Posts

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.

Partnership Feeding Personnel at MS Plane Crash Site Continuing into Next Week


Partnership Feeding Personnel at MS Plane Crash Site Continuing into Next Week A KC-130 military plane carrying 16 Marines and crew crashed Monday afternoon in Leflore county, Mississippi killing all on board. The United States Marines along with emergency personnel from the Federal, state and local level are investigating and providing security to the crash site.

The Salvation Army, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps is partnering with the Southern Baptist Association to make sure all these responders are fed, hydrated and cared for while they work in the brutally hot temperatures of the Mississippi Delta.

“The Southern Baptist Association is very generous to help in this way,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps Officer. “They are cooking the meals, we load them on our truck, and deliver them.

Mississippi Valley State University is providing an air-conditioned building where the food can be served and those working at the crash site can cool off. Drinks and snacks are also served at the crash site. Local Churches are also providing assistance.

“We will be serving lunch and dinner starting Monday and continuing that as long as we are needed here, but we will continue our lunch service through the weekend,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

To this point, The Salvation Army has served over 1000 meals and 2000 drinks since Tuesday at lunch. and provided emotional and spiritual care to several individuals throughout the week.

“All these groups and organizations coming together to help our military and first responders really shows God’s grace in a time of terrible grief and loss for these families. Our prayers continue to be lifted up for their loss,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

The Salvation Army Serving Following Military Plane Crash in Mississippi


Leflore County, MS – A C-130 military transport plane carrying 16 Marines and crew crashed Monday afternoon in Leflore County, Mississippi near the towns of Moorhead and Itta Bena. Local media is reporting all on board were killed.

The local emergency management director requested The Salvation Army, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps serve 200 meals for lunch to emergency personnel.

“We are so saddened by what took place Monday and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the military members on board,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis. “Right now, there are many emergency responders doing all they can to figure out what happened, and we will do our best to support them in this tough, emotional work.”

Federal, state, and local personnel are on site to investigate the crash and provide security to the site which covers a wide area.

“We will also offer emotional and spiritual care to these responders who need a listening ear, support or a simple prayer that God helps them through this task,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

Giving Veterans a Hand up in Shreveport

Perouz Farokhkish is proud of his service in the United States Army. Growing up Christian in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a Middle Eastern father and American mother, he saw no signs of prejudice or hatred. When he returned home after two tours supporting the war in Iraq, he couldn’t help but notice something was different.

“The best I can describe it is like a Vietnam veteran, it was very difficult,” said Farokhkish. “For me, I was a man just like anyone else.”

Following the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11, Farokhkish says his Middle Eastern decent made him stand out. He isolated himself, not leaving home very much. Looking back now he says he didn’t trust people especially the Veterans Administration Hospitals he needed to get help. For fifteen years, Farokhkish kept to himself, kept his thoughts and feelings locked inside.

“When you get out, there was nothing there to help you re-balance, so you get out and all you know is to run, and if you can’t run, if something trips you, you are a complete and total failure.”

Then a referral to The Salvation Army in Shreveport changed his life. Perouz says the compassion showed by the staff in the Veteran’s shelter and by the officers helped him open up.

“I always needed to talk but didn’t know who would allow me to let it out,” said Farokhkish. “Being able to talk to other veterans was greatly helpful. For me to be able to help the elderly veterans to navigate simple things like a cell phone, it was therapeutic to think even here I could give back.”

Perouz stayed in the veterans’ shelter for five months. He now is enrolled at Louisiana State University-Shreveport studying Psychology. He is grateful to those who helped him at The Salvation Army and volunteers to this day.

“Finding other veterans who experienced similar situations was really comforting,” said Farokhkish. “And gave me a lot of solace to know that you can come out of that. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever.”

The Salvation Army of Shreveport has worked hand in hand with the Overton Brooks VA Hospital by providing transitional and emergency housing for homeless Veterans both male and female.

The veterans shelter offers 29 beds, 24 for men and five for women.

In 2016, The Salvation Army provided nearly 8,000 nights of lodging for veterans and over 20,000 meals serving 250 veterans overall.

To get more information on how The Salvation Army is helping veterans in Shreveport, please click here.

“God’s going to see us through every bit of this.”

All across the country, Salvation Army officers are slowly beginning to find their footing at new appointments. Majors Ernest (Ernie) and Debra (Debbie) Hull are no different. The Hulls spent the first seventeen years of their officerships in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division. There they became friends and served under the current ALM Divisional Commanders, Majors Steve and Wendy Morris.

“We are known for getting corps out of debt, so they send us where corps are in debt,” Major Ernie Hull says with a smile.

Their current challenge is bigger than any they’ve faced before in every aspect…bigger city, bigger operation, bigger bills to pay. The Hulls are now leading the New Orleans Area Command. While a bigger challenge, the approach will be the same for the Hulls.

“Everywhere we go we love the community, it becomes our home,” said Major Ernie. “By bettering The Salvation Army, we will better the community at large.”

It’s definitely a team approach. Major Debbie focuses on the finances, and Major Ernie focuses on outreach.

“We’ve learned the goal is to live within our means, streamline the operation,” said Major Ernie. “Get me in front of influential people and we’ll give them the story of the Army. We are going to touch their hearts in order to make the New Orleans Area Command the most efficient command in this Division.”

Major Ernie is also very humbled to now lead the command where his friend, Major Richard Brittle, gave his life helping survivors following Hurricane Katrina.

“I was prepared, but I was humbled walking into the Richard Brittle Center of Hope, knowing my good friend gave his life to save this place. I’m just humbled to carry on a legacy of love he had here.”

Kisiah’s Story: “Could you possibly help me, and if not I understand.”

It’s a problem many of the people who enter The Salvation Army face, a tough decision with no good answer. In Kisiah Livingston’s case, she had to work to pay the rent, but couldn’t afford the cost of daycare for her three-year-old. With no one to help, she stopped working to care for her child. She would soon face the likelihood of eviction.

“I came to The Salvation Army,” said Livingston. “They could tell by my demeanor I was just needing some type of help.”

Kisiah says she didn’t know what to expect, but was at the end of her rope.

“I was like, look it’s either a yay or a nay. I was just being honest with myself and the people who could possibly help me. I’m like, ‘could you possibly help me and if not I understand’,” said Livingston.

I wasn’t too long before Kisiah’s prayers were answered.

“They made a phone call and told me yes. I just busted out crying cause I could not believe how much they would just go beyond to help a person like me,” said Livingston. “I will be forever grateful for The Salvation Army.”

The Salvation Army provided Kisiah with rent assistance for six months. She is expecting her second child this summer. Without The Salvation Army’s help, Kisiah’s only other option would have been to stay in the women’s shelter. The Shreveport Salvation Army is also working with Kisiah to find her child care so she can keep her job this time.

Because of the understanding and love shown to her by The Salvation Army in Shreveport, Kisiah now shares her story with “others” who might need assistance as well.

“I point them in the right direction, which is The Salvation Army.”

A Home of Their Own

A place to call home is all Michaela Bustamante wanted for her two children, and she was determined not to let anything get in her way…not an abusive relationship, not the lack of a job, or twice living homeless.

“I was in a domestic violence relationship,” said Bustamante. “We separated and things went downhill from there. I kept trying to get in school to make our life better for us, but it was hard.”

That’s when she heard about a program at her local Salvation Army.

“I needed help. It was hard on my own,” said Bustamante. “You might have someone say, ‘oh, you can come stay with me,’ and they take your money and put you out the next day, but The Salvation Army is not like that. They are actually there to help you.”

The Salvation Army provides solid ground for those looking for more out of life.

“Trying to find someone to keep my son while I go to school, trying to keep a job and once I got into the shelter, the shelter provided all these things I was looking for,” said Bustamante. “Not only just shelter but daycare, tokens to get on the bus to go look for a job.”

Each year, The Salvation Army in the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division is working to end homelessness and poverty and break the cycle that affects generation after generation. Not only did we provide over 350 thousand nights of shelter last year, but also, assistance to pay power bills, job training and counseling sessions as well as transportation to work and job interviews.

But the main thing we offer through these programs is something many who walk in The Salvation Army don’t know they need. Michaela has seen it in her children since moving in her new home.

“Once I got the stability I have now, their grades have gone up, their behavior has changed. They are more settled. They are not all over the place.”

Thirteen year old Adrian, can see the benefits in his mother too.

“She can sit down and help me with my homework and doesn’t have to be worried about everything else,” said Adrian.

Michaela earned her Certified Nursing Assistant’s degree while going through the program as well. She cherishes those who helped her along the way, her children running in after school, and most of all their own place to call home.

“It’s warming. It’s nice to have a place to stay and being able to come in and fix whatever you want to eat, and lay down in your own bed. I love it.”

The Salvation Army meeting need after tornado outbreak in New Orleans

New Orleans, LA (February 7, 2017) – The Salvation Army is already serving in one of the hardest hit areas near New Orleans as storms dropped several tornados around noon Tuesday. A canteen (mobile feeding unit) was dispatched to Chef Menteur Highway and Wilson Road in New Orleans to serve food, drinks and snacks to residents affected by the severe weather, but also to many first responders on the ground.
“We want to be there to help and serve those who are aiding residents who potentially lost everything in this storm,” said Major David Worthy, Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army New Orleans Area Command.

Disaster workers are also assessing damage in other areas of South Louisiana to see if further mobile feeding units will be needed. Currently, six parishes in the state received damage.

“We will also continue to monitor these storms as they move east through Mississippi and Alabama,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “The potential is there for more severe weather.”

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.
· Donate Online: http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/february_gulf_coast_tornados
· Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate ‘February Gulf Coast Tornadoes’ on all checks
· Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)

Salvation Army canteens reaching areas under served following Hattiesburg tornado

Melissa and Mike Bagett

(Lamar County, MS) Looking around you wonder how anything is left standing. Very few trees are upright, and even fewer homes on a stretch of Sullivan-Kilrain Road in Lamar County, Mississippi just outside of Hattiesburg. Most of what was here is now scattered across several stretches of property. Residents were told this is where Saturday morning’s tornado touched down and began its path of destruction for fifteen more miles.

Melissa Bagett is looking for the hidden treasures of family pictures she might find through the piles of debris left behind. Melissa and her husband Mike were here when the tornado touch down just outside their home.

“I heard it come over the trees,” said Mike Bagett. “When they say get in the bath tub, get in the bath tub. It was over in five seconds but it left this.”

A portion of their roof was ripped off by the storm and vehicles were pushed several feet by the strong winds. Homes up and down this road experienced the same, but all walked away. Now they must rebuild or move like the Bagetts are doing. The Salvation Army was the first service organization to stop by and offer help in the form of meals and a friendly face.

“It means the world,” said Melissa Bagett. “We all are having to do a lot of work out here and don’t have time to eat. It’s appreciated.”

“It helps. It tells me the community understands you need sustenance after something like this,” said Mike Bagett.

Mike is right when he says community. These are local Salvation Army disaster volunteers from the Hattiesburg Corps dropping off several containers of food.

Hattiesburg Corps officers, Captains Patrick and Stacey Connelly have turned their attention to healing those devastated by the storms despite having lost the use of most of their facilities themselves.

“We are still in a state of shock, but we had to make sure we took care of the community that supports us,” said Captain Patrick Connelly.

Right now, the estimate to getting back in these buildings is six to nine months. For now, a portable office is already set up on the campus.

“We knew immediately we needed a game plan to run out social services, our Boys’ and Girls’ Club and to meet needs,” said Captain Stacey Connelly.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation to the charity of your choice. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

The Salvation Army providing warmth, place to stay as winter weather hits the South

Warming stations, shelters open and extending hours across Alabama and Mississippi

JACKSON, MS -With Winter Storm Helena pushing freezing temperatures, ice and snow into the Deep South, The Salvation Army is responding with a warm place to stay, a hot meal, and  supplies for those in need across Alabama and Mississippi.

The Tuscaloosa Corps opened a warming station Thursday evening as temperatures dropped. The Tuscaloosa’s Center of Hope has 73 beds available with the ability to take in up to 130 residents should the need arise. The warming station is expected to be open through the weekend.

“The Salvation Army has a safe, warm place to stay for those trying to get out of the cold, said Major William Shafer, Tuscaloosa Corps Officer. “If the weather continues into next week, we will keep our doors open as long as there is a need.”

In locations as far south as Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama, The Salvation Army has opened its doors and is providing meals. In those locations, once the temperature drops below 40 degrees warming stations are open and shelters extend their hours to help all who don’t have a place to stay.

“”We will open our cold weather shelter with meals until the temperature is better,” said Major Mark Brown, Coastal Alabama Command Officer.

Even in places like Baton Rouge, where last August’s flooding left The Salvation Army without a shelter, officers and personnel will be moving through city streets offering blankets, soup, and coffee.

“The weather this past year has presented many challenges to our neighbors and even to us at The Salvation Army, and today is another challenge with the cold.  After losing all of our command facilities, The Salvation Army is still here to provide help and hope to those in our community,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Baton Rouge Corps Officer. “We will have two vehicles roaming through the city serving from 3pm through late in the evening.”

The Columbus, Mississippi Corps will also deploy a warmth patrol in their area serving hot chocolate, coffee and handing out blankets.

As the storm moves across Alabama, corps in Huntsville, Montgomery and Anniston, Alabama are ready to welcome those who need to get out of the dangerously cold temperatures.

Local residents in need can expect all our locations to include extended hours for shelter as well as hot meals and beverages available to those who need to escape the cold.

To find a Salvation Army Corps in your area, please call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or log onto our website at salvationarmyalm.org and click on LOCATIONS.

The Salvation Army Breaks Ground on $25 Million Center of Hope Campus

Over 200 people turned out to help The Salvation Army of Birmingham celebrate the construction launch of the new   Salvation Army Center of Hope, a 119,000 square foot facility, which will include additional emergency and transitional housing, and a new education and workforce development center for clients and the Birmingham community.

The Center of Hope will be funded by the Building Hope Capital Campaign initiative, which is a $15 million capital campaign. The 4.1 acre campus will be comprised of a building complex that will place major Salvation Army programs and services together for a one-stop location to provide comprehensive family, community and social services. The new facility will allow The Salvation Army room for future expansion and growth.  The program and services housed at the New Center of Hope will offer solutions to some of the biggest societal issues and challenges faced today by families, youth, our neighborhoods and our city – problems such as poverty, homelessness, addiction and education.

“This is an important day in the history of The Salvation Army of Birmingham. We’ve been providing services in the city since 1899 and have been in the same building for nearly 50 years,” said Major Bob Parker, Area Commander. “The new Center of Hope will provide an opportunity to serve those in need in new ways and we are excited about the impact it will make in people’s lives for years to come.”

“I just wanted to let God’s love show through.” Donating to make a difference

dsc03939Kelli Stewart of Covington, Louisiana is a 36 year old mother of three year old triplets and now a three month old. Add to that, she’s the owner of Lullaby Set Children’s clothing, and you get the idea that her life is pretty hectic.

Like many across Louisiana, Stewart was devastated by the images that came across her television screen and phone following 30 inches of rainfall two weeks ago. Her first thought was about all the families out there who were impacted…families like hers. What must they be thinking? How can I help them?

“I was looking to help, to be a blessing, and I love the mission of The Salvation Army,” said Stewart.

So, Stewart will donate hundreds of pieces of brand new children’s clothing from her store for ages newborn to six years old. The clothes still have the tags on them.

“I just wanted to let God’s love show through. Maybe they will realize, ‘wow, some stranger did this for me’, and pass it on to someone else,” said Stewart.

Plus, the fact she’s the mother to four young daughters, Stewart wants them to grow up knowing they need to give back and be a blessing. She also realizes her role in influencing her generation and younger generations currently building careers and families.

“Our parents raised us right, it’s time we show it,” said Stewart. “It’s our job to make a difference and give back. God’s put us on earth to help other people, more can be done.”