Posts

The Salvation Army Responds to Mississippi’s Shelter in Place Order

On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a statewide Shelter in Place order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Mississippi’s Shelter in Place order will begin on Friday, April 3 at 5 pm, and will be in effect through April 20. As an essential services provider, The Salvation Army’s locations throughout the state will be operating and serving their communities’ needs. All non-essential Salvation Army programs and events have already been suspended due to social-distancing requirements and will not resume until after the order is lifted. Locations that do not have a shelter will still be offering the social services they provide while using safe social distancing measures. All Salvation Army thrift stores will be closed.

The Salvation Army’s shelters throughout Mississippi will operate 24/7 for the duration of the Shelter in Place ordinance. This increased operating time also requires that each shelter will be feeding 3 meals a day instead of their usual 2. The shelters will continue practicing the safe social-distancing measures that they have already been doing, such as increased spacing of beds, staggering meal times, etc. Shelters will also increase the already heightened daily cleaning and disinfecting measures throughout their facilities to lessen the potential spread of the virus. This round-the-clock sheltering increases staffing needs as well as the urgent increased need for food and cleaning supplies.

Jackson

The Salvation Army of Jackson has already been operating their shelter 24/7 since March 16th, allowing residents to leave only for essentials. Now, with the governor’s Shelter in Place order, what is considered essential will be limited further. The constant operation of the shelter means that the Jackson Corps is providing 3 all meals a day to residents now, putting an additional strain on their food supplies. All staff are in place and continuing to offer residential counseling.

Sanitation has also increased at the shelter. “We’re wiping down continually, and we’re practicing the 6 ft distancing. At the shelter chapel, I went through, measured and spaced the seats 6 feet apart,” said Major Robert Lyle, Jackson Corps Officer. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the facility. Shelter residents have been spaced farther apart, so a room that has 3 beds now houses only 2 individuals. Extra space is available in case a need for isolation or quarantine arises, but, “Praise the Lord, no one has had any symptoms,” said Major Lyle.

Another way that the Jackson Corps is helping during the COVID-19 pandemic is by providing food boxes to the public. However, they currently only have enough food to last until Tuesday of next week and are calling on the public for help. The food boxes contain supplies for meals including some breakfast items like milk, eggs, and bread, along with about a week’s worth of canned goods. During this crisis, the Corps has been providing food boxes for an average of 50 families a day. To manage the volume of people coming through while practicing social distancing, recipients need to call ahead to set up their pick-up time and staff will meet them at their car with the supplies.

“We’re just believing God for greater things and we believe that our ministry is to the hurting folks who are in our residence. So we’re doing everything we can to safely keep them during this time, providing a clean, friendly, safe environment,” said Major Lyle.

Tupelo

The Salvation Army of Tupelo will operate 24/7 and require that residents only leave the shelter for essential needs. Grocery assistance will remain open via drive-thru pick-ups. Those in need are requested to call and schedule a pick-up time before arriving. All 3 Tupelo Salvation Army thrift stores are closed until further notice.

The shelter currently has 40 residents and is close to capacity. Any residents showing symptoms of the virus will be moved to the former Tupelo Corps shelter building, where they will have a private bedroom and restroom and will be referred to the hospital to be properly screened.

The change to a 24-hr operation dramatically increases the shelter’s financial needs. Typically providing lunch and dinner while collaborating with other soup kitchens for breakfast, the Army may now have to provide all three meals each day. All meals are prepared in a to-go style.

“Food suppliers are still supporting us. Although there are additional needs, what we need most is money. We provide utility assistance, shelter, and meals, and we want to continue supporting those programs as well as our employees during this time,” stated Tupelo Corps Officer Major Ray Morton.

Meridian

The Salvation Army of Meridian will operate their shelter 24/7 for the duration of the mandate, allowing residents to leave the shelter only for essential needs. The Meridian Corps will continue to provide grocery assistance to the community via drive-thru pick-ups. The Meridian Salvation Army thrift store will be closed for the duration of the ordinance.

Movies, games, and bible study are being organized to help keep residents entertained while practicing safe social distancing. If any shelter resident shows symptoms of the virus, they will be referred to their primary care physician or the hospital to be properly screened. Cleaning and disinfecting practices have increased throughout the shelter due to the extended hours. The Meridian Corps also provides a daily community dinner for anyone in need of a hot meal. These meals usually take place in the dining hall but are now being served to-go style. Grocery assistance numbers have doubled, with nearly 30 cars arriving on average for pick-up daily. Shelter dinner attendance has also doubled this week, increasing to 60 guests per night.

“We haven’t had produce in two weeks. We’re in need of vegetables, tissue, and water. We’re low on cleaning supplies, so we’re using soap and bleach to clean more frequently. We’re taking all precautions with our staff and residents. Our clients have already doubled since the start COVID-19, and we want to be prepared to serve our community as it continues,” stated Meridian Corps Officer, Lieutenant Tamara Robb.

Laurel

The Salvation Army of Laurel will operate 24/7 and require that residents only leave the shelter for essential needs. Round-the-clock sheltering means increasing the meals provided to 3 per day for every shelter resident when only 2 meals a day are provided under normal operations. Grocery assistance is still available by appointment. The thrift store is closed until further notice.

The shelter currently has 18 residents. Designated areas are available for isolation or quarantine if the need arises. Separate rooms will be provided to any resident showing signs of the virus, and they will be referred to the hospital to be properly screened. There are no infected residents at this time, and cleaning has increased throughout the shelter due to the extended hours.

“We remain open and ready to supply prepared meals and food boxes for anyone in need. Our staff is practicing the suggested guidelines for self-care and we’re monitoring our health for any symptoms,” stated Major Raymond Pruitt, Laurel Corps Officer.

 


All Salvation Army shelters throughout the state of Mississippi are operating 24-hours a day, 7-days a week for the duration of the state’s Shelter in Place order. Every one of these shelters is in immediate need of extra food and cleaning supplies to meet the increased demand, but their biggest need is financial. The Salvation Army needs a great outpouring of public support to continue to serve the increased need in Mississippi. To support The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response efforts, please give now.

 

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command Distributes Food to Seniors

The Salvation Army of the MS Gulf Coast is serving meals throughout the community as well as preparing food packages for local seniors.

Majors Anita and Bradley Caldwell, Salvation Army Area Commanders, took surveys earlier this week—checking with families throughout the community to get an estimate of how much food they had at home.

“We began Sunday as a trial to see what the turnout would be and if we could properly practice social distancing while distributing food. It went well. Most families only had an average of three to five days worth of food at home,” said Major Bradley Caldwell.

The Army has been able to serve over 100 meals a day to the Gulf Coast community and is delivering meals to senior individuals who aren’t able to procure food from the Kroc Center as they normally would. Social distancing is being taken into account during food deliveries, with staff knocking on the door, leaving meals in a visible place, and moving away from the door to wait and ensure that individuals receive their meal.

“Two women stopped by and took 30 grocery packages back to their senior residents. They were very thankful, and it was a blessing that they were aware of their resident’s needs,” stated Major Anita Caldwell.

“One resident even told one of the women that the hotdogs she received in her grocery package were the best hot dogs she’s had in a long time,” Major Anita Caldwell added.

Pascagoula, Lucedale, and Gulfport Salvation Army locations are providing food packages by appointment, and the Biloxi Kroc Center is providing prepared meals. Though the Army is currently focusing on seniors within the community, officers suspect other demographics will need help as the effects of COVID-19 are more prevalent in their area.

“We know several people who have said they have one more week of pay. When that money is gone, they won’t have resources to provide food for themselves. When that time comes, we’re not sure how we’ll be called upon to make a difference,” stated Major Bradley Caldwell. “We’re working to do what we can as we’re being asked to help by local government officials. We’re limiting our focus to seniors in the neighborhood for now because we don’t know what responsibilities we may have to take on in the coming days,” he added.

To help The Salvation Army continue to serve those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, make your secure online donation today.

Jackson Salvation Army Delivering Necessities To Seniors

With the disruption of normal routines and access to necessary supplies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,  a disproportionate number of lower-income Americans could be impacted. The Salvation Army in Jackson, MS is taking steps to mitigate this impact and provide physical and spiritual care. With a desire to keep their community safe and to follow CDC recommendations,

“It is our goal to make certain that our senior population does not go hungry or forgotten during this difficult time”

The Salvation Army Jackson has canceled all community programs in their facilities. However, they are delivering boxes of food and supplies to the homes of 70 seniors who have come to rely on hot, nutritious meals at their facilities. “It is our goal to make certain that our senior population does not go hungry or forgotten during this difficult time,” said Michelle Hartfield, the Director of Community Relations in Jackson.

If you would like to help The Salvation Army continue to serve your neighbors in need throughout this crisis, you can make a donation online here.

Highlighting Feeding Programs in Mississippi

Hundreds of thousands of meals were provided throughout Mississippi by The Salvation Army in 2019. Those meals include home-cooked meals, home-delivered meals, meals provided at the shelter, mobile canteen meals, holiday meals, and more. The Army’s Mississippi feeding program highlights of the year are the Jackson and Tupelo locations, which collectively distributed 159,326 meals last year. These locations offer several assistance programs including grocery assistance and daily meals for their communities. They also host annual events to raise awareness and funds for their local feeding programs, such as Jackson’s SOUPer Bowl and Tupelo’s Empty Bowls.

Jackson

Corps Officers: Majors Robert & Karen Lyle

The Jackson Corps helps to cure hunger by providing nutritious meals to anyone in need. In addition to addressing the immediate symptoms of food insecurity, the programs are designed to help identify and treat its root cause. This holistic approach to the needs of each person helps move many from “hungry” to “fully healed.”

Jackson provides breakfast and dinner 365 days a year at its Center of Hope as well as lunch on the weekends. The Center of Hope is an adult-only shelter that provides breakfast, dinner, counseling, and access to showers, laundry, and other amenities. Residents are also provided with assistance and tools to find employment.

Meals are also provided twice a week through the senior’s programs and once a week through a youth character development class. Food boxes are also offered to every Angel Tree family each Christmas.

A total of 43,490 meals were served and 2,827 grocery orders were distributed by the Jackson corps in 2019. The location also hosted its 23rd annual SOUPer Bowl fundraiser, the main event focused on raising funds for feeding programs, Sunday, February 2, 2020, at the Sparkman Auditorium at the Mississippi Agricultural Museum.

The event takes place every year on Superbowl Sunday and features soups and desserts donated by over 20 local restaurants and served by volunteer local celebrity servers. Past servers have included many Jackson area television and radio personalities and Miss and Mrs. Mississippi. Each year, attendees can taste as many soups and desserts as they would like and enjoy live music, a silent auction, and games.

Tupelo, MS

Corps Officers: Majors Ray & Whitney Morton

“We are painfully aware that Mississippi is the most food-insecure state,” Major Whitney Morton, Tupelo Corps Officer.

Due to this awareness, Major Morton makes sure the Tupelo location is doing its best to keep the community fed and healthy.

The new Tupelo building, which opened in late 2019, features space for families, who before had to live in separate quarters, and a newly expanded Soup Kitchen.

Tupelo has a daily feeding program that serves 75-100 people at lunch and approximately 50 people for dinner. So that all meals are covered in the Tupelo area, a local church serves a hot breakfast each weekday. These meals are available to anyone in the community, free of charge.

The shelter did not have access to a kitchen during summer 2019, and the canteen had broken down and needed significant repairs. To ensure that no one went hungry in their neighborhood, nearby churches, civic groups, food trucks, and partner agencies took turns serving meals prepared off-site and brought to The Salvation Army’s parking lot.

“It was incredible to see the community in action and the church being the church in the fullest sense,” said Major Whitney Morton, Tupelo Corps Officer.

Tupelo served 115,836 meals, provided 664 grocery orders, and delivered 4,343 meals to individual’s homes. These meals are only possible through community donations of funds, food, and friendship. Many of the volunteers who prepare and serve food have been doing so for years. Each weekend for the last eight years, Stone Soup Ministry partners have made and served Saturday lunches in Tupelo. They line up volunteers, pay for the food, and prepare it in time for lunch.

Tupelo served roughly 3,000 meals with the help of 323 volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. Community members began preparation for the holiday weeks in advance, readying green bean casseroles, fluffy sweet potatoes, and dressing. Charter Tupelo Salvation Army Advisory Board member, JenniLynn Johnson, has organized the Thanksgiving Community meal for fifty years.

The Tupelo Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary hosts the community’s most significant annual spring celebration, Empty Bowls, a fundraising event to raise money for feedings at the shelter, similar to Jackson’s SOUPer Bowl. Last year’s event raised over $45,000. This year’s event is Wednesday, March 4.

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.

The Salvation Army ready if needed with tropical storm heading for the Gulf Coast

JACKSON, MS (June 20, 2017) – The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is preparing for the potential impact of Invest 93L along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) of The Salvation Army has asked all 31 Corps and sixteen service centers across the three-state area to ready equipment and disaster personnel for deployment should the need arise.
“The first priority for The Salvation Army is to ensure its Officers, staff and volunteers are safe and that the facilities and equipment are secure,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “However, we are also ready to respond and provide support to those who will potentially be impacted from this storm.
The Salvation Army is working closely with state and local emergency management to monitor where the storm could possibly have the greatest impact. This also helps coordinate where to send out personnel and equipment, such mobile feeding units which provide hot meals, hydration and snacks.
Lightheart continued, “Regardless of where the impact my be, we will be ready to serve with helping hands and a willing heart.”

To keep up to date on all The Salvation Army is doing to help those in need and to donate to help us serve those in need, you can log onto our website at salvationarmyalm.org or on social media at facebook.com/ALMdivision and twitter.com/salarmyalm

The Salvation Army responding, standing by should weather become serious over the weekend

The Salvation Army is already providing aid to residents affected by a round of severe storms moving across the southern part of our Division and first responders on the scene helping those in need. Salvation Army Officers, Majors Bert and Cristy Lind, with the Laurel, Mississippi Corps have deployed a mobile feeding unit to serve drinks and snacks in Mize, Mississippi.

Thursday afternoon the National Weather Service says an EF-2 tornado touched down near Magee in Simpson County and Mize in Smith County, both Southeast of Jackson, Mississippi. The storm toppled trees and power lines, plus damaged several homes and causing flash flooding.

Other Salvation Army Corps are on standby from Jackson to New Orleans to Mobile with more storms being forecast for this weekend. Currently, the National Weather Service is predicting severe weather throughout the weekend with the potential for more high wind and tornadic activity.

“The entire Division is on alert,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division. “Equipment and personnel are ready to deploy and provide disaster relief services as needed.”

The Salvation Army will coordinate its response with state and local emergency management officials in order to provide for areas with the most need.

Flight to the North Pole

On Dec. 15, 2015, The Salvation Army of Jackson, MS, participated in the 10th Annual Flight to the North Pole event. More than 60 children were treated to the event, where they were “flown” to the North Pole by the MS Air National Guard, met Santa & Mrs. Claus, played with elves, and each received their very own bike and sack of toys and goodies! The event was sponsored by Y101, the Mississippi Air National Guard, the Brain Injury Association, and The Salvation Army Jackson Metro Area.

National Advisory Board visits ALM Division for the first time

When 44 of the brightest minds in business come to your division with the goal of making The Salvation Army better, it’s an event to celebrate.

Not only was this the first time the National Advisory Board (NAB) held its quarterly meetings in the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division (ALM), it was the first time the NAB convened in a smaller metropolitan area, Jackson, Mississippi.  Two facts not lost on Divisional Commander, Major Ronnie Raymer.

“These meetings put us on a national stage. The members of the National Advisory Board have influence throughout this great nation that translates into much needed support of The Salvation Army of which this division is a key part,” said Major Raymer.

Officers from all four territories, National Headquarters, including Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffery, and board members were greeted at the airport by Divisional Officers and staff. Each guest received a gift bag filled with Mississippi based items including a divisional booklet highlighting nine different corps programs as well as Emergency/Disaster Services, Angel Tree and youth summer camp in the ALM Division.

“This week gives us an opportunity to express the unique needs of our citizens in this part of the United States. Without these meetings, it might not otherwise be afforded to us,” said Major Raymer.

Following arrivals, a full day of meetings and discussions faced board members. First, Captain Chapman welcomed everyone to Jackson, officially with a breakfast including 75 local CEOs and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.

This board meeting also marked the first for William Burke as Board Chairman. Chairman Burke from Columbus, Ohio is the Senior Vice President for Corporate Marketing for Nationwide Financial. He walked away impressed.

“Jackson is a very vibrant city, the state is growing. There’s lots of energy and innovation and lots of care for those people in the part of the country,” said Burke.

Board member and former First Lady, Laura Bush also made the trip to Jackson to take part in all the events surrounding the meetings.

Thursday evening proved to be the highlight of the week for officers and board members alike. The Jackson Corps hosted a reception and dinner inside its Corps Community Center featuring chefs and food from across Mississippi. The entertainment was provided by local young adults, teens and children who use the center every day. Plus, local troop, Ballet Magnificat danced to Joy to the World and Territorial Headquarters Commissioner Don Bell was called on stage to feed Frank the Camel.

Commissioner Bell says by bringing the NAB to Corps across the country, each local advisory board finds out what is going on nationally, plus the local members see what it really takes in Doing The Most Good.

“Through their efforts, we raise the image of the Army. So by bringing the NAB to Jackson, we think The Salvation Army’s efforts in Jackson will get a boost,” said Commissioner Bell.

Planning for the week began months ago and many hours of work went into making sure this would be a time to remember for all involved. The meetings were deemed a success.

“We have a lot to be proud of here in the South and it’s pretty cool to show this off,” said Major Raymer.