could help people,” said Angela. “When I was ill, so many people helped me, and so I wanted to give back and serve others. So, when I found the Service Center Manager position with The Salvation Army, I knew that was the job for me. I’ve worked for The Salvation Army now for 11 years.”

Despite the damage to her own home, Angela and her daughter have spent the week volunteering. They’ve worked alongside Salvation Army mobile kitchen crews from Texas, providing meals, water, and encouragement to her neighbors in Gray, Houma, and surrounding communities. She has served as a liaison within her community, making connections that have enabled The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team to provide swift and effective assistance in the most impacted locations.

Angela spent Sunday afternoon working with volunteers from Lubbock, Texas, stationed at a gas station in her home city of Gray. “A steady line of cars drove through to receive a hot meal. It appeared that Angela knew almost everyone in line,” said Philip Burn, Public Information Officer for the Texas Incident Management Team. “It was wonderful to see her greeting friends, responding with a smile and a word of encouragement, as she delivered the meals and water.”

“I’m out here helping because that’s my passion, to help people. I ride around town, and I see some of these people, and they have nothing,” said Angela. “What I have lost I can get back. But some of these people have houses that have literally fallen to the ground, so I want to help them recover in any way I possibly can. And if today that help is in the form of a hot meal, I’m happy that I can represent The Salvation Army in this community and be a helping hand to them.”

Angela’s home city and much of the surrounding area continue to be without power since Hurricane Ida moved through the area little more than a week ago. It could be several weeks before electricity is restored. Many residents are facing an uncertain future with damaged houses and no answers in sight.

“The people in our community need our help,” said Angela. “We need donations and volunteers. Now is the time for us to come together, stand together, and begin to rebuild.”

The Salvation Army continues to reach into hard-hit southern Louisiana Bayou communities. On Wednesday, mobile units will be serving in Hammond, Houma, Bourg, Golden Meadow, Gray, Lockport, Dulac, Albany, LaPlace, Chauvin, Bayou Blue, Cut Off, Larose, Galliano, Monagut, and Poinet-Aux-Chenes. Service addresses can be found at https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/aboutus/?IdaFacts. Feeding operations in Grand Isle will commence in conjunction with residents returning.

The mobile units from the Gonzales IMT have served 117,110 meals, 60,791 drinks, and 23,492 snacks, making 7,263 emotional and spiritual care contacts since 8/31/21. The Salvation Army has served 207,190 meals, 131,188 drinks, and 49,354 snacks, across the state in response to Hurricane Ida.

To make a financial donation to support ongoing Hurricane Ida relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest disaster response information, 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.

Thrift Store Employees Doing The Most Good in Disaster

Thrift Store employees from Morgan City and Thibodaux, themselves impacted by Hurricane Ida, are serving neighboring communities while their stores are temporarily closed. The employees have joined a mobile kitchen crew providing hot meals, water, and emotional and spiritual care in Houma since Thursday.

Joan, Kateri, and Marva worked alongside the disaster team from Granbury on Sunday and helped serve more than 500 meals, despite an afternoon rainstorm. “I enjoy working at the Thrift Store and seeing the satisfaction on a customer’s face when I’m able to help them. I also love Christmas at The Salvation Army. I’m the queen of bell ringing!” said Marva. “But serving food from the mobile kitchen was a completely new experience for me. People were so happy to receive a meal. It felt really good to be part of helping everyone.”

Marva and her daughter Kateri decided not to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ida making landfall. “We woke up on Sunday morning and quickly changed our minds,” said Kateri. “The weather was already bad, and the wind was getting stronger, so we made the last-minute decision to leave. I drove as fast I could to Sunset, LA. It was the day of the storm and luckily most people had already left so there wasn’t’ much traffic.”

Joan lives in a trailer in Thibodaux and stayed through the storm, taking cover at a friend’s house a few blocks away. “I was pretty lucky. My house is fine but we’ve been out of power since Sunday,” said Joan. “This is my first time helping The Salvation Army with disaster work. I’m kind of speechless, it’s all so overwhelming. We get people coming to the store all the time asking for help, but this is something completely different. To see peoples’ faces when they get a hot meal is reward enough for what we’re doing.”

The ladies have worked in The Salvation Army stores for a combined 14 years. “I didn’t know the Army helped people to this extent and how big our disaster work is,” said Kateri.” It makes me proud to work for the organization and feel good that I’m part of something bigger than just our store.”

It is unclear when the Thrift Stores will re-open, although power has been restored to the Morgan City store. “We’re already receiving donations again, but I know that’s going to have to wait,” said Marva. “Even though disaster work is not our normal job, we’re just happy to be helping. Right now, we’re all part of Doing The Most Good, and then some!”

On Monday, mobile units will be serving in Hammond, Houma (2 units), Bourg, Gray, Lockport, Dulac, Albany, LaPlace, Bayou DuLarge, Bayou Blue, Cut Off, Larose, Napoleonville, Galliano, and Chauvin, and two Polaris ATV units will be roaming in the Gonzales area. Service addresses can be found at https://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/aboutus/?IdaFacts

The mobile units from the Gonzales IMT have served 87,061 meals, 51,572 drinks, and 17,761 snacks. The Salvation Army has served 144,456 meals, 99,962 drinks, and 35,387 snacks, making 6,169 emotional and spiritual care contacts across the state in response to Hurricane Ida.

The Salvation Army Delivers Meals to Doorsteps

Those with disabilities, the elderly, and underserved populations are left helpless in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The Salvation Army is aiming to bring relief by delivering meals right to their doorstep by sending mobile kitchens into the pockets of neighborhoods that lack access to basic needs such as food and hydration.

The Salvation Army is responding to Hurricane Ida, providing food, drinks, emotional and spiritual care and other emergency services to survivors. 38 mobile feeding units have been active in Southeastern Louisiana by providing 140,973 meals, 98,076 drinks and 34,401 snacks to areas impacted by the storm. The Greater New Orleans response team has been aiming to identify the areas most in need and bring food and water directly to doorsteps. Nearly half of it’s mobile feeding units have been going up and down neighborhoods streets delivering meals.

“Half a million are still without power and it’s going to be weeks before some areas are back online,” said Ed Binnix, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army Greater New  Orleans. “We’ve got teams identifying areas most in need. We are reviewing requests online, and we are listening to our mobile kitchen crews. We are really keeping our ear to the ground to help get food and hydration to those that need it.”

The Salvation Army is finding that those with disabilities, the elderly and underserved populations can’t gain access to basic needs. “My brother has Parkinson’s and he’s been trying to get out and walk, but for today he can just chill and relax,” said Clare Metcalf, a resident in the Westbank area. “We were very excited to see you.”

The Salvation Army will continue to provide hot meals by roaming neighborhoods and fixed feeding locations. 141 Cleaning Supplies, 2148 Comfort / Hygiene Kits, 133 cases of water have also been supplied.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Louisiana

Staff and volunteers deployed to the Texas Incident Command Post in Gonzales, LA, are providing practical, and emotional and spiritual support to their neighbors in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida. A fleet of mobile units, consisting of 11 Texas units and 7 from Arkansas Oklahoma, are delivering hot meals, water, and MREs into impacted communities.

“We are expanding our reach and meal service from the Gonzales Command Post and continue to discover communities in need and struggling without power after Hurricane Ida,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director from The Salvation Army, Texas Division. “Our team is returning each day with wonderful stories of resilience from storm survivors and how communities are coming together to support each other through this disaster. The Salvation Army is privileged to play a part in this recovery, and the hot meals served from our units have been greatly appreciated.”

The mobile unit from Lewisville visited Albany, LA, on Thursday, serving lunch from a church parking lot. Cars quickly filed in, and a line of people formed, anxious to receive a hot meal. Edie and Nicole have been neighbors for about six months and drove to the church together to conserve gas. “We’ve been looking out for each other since the storm came through,” said Edie. “We lost power but were pretty lucky that we didn’t have too much damage. There’s some trees and power lines down on our street but we’re doing ok considering.”

The Lewisville unit served 750 hamburgers, with beans, and chips, and distributed MREs and water in Albany. “We heard that The Salvation Army was serving food down here,” said Nicole. “We’ve got a generator so have some power, but all our food spoiled so quickly. You all are such a blessing, and we appreciate you being out here.” The Mayor of Albany also paid a visit to the feeding site to personally thank The Salvation Army volunteers for their service to the community.

Teams continue to reach into some of the hardest hit communities, particularly in the southern area of the state, with large areas of the state without power. The mobile units from the Gonzales IMT have served 37,003 meals, 26,599 drinks, and 10,914 snacks. Emotional and spiritual care is an integral part of Salvation Army disaster service and staff and volunteers have prayed with 2,348 people.

Service continues in the following communities on Friday, September 3: Hammond (2 units), Houma (3 units), Raceland, Livingston Parrish, La Place, Bayou Dularge, Bayou Blue, Cut Off, Larose, Napoloenville (2 units), Chauvin, and Sorrento.

Grateful Communities Receive Meals from The Salvation Army

Salvation Army mobile kitchens from Texas deployed into impacted areas of Louisiana on Tuesday, delivering close to 9,000 meals to individuals and families struggling after Hurricane Ida. Many communities remain without power, with storm debris and isolated flooding causing additional challenges.

The Incident Command Post in Gonzales, LA, was fully functional early on Tuesday morning, and the ongoing collaboration with the Southern Baptist Convention Texas Field Kitchen saw food being prepared and loaded onto waiting Salvation Army mobile units by mid-morning. Units each received their assignments, driving for the first time into communities in the southern region of the state with several traveling more than an hour to specified locations.

“The first day of disaster operations is always something of a challenge,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “There are so many moving parts to an operation of this scale and there remains a number of significant unknowns. We have crews driving on roads that may be flooded in places, blocked with trees and down power lines, and pulling into communities for the first time. As well as service delivery we continue on something of a fact-finding mission. I am so proud of our Salvation Army staff and volunteers who have worked around the clock to get this command post operational and are already delivering practical assistance to those in need.”

Close to 9,000 meals were served on Tuesday, in more than 10 cities. In several locations, the arrival of The Salvation Army mobile units was met with long lines of traffic with residents eager to receive their first hot meal since Hurricane Ida moved through Louisiana, leaving so many without power. “God bless you for being here and helping us,” said a grateful resident of Hammond, LA, who had patiently waited in the drive through line to receive 5 meals for their family. “We heard The Salvation Army would be coming today and you all are a real blessing. Thank you!”

On Wednesday, mobile units will be serving in Hammond (2 units), Houma (2 units), Thibodaux (2 units), Kenner (2 units), Livingston Parrish (2 units), Baton Rouge, La Place, Napoleonville (2 units), Gonzales, and two units will be roaming in affected communities.

Seven additional units arrived at the Incident Command Post from the Oklahoma Arkansas Division on Tuesday evening and will further expand the reach and capacity of assistance in the coming days. Salvation Army operations are also in place in other impacted areas of the state including New Orleans and the Gulfport region.

“We anticipate ramping up service to close to 20,000 meals a day. Our team continues to assess the specific needs of communities impacted by Hurricane Ida,” said Migues. “We’re off to a tremendous start and our staff and dedicated volunteers are focused and prepared to deliver meals, water, and a word of encouragement and a prayer to those we encounter.”

International Students Volunteer with The Salvation Army in Hammond, LA

Word spread quickly in Hammond, LA, that a group was serving food at Zemurray Park on Tuesday. A steady line of cars reaching around the block greeted The Salvation Army mobile kitchen from Pasadena, TX, as it pulled into the parking lot.

Alicia, Nuria, and Paula are international music students from Spain enrolled in the master’s program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Alicia read on Instagram that lunch would be provided at the park, so the friends ventured out on their bicycles to see what they could find. They have been without power since Hurricane Ida moved through the area on Sunday evening.

The students have been in Louisiana for less than a month as classes started on August 9th. The news of an approaching hurricane was particularly frightening and daunting for the girls. “I was very afraid as we don’t have hurricanes in Spain,” said Nuria. “We put our clothes and belongings into bags and left our instruments in the music school as we didn’t want them to be damaged.”

Hurricane Ida caused loss of power in Hammond along with many other communities in the region. “The power went out about 6 PM on Sunday. We prepared for the worst and stayed in our apartment once the storm began,” said Alicia.

The girls were among the first people to greet Captain Dante Salgado and his crew once the mobile kitchen was in position. “We had just started to set up and they asked if there was anything they could do to help,” said Salgado. “In no time at all they were behind the serving table passing out hot dog plates and water to the line of cars. They took over the entire operation!”

After more than two hours serving grateful individuals and families from the community, the last plate was served. “We were very sad in our apartment this morning and came out today to find some help for ourselves,” said Nuria. “After meeting up with The Salvation Army team it was so nice to help other people in the same position as us, without power, and struggling.”

“We prepared for the storm as best we could. Other than losing power we are fine,” said Alicia. “It was good to get out of the apartment and I enjoyed helping today.”

The team served 1,748 meals in Hammond on Tuesday, enjoying great support from the community and local law enforcement. The Pasadena mobile kitchen will continue service in Hammond on Wednesday, while 10 additional units from Texas will work in other impacted communities. Seven additional units arrived on Tuesday evening from The Salvation Army in Oklahoma Arkansas to support response efforts.

Paula said, “I was feeling very homesick this morning, missing my family and my boyfriend. I like it here, but my English is not great, so sometimes it can be very difficult and discouraging. It was hot and hard work, but it felt good to help. There were so many people! I’m hoping we can come back and help The Salvation Army again tomorrow.”

 

 

Salvation Army Prepared to Respond to Hurricane Ida Along the Gulf Coast

Jackson, Mississippi (August 29, 2021) – The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster (EDS) teams in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) are closely monitoring and preparing for response to Hurricane Ida, forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane along the Gulf Coast later today. Salvation Army EDS teams in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and several other southern states are mobilizing personnel and units in anticipation of immediate response.

“We are working with Salvation Army teams from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Georgia to support our relief efforts following the arrival Hurricane Ida across the affected areas,” said William Trueblood, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division. “We are looking at having three separate manned feeding sites providing food for more than thirty canteens which will serve multiple hard-hit areas throughout the region as needed. A Texas Incident Managemnet Team (IMAT) is pre-staging in Beaumont, TX, and a Florida IMAT team is prestaging in Pensacola. The ALM IMAT team is meeting in Jackson and heading into New Orleans after the storm passes. We are currenty planning to have the IMAT teams set up and serving from Gonzales, New Orleans, and Biloxi, but these locations are subject to change depending on the outcome of the storm’s path.”

The Salvation Army EDS staff and volunteers are constantly ready to respond, often with very little notice, to provide support and assistance during times of disaster.

To support Hurricane Ida relief efforts, please go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations to support disaster relief.

For the latest information, 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.

Bridging the Gap Between Youth and Law Enforcement with Vanessa Brown

Vanessa Brown, Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport Executive Director, is one of seven 2021 Maytag Dependable Leader Award (MDLA) recipients. She will receive $20,000 to use towards Boys and Girls Club program efforts in a safe, dependable place that enables young people to achieve their great futures. Brown received this national award because she has projected a reliable, positive impact on youth throughout the Shreveport community.

The MDLA award will be used to create a summer program – “Responding With Connections.”

Summer Camp

Brown got the idea for “Responding With Connections” because there’s a big disconnect between Shreveport youth and families and first responders.

“Responding With Connections” is the selected 2021 camp program. The Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport summer camp serves as a supervised environment where youth can develop into successful adults. Summer camp will take place June – July, Monday-Thursday, 10 AM – 3 PM, and is open to ages 6-13. High school-aged kids can come on Fridays and do “Dollar Days” where, for one dollar, they can enjoy all Boys and Girls Club activities, including lunch, snacks, sports, and just having fun.

“When I received the award, I said, ‘I have the best idea!’ I was so happy when they told me. I was like, ‘No way, no!’ because hundreds of people apply, and only seven are selected. I felt honored and blessed. The individuals who mentored me and helped me, I thank them,” Brown shared.

A superhero theme will accompany the “Responding With Connections” program. Brown feels that first responders are the superheroes of our communities. She will use The Avengers and other themes to assist in intriguing kids in learning more about first responders.

The Avengers is one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. I’d like to incorporate some Avenger themes in accordance to which first responder presents and how their job relates to a Marvel hero’s powers,” Brown stated.

“The goal is to be able to establish a connection that enables a positive response. When first responders visit the Boys and Girls Club, they can see young individuals who have a bright future but may have some obstacles against them. In turn, the youth will see the human behind the uniform. I want to establish those connections that will enable us to have a positive connection and a positive future.”

“Responding With Connections” will include field trips to local agencies and scheduled community events. Law enforcement and first responders will see the Boys and Girls Club facilities and meet individuals in the community that they serve outside of their regular job duties. First responder mentorships will also be arranged for students. Paramedics, police officers, and firefighters will be able to visit and mentor community youth and teach them about their daily job duties, introducing possible career fields to community youth.

Law enforcement will also visit four times a week to teach basic survival lessons that may not be taught in school, such as fire safety, what to do when a police officer pulls you over, signs of a stroke, and other essential life skills.

Changing the Conversation

Brown hopes that a structured environment will help to find the disconnect between law enforcement and low-income communities.

“There’s so much violence in the world. Law enforcement does not have a good connection with youth and vice versa. We can start to change that. My goal is when they interact outside of the Boys and Girls Club, there’s already an established connection and not a blind face-to-face meet.”

“I think if the world could understand each other better, there would be less tension and fewer casualties. Both community and law enforcement have to understand that.”

Brown has been part of the Boys and Girls Club Movement for five years. She began her journey at the Boys and Girls of Nothern Louisiana, and transferred to Shreveport a few years ago. She briefly participated in her local Boys and Girls Club as a youth but didn’t feel that she received adequate mentorship. She wanted to change that conversation.

“I did not specifically need Boys and Girls Club growing up. I lived in a well-rounded household, but my mom wanted me to interact with my peers. We lived fairly close to my local Boys and Girls Club, so it was no trouble for my mom to drop me off. Kids come to our programs for different reasons. I came for the mentorship,” Brown shared.

“I tell boys and girls that they all come for different reasons. Some come for food, some come for shelter and security, and some come for mentorship. I didn’t receive that at mine, and I told myself I would never want that for the kids that come through our Club. I joined Girl Scouts and eventually turned to sports, which is what I feel saved me.”

“Many children have options for their extracurricular, but a lot of our kids in Shreveport don’t. The Boys and Girls Club fills that gap for them.”

Bridging the Gap

The main message of “Responding With Connections” is if we don’t change history, it will repeat itself. This program’s mission is to bridge the gap between low-income youth and law enforcement with the hopes of building a better tomorrow.

“Kids understand American history. They know the history of crimes against Black Americans. We have to figure out how to make the journey of changing this reality impactful to our kids, which involves giving them the tools they need. For example, if they have an issue with someone, how do they use words to explain their views? They should be able to walk away saying, ‘I didn’t physically win as in a fistfight, but I won differently.’ This program is ultimately trying to change that behavior and that culture,” Brown shared.

“Many of our kids have the pressure of siblings looking up to them and helping with their household. Many live in low-income apartments and food isn’t where it’s supposed to be. This program will also help our kids navigate through that.”

Brown doesn’t want “Responding With Connections” to be a one-time thing. She wants this to be a recurring program that can genuinely positively impact the Shreveport community.

“I’m excited to be able to represent our Boys and Girls Club here in Shreveport, and I’m excited to be able to give our youth this opportunity. This is what a lot of the kids need; Just that door opener. That opportunity that gives them hope for a better tomorrow.”

 

 

‘It must’ve been God‘: Carla’s story from New York to New Orleans

 

Carla turned to The Salvation Army New Orleans Command in early 2020 after being evicted from her Miami apartment. She lost her job due to a periodic reduction in force and was living on a fixed income. One month Carla ended up being $1.43 short on her rent. She was evicted and decided to leave Miami to return to New Orleans, a place she’d lived many years ago.

“That’s how you become homeless in the first place. You just don’t have enough money for your basic needs. At least there’s a place like The Salvation Army where people can go. At the end of the day, you have a roof over your head, and you have a meal,” Carla shared.

“It must’ve been God.”

 

Carla didn’t qualify for Medicaid after losing her job despite having diabetes. She entered The Salvation Army as a low-income senior. Many seniors are left in similar situations as Carla and don’t know where to turn. Thankfully, Carla turned to The Salvation Army.

“It must’ve been God because I didn’t choose any other place. I immediately turned to The Salvation Army. Looking back, it was the best decision I could’ve made,” Carla shared.

Carla worked as an artist in New York, doing restoration and embellishment for Mark West Gallery for over 20 years. After settling into her new life of living in a shelter, she walked out on faith and began working with a social worker to find employment. Carla came across a flier on the receptionist’s desk concerning a virtual job fair. She applied to a position with Volunteers of America, where she’d assist with packing lunches for school-aged kids during Covid-19 school shutdowns. She got the job and prepared meals for children until the position ended once schools reopened for the fall semester. Thankfully, an opening for a new cook at The Salvation Army New Orleans Command opened.

Carla enjoys baking pastries, so she applied for the job and was offered the position and will work with The Salvation Army until she retires next year.

“I worked in the art industry for 22 years and somehow ended up a cook at The Salvation Army,” Carla laughed. “I don’t question things, and I don’t believe anything is by coincidence,” she added.

“The Volunteers of America job ended up preparing me for my current position as a cook with The Salvation Army. Isn’t it funny how things work out?” Carla stated.

 

“The Salvation Army bolsters you if you’re smart enough to see it.”

 

Carla feels that she sometimes serves as a therapist to those who enter her kitchen. She ensures that everyone has a relaxing experience during their meals. Residents often linger to tell her about jobs that they’ve found or what’s going on in their lives. She also gets to interact with children who are staying at the shelter during meal times.

“I understand the people come through the line because I’ve lived with them. Not only am I a kitchen assistant, but I’m also a therapist. My job is to make dinner a pleasant experience for these people. They have to live outside all day in harsh conditions. I try to relay that if you’re still standing at the end of the day, you’re good. You’re stronger than the average person because you’ve learned how to survive under harsher conditions. It’s the truth. The Salvation Army bolsters you if you’re smart enough to see it. Sometimes you have to look outside of yourself,” Carla shared.

“There was one little girl who wanted an extra piece of cake at dinner, but I wasn’t able to give her one. Sometimes there’s enough food for seconds, and sometimes there isn’t. I saw the disappointment on her face and told her that I’d be sure to give her an extra slice the next day. She’d forgotten by dinner the next night, so I reminded her, and her face lit up so bright! It was adorable. I hope that if I do things now to touch these children who are in the shelter, maybe 10-15 years from now, they’ll remember and be kind to others. That’s how life works,” Carla added.

 

Majors Hull both told me not to worry. They would find me help, and everything would be okay.”

 

Carla says the most influential part of her short journey of living at The Salvation Army were her interactions with Corps Officers Majors Ernest and Debbie Hull.

“The greatest thing I got out of The Salvation Army was Major Debra Hull,” Carla shared.

“Major Debbie had a brand of discipline that I grew up with, and I give her all the credit for my sanity while living in the shelter. I just love her. Majors Hull both told me not to worry. They would find me help, and everything would be okay. That’s what kept me going. Those two are incredible people,” Carla added.

Carla and Majors Hull both share New York as their hometown and bonded over their shared culture.

“Both Major Debra Hull and I love Carla. She’s a wonderful person. We’re so proud of the effort she put in while in the shelter. She did everything she needed to do for her success. We were in COVID-19 isolation lock-down with her for 54 days in the shelter, so we became close. Carla became like a sister to us,” stated Major Ernest Hull, former New Orleans Commanding Officer, currently serving at the Armarillo, Texas Corps.

 

 “I’m happy to be able to spread a message of faith and strength to the people of The Salvation Army.”

 

A corps social worker reached out to Carla one day and told her that it was time to start working on an exit plan. Carla asked her to help look for a new home because she wasn’t familiar with New Orleans well enough to understand the best neighborhoods for her to live in.

“New Orleans is providential and backward to me! I don’t understand it, but that’s part of its charm. The people don’t move fast; everything is fluid,” Carla shared.

She found an apartment within a day and began the process of moving in.

“I love the city. I’ve been here before. I worked for Blain Kern in the ’90s. I left and went back home to New York for a while, but I’m back now,” Carla shared.

“I live near the French Quarter. Everything is within walking distance. It’s so convenient. I like being near the river. The Mississippi River and I have an amicable relationship,” she added.

Although she has returned to living independently, Carla enjoys returning to the shelter daily to positively contribute to people’s lives as a cook who can share a message of perseverance.

“You can lose your mind. You can literally lose your mind when you are homeless. I went from living in an apartment by myself for 15 years to living in a dorm room with 32 women who have all kinds of problems. I don’t get ruffled by a lot of things. I’m a New Yorker. I’m a progressive thinker. I see where people in the shelters are dealing with a lot. Multiple personality disorder, drug addiction, women who have dealt with abuse, or have dealt with the death of a child. I can see these people struggling to overcome their past. You see how some of them are so strong,” Carla shared.

“It’s important for everyone to know that you can make a situation as good or as bad as you want, and I’m happy to be able to spread a message of faith and strength to the people of The Salvation Army,” Carla added.

 

 

 

Salvation Army Continuing Zeta Relief Efforts Along Gulf Coast

Jackson, MS (10/30/2020) — Thousands are still without power after Hurricane Zeta ripped through the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday evening. The Salvation Army units on the MS Gulf Coast and in Citronelle, AL, Houma, LA, Thomasville, AL, and Hattiesburg, MS, are all currently providing disaster relief services to those affected by Hurricane Zeta.

The most extensive of these relief efforts are occurring on the MS Gulf Coast. The MS Gulf Coast Area Command is serving hot meals from their canteen in front of The Salvation Army Family Store in Gulfport again this evening, as well as serving in Hancock County at the Bayside Fire Department, and will have a mobile feeding unit roaming in Waveland. The Salvation Army Pascagoula Corps is providing hot meals to residents of a flooded community in St. Martin. They will be handing out the meals from the parking lot of the St. Martin Community Center.

“We are so blessed to be able to serve this community and provide not only a hot meal but also comfort and hope during this trying time,” said Lt. Carla Lawson, Pascagoula Corps Officer. “Our community is strong and resilient; we will get through this together,” she continued.

The Salvation Army will sustain ongoing communication with emergency management officials regarding ongoing needs throughout the recovery period following hurricane Zeta.

Donations to support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

For the latest information on The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Zeta and other 2020 hurricanes, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmy.org.

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.

Gulf Coast Salvation Army Units Responding To Needs After Hurricane Zeta

Jackson, MS (October 29, 2020) — Hurricane Zeta tore through the storm-weary Gulf Coast last night, leaving millions without power in its wake. Salvation Army personnel are working closely with state and local emergency management officials to assess and meet needs throughout the affected areas. The Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command is responding to local needs by serving hot meals tonight from their canteen (mobile feeding unit) at the Gulfport Salvation Army Family Store. The Salvation Army in Jackson County, MS, will be serving in conjunction with their local Sheriff’s office. The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama is serving meals this evening in Citronelle, AL.

“The Salvation Army is thankful for the chance to serve those in need in cooperation with local authorities. We are blessed with such a helping and supportive community where we can share the challenge of meeting human needs,” said Major Bradley Caldwell, Salvation Army MS Gulf Coast Area Commander.

The Salvation Army will sustain ongoing communication with emergency management officials regarding ongoing needs throughout the recovery period following hurricane Zeta.

Donations to support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

For the latest information on The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Zeta and other 2020 hurricanes, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmy.org.

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 Stands Ready To Respond To Hurricane Zeta

Jackson, MS (10/28/2020) —The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division is monitoring the storm and preparing for a rapid local response to Hurricane Zeta as needed, with 19 mobile feeding units on standby throughout the division. After strengthening throughout the day, Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall along the southeastern Louisiana coast on Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The New Orleans area has had more than its share of hurricane threats in this extra busy hurricane season, but until now has managed to avoid each one. It looks like that is changing now, with Zeta poised to make landfall very near The Crescent City. “The Salvation Army is prepared and stands ready to serve our New Orleans community and surrounding areas as needed in the wake of Hurricane Zeta,” said Major Christopher Thornhill, Area Commander for the New Orleans Salvation Army.

Donations to support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

For the latest information on The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Zeta, and other 2020 hurricanes, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmy.org.

 

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.