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Despite flooding at Baton Rouge Corps, Salvation Army ready to respond

The record rainfall over the last two days in Southeast Louisiana and South Mississippi causing roads to be closed and mandatory evacuations in several communities has not spared the Baton Rouge Salvation Army facilities.

“We were able to move all our response vehicles off our property and to high ground, but unfortunately we will not be able to use our facilities to assist those escaping the rising waters,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Baton Rouge Salvation Army Corps Officer.

Captain Meredith says in the local area around the Corps was hit with twenty inches of rain and more is expected through the weekend. Water has entered the buildings on campus.

“We are all shell shocked right now, but I know we have lots of prayers being lifted up for us, so we will make it through,” said Captain Meredith.

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Divisional Emergency/Disaster Services Director Terry Lightheart is monitoring the situation, but for now, the rising waters around Baton Rouge are forcing resources to be put on hold until safe passage into the affected areas can be assured.

“The interstate and highways in some areas have been closed for now, but as soon as the water recedes, we will have our canteens rolling in to help not just our Corps but those in the community who need help,” said Lightheart.

Canteens from Biloxi, Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, New Orleans, and Alexandria, Louisiana are all on standby and waiting to respond once water levels drop. The Salvation Army does have a disaster liaison working with the Louisiana State Emergency Management Agency monitor the situation.

To help those in these flooded areas across Southeast Louisiana, you can donate by going to http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/gulf_coast_floods.

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About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. 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 victims, 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. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyalm.org/batonrouge

ALM personnel heading to West Virginia aiding Army’s response to “historic” flood

West Virginia 2The Salvation Army is actively helping survivors of the “historic” flooding in West Virginia, but with more rain expected and so many residents in need, the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) Division has accepted the request to send our Emergency/Disaster Service Director, Terry Lightheart and Baton Rouge Corps Officer, Captain Brett Meredith to help with The Salvation Army’s response.

“The Salvation Army rallies to those in need,” said Lightheart. “Right now, the greatest need in West Virginia is getting food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual care.  We are working with government agencies, other relief organizations and thousands of volunteers. We have to work together to do all we can to help those affected get back to some normalcy as soon as possible.”

“The flooding has been devastating to the region, and as I prepare to go to the affected area, I pray that The Salvation Army and other organizations can provide comfort, care, and material assistance to those who may have lost everything,” states Captain Meredith.

The flooding began Thursday when nine inches or more of rain fell on parts of West Virginia in six to eight hours. Forty-four counties, primarily in the southeastern part of the state, were under a state of emergency on Thursday night.

In the first 72 hours, The Salvation Army provided more than 6,600 meals, nearly 3,400 snacks, and more 7,500 drinks to flood victims and emergency responders.  These services will continue as long as needed and as requested by West Virginia County Emergency Operation Centers.  As relief efforts continue, The Salvation Army anticipates widespread distribution of cleanup supplies and the initiation of case work after the July 4th holiday.

How people can help:

You can help by providing financial assistance to fund the flood relief work in West Virginia.  Those who wish to support The Salvation Army’s disaster response may do so by sending a check earmarked “June 2016 West Virginia Floods”  to their local Salvation Army office, online at http://tinyurl.com/zu6rn47, or by making a credit card donation at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.  Be sure to designate the donation for the “June 2016 West Virginia Floods.”

Although The Salvation Army is not requesting in-kind goods donations at this time, gifts of gently-used household goods, clothing, etc., are always needed by Salvation Army Family Stores to support their work in the local community. Find out more at SAtruck.org, or call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).

 About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. 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 victims, 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. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyalm.org.

Shelters, warming stations opening to help those in need escape winter weather

20150219-DSC05134The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is caring for those in need during the severe weather that brought dangerously low temperatures, plus snow and sleet in some areas. Many of our local corps will open emergency shelters and warming stations while temperatures continue to drop. They are also extending hours for several of our shelters.

Snow and sleet in north Mississippi prompted Greenville and Greenwood Corps to open an overnight shelter and warming stations for local residents to escape the conditions.

In Greenville, the overnight shelter opens at 7pm. The warming station is open from 8:30am until 2:30pm.

“We know this is dangerous weather for anyone to be out in overnight,” said Lieutenant Damon Graham, Greenville Corps Officer. “We want folks to know they have a place to stay or simply a place to go get warm.”

Coffee snacks, and meals in some cases are available in the warming station.

In Greenwood, the overnight shelter is open from 6pm till 9am and the warming station opens at 10am and closes at 6pm.

“The Salvation Army will keep these places open as long as there are people who need them. We won’t turn anyone away,” said Captain Ben Deuel, Greenwood Corps Officer.

Both shelters and warming stations are open to the general public.

In Hunstville, Alabama, Corps Officer, Major Donald Wilson says they are maintaining a warming station, but they are also helping the homeless who may not want to come to The Salvation Army’s facilities.

“We currently have supplies such as coats, gloves, blankets and toboggans for the homeless who plan to stay outside. Plus, our canteen is ready to serve if needed,” said Wilson.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mobile, Alabama, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast emergency cold weather shelters will be open as long as there is a need.

The Corps will continue to monitor the conditions about whether to open up on future days or nights as conditions and circumstances warrant.

To contact The Salvation Army in your area, please go to the locations page on our website at www.salvationarmyalm.org/locations

Jon-Kalahar

The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi sending aid to areas hit by historic flooding

south carolina supplies 5The Emergency Disaster Services of The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) is joining in the effort to assist residents in South Carolina hit hardest by severe storms and flooding. South Carolina has received a federal disaster declaration to include 11 counties. The ALM Division is supporting the response and recovery efforts by providing 1400 disaster clean-up kits, 78 insulated food distribution containers (cambros) and 9,000 cambro liners. The semi-truckload of supplies is being shipped to South Carolina from our warehouse located in Jackson.

The insulated food containers will be utilized to support bulk distribution of hot food to affected residents.  The clean-up kits will be distributed to local residents to assist in recovery efforts. A clean-up kit consists of household cleaning supplies such as a broom, mop, bleach, all-purpose cleaner, a pair of cleaning and work gloves, face mask, scrub brush and squeegee mop.

Terry Lightheart, ALM Divisional Emergency Services Director, who is currently deployed as a Salvation Army Liaison at the South Carolina State Emergency Operations Center stated, “Supplies are being provided from ALM to South Carolina through a request from The Salvation Army South Carolina Incident Command. Much work has already taken place. However, there is more to be done to help residents affected from this storm, specifically from devastating flooding.”

As part of the mission of The Salvation Army we provide emergency disaster services and relief to those affected without discrimination in the name of Jesus Christ. Currently, The Salvation Army is providing food, drinks, snacks, clean-up kits and emotional and spiritual care. These services will continue throughout the response and recovery efforts.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by the storm to please give through one of four channels.

You can donate online at: disaster.salvationarmyusa.org

You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text STORM to 51555.

You can also donate by mailing a check to The Salvation Army, Southern Territorial Headquarters at P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Please label checks “East Coast Floods.”

Lightheart takes over Emergency/Disaster Services for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division

Terry Lightheart 1For The Salvation Army’s Emergency/Disaster Services, you hope your services aren’t needed, but you must be ready in case they are. That’s the fine line these employees walk. You may not be needed each day or even each week, but when you are called upon, you must be prepared to respond. Disaster services is all about preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

Growing up in Canton, Mississippi, with an Army Lieutenant Colonel father, our division’s newest Emergency Disaster Services Director, Terry Lightheart says preparedness was just a part of everyday life.

“My father and mother believed in always being prepared. When we shopped for groceries, it was for a month’s supply. Living on a farm, we always had a garden and preserved what we grew. My father also kept extra supplies such as fuel, batteries, flashlights, camping equipment etc. as a backup so that our lives would not be too disrupted in an emergency,” said Lightheart.

This type of living instilled in a young Lightheart a sense of personal responsibility that launched within her a passion for preparedness as an adult.

“I realized that I wanted to be involved in emergency management as a career after becoming a disaster response volunteer for the American Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina,” said Lightheart. “An opportunity to do just that came when a full-time salaried position as the Emergency Services Manager opened. I was already actively involved as a volunteer, so I was thrilled to fill the position.”

This decision opened doors for other opportunities to serve in the emergency management profession. Prior to joining The Salvation Army family, Lightheart served as the Director for the Office of Preparedness with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of three Bureaus (Exercise, Plans and Training). In this capacity, she coordinated the efforts of the Plans Section for the State Emergency Operations Center and served as the Chair for the Governors Active Shooter Task Force. Prior to this appointment, Terry served as the Hurricane Program Manager for MEMA, and as a Senior All Hazards Planner for the Mississippi State Department of Health where she focused on earthquake, mass fatality, and non-ambulatory patient transportation planning training, coordination, and exercise.

“Through prior positions, I have had the opportunity to work with The Salvation Army,” said Lightheart. “I was impressed with how the representatives that I encountered were always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide disaster relief services to those in need. It was evident that The Salvation Army was and is invaluable prior to, during and after disaster related events.”

Lightheart firmly believes that emergency preparedness is a team and community effort.  She sees her and other ALM-EDS staff primary roles and responsibilities as providing support to the Corps and Service Centers. Therefore, one of her first goals is to become better acquainted with The Salvation Army officers, local and state community leaders, and other Salvation Army family members in order to promote awareness and continuity of operations across the three state division. Several other goals include working as a team to develop a written Emergency Operations Plan,  recruitment of disaster response volunteers through training and exercise ultimately building a response team that is three levels deep to cover incident command positions during  states of emergency and as requested, to provide divisional support for disaster response and recovery efforts.

Lightheart is pleased to learn how much The Salvation Army does outside of disaster services.

“Prior to this position, I was not fully aware of The Salvations Army’s mission. I am impressed with the diversity of programs which includes a whole community concept of unconditionally serving all those who are in need through ministering and providing support for daily living. I have no reservations about being a part of this great organization and have felt nothing but welcomed by everyone that I have encountered I support the mission and I am glad to help in any way that I can.”

Terry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University. She has earned the designation as a Mississippi Certified Emergency Manager (MCEM). Since 2013, Terry has served as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for International Association of Emergency Managers – USA (IAEM-USA). She serves on a volunteer basis as an Assessor for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), is a member of the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association, a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Epsilon Pi Phi Emergency Management Honor Society.