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Meridian Shelter Reopens

On August 16, 2019, the men’s shelter at The Salvation Army of Meridian, Mississippi, returned to operation after a four-month hiatus that was due to a severe staffing shortage. In the intervening time, the vacant facility fell into disrepair. Lt. Tamara Robb, the newly appointed Meridian Salvation Army Corps Officer, took over in June and immediately made it a top priority to get the shelter back up and running. “I had a man come to our door, sunburned and bitten by mosquitoes, who needed a place to stay. I knew with the summer being so hot that we had to get the shelter back open as quickly as possible,” says Lt. Robb.

It’s fair to say that while most people know homelessness exists, few see what it looks like on a daily basis. The Salvation Army works diligently every day to address the problems of homelessness and generational poverty by providing a new direction for people who have lost their way in life. Once again in Meridian, those with nowhere to go have a safe place to turn and the help of people who truly care.

Lt. Robb and her small staff have been working hard over the summer to get the shelter back up and running. With the help of “Love out Loud,” a cooperative ministry with the Baptist church, they began the process of clearing out overgrown landscaping, cleaning, and making small repairs. With the help of generous donations from the public and Habitat for Humanity, the shelter was made ready to serve those in need. It is that service that Lt. Robb is most eager to get back to. “We’re excited to reopen and to give these men a clean and safe place to stay,” says Lt. Robb. “Our goal is not just to give them a place to sleep and a meal, it is to feed them spiritually as well, and to help them find permanent housing,” she says. With the support of the public, The Salvation Army can continue to provide a meal, a clean place to sleep, and the opportunity these men need to make a lasting and positive change in their life.

Stuff the Bus

The Salvation Army Serving in Jacksonville, Alabama Following Severe Weather

jacksonville alabama tornado
March 20, 2018
Jon Kalahar | jon.kalahar@uss.salvationarmy.org


Jacksonville, AL – A line of severe storms moved across northern Mississippi and Alabama dropping large hail and spinning up several tornadoes Monday evening. The most extensive damage is in Calhoun County, Alabama where Jacksonville State University received a direct hit.

The Anniston Corps of The Salvation Army has been called to feed lunch and dinner Tuesday for 300 first responders at the Jacksonville Public Safety Complex. The Corps will also provide service delivery to volunteers responding to the area, as requested. The Anniston Corps mobile feeding unit will be supported by 3 additional mobile feeding units from Birmingham and Gadsden. Other resources throughout Alabama are on standby to provide support as needed.

“There are several buildings with roofs ripped right off,” said Major Eric Roberts, Anniston Corps Officer. “It breaks your heart knowing what these folks are going through, but we are here to offer a little bit of hope and a hot meal.”

Major Roberts and Salvation Army staff are also trained to offer emotional and spiritual care to residents who may have lost their homes and simply need to pray with or talk to someone.

“We want them to know they are not alone in this. They can always come to us for help.” said Major Roberts.

Other Salvation Army local units in northeast Alabama are continuing to assess service delivery needs.

“We are communicating with local and state emergency management officials to determine if there are additional needs in the state.” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We will provide service wherever it is needed.”


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

The Salvation Army moves equipment to higher ground, Sunday services cancelled along the Gulf Coast

Jackson, MS – As Tropical Storm Nate moves into the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is ready should their help be needed. Coastal locations in Mobile and Dothan, Alabama, Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi, and in New Orleans have their equipment in safe locations, plus all have cancelled Sunday services for this weekend.

“Water and food is ready to go,” said Major Tom Richmond, Coastal Alabama Command located in Mobile. “So are our personnel if we are called to respond.”

Sunday school classes and services will not be held in order to keep everyone safe and off the roads with Nate predicted to make landfall early Sunday morning. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Command will close its Family Stores and the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center this weekend in Biloxi.

“A lot of our employees and residents are more sensitive to these storms when they head our way having lived through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so we just think it’s better they stay home and prepare for Nate,” said Major Gary Sturdivant, Mississippi Gulf Coast Command.

The Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi has 25 mobile feeding vehicles ready to roll each with the capability to feed one thousand meals per day.

“All personnel and equipment have been recalled from Texas and Florida to make sure this three state Division is taken care of,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We are tired from serving after Harvey and Irma, but we know the Lord give us strength to meet needs wherever it may be.

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane 2017” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

Paychecks running out with many businesses still closed days after Irma, Army filling need

Sebring, FL. –In Highlands County, Florida, power is slowing being restored but for many it’s been five days in the sweltering heat with no air conditioning, no water and no ice. As if that wasn’t enough, many businesses have not reopened and hourly workers have no new income.

Melissa Gage is one of those workers.

“Out of power since Sunday, it just seems like it keeps getting hotter,” said Gage. “My paycheck ran out so we are here for a meal and some water.

Gage picked up six hot meals for her family just like several hundred other local residents in and around Sebring. The Salvation Army will top ten thousand meals served in Highlands County on their fifth day of service.

Ashley Ivey and her husband have two young girls. It’s been hard for them as well without power.

“They told us it would be Tuesday by midnight(for power to be restored),” said Ivey. “But our daughters have suffered heat exhaustion, they’re allergic to mosquitos too so it’s difficult right now.

Ivey said she explained to her daughters about the storm that, “this is what happens when you live in Florida.”

For many, the sooner the power can be restored, the better. The Salvation Army will remain in place to fill any needs for several days once the power does return.

22 workers from 6 states in Sebring, Florida with One Goal…Bringing Hope

Sebring, FL – Hectic doesn’t begin to describe the last three weeks for The Salvation Army across the southern United States. Two major hurricanes in Harvey and Irma, and potentially a third in Maria. Canteen crews, staff, volunteers and equipment from all over the country have converged on Texas and Florida, and will for the forseeable future. That makes for some pretty interesting staffing situations.

Like here in Sebring, Florida, officers, staff and volunteers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida are working side by side to prepare and distribute thousands of meals and drinks each day.

“I think it’s great,” said Victor Rutledge, who manages the Kentucky-Tennessee Division’s summer camp, Camp Paradise Valley. “To work with folks from other areas, connect with them, that’s the neat part of this.”

With this assignment, Rutledge ran into now McComb, Mississippi Corps Officer, Lieutenant Thomas Marion. Rutledge served as Marion’s summer camp counselor several years ago. They haven’t seen each other in eight years. Lieutenant Marion says the combination of staff from across the South and the country doesn’t have that big of an effect of the operation.

“We are all here for the same goal. It doesn’t matter where they’re from. It’s fun hearing the different accents,” said Lieutenant Marion.

In Sebring, first time disaster volunteer, Laderious Dowell from Memphis, Tennessee is working side by side with experienced veteran, Ronnie Cicchitto from Tampa, Florida who is serving meals from a mobile feeding truck in his forth disaster.

“We all work good together,” said Cicchitto. “Everyone helping the residents in ways only The Salvation Army can.”

The way the people feel when they see how much we care, they were saying we are the only people who do care for them,” said Dowell.

In the four days of service since the team has arrived in Sebring, Florida, nearly ten thousand meals have been served to Highlands County.

Officer’s prayer bracelets open conversation leading to salvation

Sebring, FL (September 16, 2017) – Emotional and spiritual care during disaster and emergency situations is why The Salvation Army stands out after the unthinkable happens. Not only do survivors need their physical needs taken care of, but just having someone to talk to can make all the difference.

Meridian, Mississippi Corps Officer, Major Young Soon Kim, on deployment in Sebring, Florida, takes a unique approach. She makes prayer bracelets from yarn and hands them out as she ministers to those coming to canteens for food and water.

“Making these bracelets is a hobby of mine,” said Major Kim. “I was packing to serve in Florida, and saw the yarn, so I thought it could be a tool I use to spread the gospel.”

Turns out her forethought was correct. Major Kim noticed a family of three waiting in their car for a hot meal as the mobile feeding truck set up to serve.

“We started talking and I heard their stories, how they were hurting,” said Major Kim. “I asked if they are Christians. The mother quickly said, ‘I am, but they’re not.’

Major Kim showed the family her bracelets…blue, red, and yellow interwoven together. Major Kim explained they are Salvation Army colors but also represent the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“The father told me he knew about the Trinity, but it wasn’t coming to his heart, because he had to be baptized,” said Major Kim. “I told him the story of the two men next to Jesus on the cross.”

Major Kim asked him if he thought the criminal next to Jesus was baptized. Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

“I tied the bracelet on his wrist and told him, nothing is blocking you now,” said Major Kim. “So, we prayed, and as soon as we finished, his daughter said, ‘I need to be saved too.’”

So, they got out of their car, held hands and Major Kim prayed one more time, this time with the daughter.

Major disasters, like Hurricane Irma, can turn lives upside down. We know feeding the body is the immediate need, but feeding the spirit makes all the difference in putting lives back together.

 

Joint effort from two Salvation Army Divisions means hope for Harvey survivors in Southeast Texas

Lake Charles, LA – What do you get when you combine the letters A-L-M and K-T? For those in Southeast Texas who have seen flood waters rise due to Harvey making landfall a second time, these letters spell H-O-P-E.

Two divisions of The salvation Army, Kentucky-Tennessee and Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, are combining to provide food, drinks and emotional and spiritual care to hundreds of residents cut off since Wednesday. Interstate 10 from Louisiana to Texas has been close to traffic following the storm.

The Kentucky-Tennessee Division’s, Major Roy Williams says they know their target city of Beaumont, Texas is without water, and The Salvation Army Corps in Port Authur, Texas has been damaged by water.

“At this point, we are sending one truck to find out what the situation is in Port Authur, Orange and Beaumont,” said Major Williams. “We want to see for ourselves before we deploy the canteens at our disposal.”

For canteen crews, they are ready to get in the affected area and help the residents in need. The Jackson, Mississippi Corps has a canteen and a catering truck in Lake Charles with three crew members. Sherman Sanders, a ten-year employee of the Jackson Corps, says he prepared to help now, but understand why they are delayed.

“We have to make sure of our safety, said Sanders. “We want to help people, but make sure we have a safe path to them.”

Crew member, Chris White says he and his team want to bring a blessing to those in need after Harvey.

“I haven’t been through what they are going through,” said White. “To help others is a blessing, and just put a smile on their faces.”

“It’s in our hearts. This could be us one day, and we would want other to help us,” said Sanders.

This team has six feeding trucks to serve those in need.

 

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

Salvation Army officers doing the most good as evacuees move into Louisiana

Lake Charles, LA – With most of the nation’s attention on Houston and Southeast Texas following Hurricane Harvey, Lake Charles, Louisiana as well as other cities in the state have seen a number of evacuees crossing state lines in search of a safe place to stay until the flood waters recede. Salvation Army officers, working alongside partner organizations, are helping care for hundreds in the shelter at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

“The original plan was for our canteen truck to support shelters in the area with hot meals,” said Lieutenant Richard Watts, Lake Charles Corps Officer. “The city and churches quickly realized that one consolidated shelter was the best option.”

Lieutenant Watts, with the help of 80 volunteers, has managed meals three times a day for up to 1200 evacuees and residents driven from their homes by Harvey. Lieutenant Watts says it sounds like a daunting task, but the community has come together to make sure all those in need are helped.

“We have rallied as a community, and you can’t ask for more than that,” said Lieutenant Watts.

Lieutenant Watts also received a helping hand from Alexandria Corps Officer, Major Glenn Riggs, who provided emotional and spiritual care for the shelter.

“It’s been about comforting,” said Major Riggs. “I’ve cried a little, encouraged, empathized with them, even though you couldn’t possible know what they are going through.”

Major Riggs estimates he’s prayed and encouraged nearly 300 folks in this shelter. He says he’s spoken with some who have lost loved ones and their homes from the storm.

“They are pleased with the care they’ve received here, and even with the uncertainty, in fairly good spirits,” said Major Riggs.

More evacuees are expected in cities across Louisiana according to officials because flood gates will have to be opened to release the built-up water.

 

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

The Salvation Army in Louisiana, Mississippi standing by if Harvey moves east, 29 canteens ready to respond

JACKSON, MS – As Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds, The Salvation Army in Louisiana and Mississippi must wait to see if Harvey turns back to the east. Officers, staff and volunteers across the three state Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division (ALM) are prepared to respond should that happen.

“We still are anticipating flooding here in Lake Charles,” said Lieutenant Richard Watts, Lake Charles, Louisiana Corps Officer. “The potential for severe weather will be with us into next week, so we are working with our local partners to make sure our community is prepared.”

A state of emergency has been declared by the Louisiana governor. The National Weather Service models for Southwest Louisiana show locations where up to twenty inches of rain could fall over the next week.

“We are asking the public and our personnel to be diligent,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director, ALM Division. “Just because Harvey has come ashore in Texas doesn’t mean this is over. We expect this to be at least a week-long event before we can determine Harvey’s impact here.”

The Salvation Army has 29 canteens or mobile feeding trucks stocked with water, snacks and food ready to respond if needed.

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

Salvation Army enters 2nd week of feeding after military plane crash

Itta Bena, MS – The Salvation Army, Greenwood Corps will continue feeding military personnel and law enforcement for a second week as the investigation and recovery operation is ongoing in Leflore County, Mississippi. Fifteen Marines and one naval corpsman were killed when their KC-130 military plane crashed last Monday afternoon.

“The Marines are still here, law enforcement is still here, so The Salvation Army will be here as long as there is need,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps Officer.

The Salvation Army began feeding Tuesday. Over the weekend, the transition was made to provide breakfast and lunch while local churches provide dinner. The Salvation Army also uses its mobile feeding truck to serve snacks and provide hydration to personnel at the crash site.

“We are working with the area Southern Baptist Association, Mississippi Valley State University and several churches, said Lt. Ellis. “This is just a bunch of folks coming together to help our military, our emergency responders and our law enforcement as they work in the extreme heat.”

So far, in the six days The Salvation Army has served in Leflore County, we have provided 1,773 meals, 2,800 drinks, 575 snacks and prayed with six individuals. With our officers, volunteers and employees have worked 174 hours.