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Tesa Doing Her Part to Help the Community and The Salvation Army

Tesa heard that The Salvation Army needed help passing out meals in her community. With no hesitation, she jumped in the car with a neighbor and headed out to volunteer. Tesa is only 10 years old and is in the 5th grade.

It’s been a rough couple of years for Tesa and her family. During Hurricane Zeta, in October 2020, their home was hit by a tornado and her bedroom was destroyed. “Due to the Covid pandemic and construction delays, it was really difficult to schedule repairs to our house,” said Theresa Delatte, Tesa’s mom. “She finally got to move back into her bedroom in July this year only now to be hit by Hurricane Ida. The storm damaged our new metal roof, and the rain poured into Tesa’s room. Her ceiling fell in, and her belongings are ruined.”

Even with all that is going on in her life, and the heartache of losing her room for a second time, Tesa was out working in the neighborhood right after the storm passed. “She’s been busy helping clean up by picking up shingles, trash, tree branches and doing all she can to help anyone in need,” said Theresa. “We’re so proud of her.”

The mobile feeding unit from Muskogee, OK, was set up at the Walgreens in Cut Off, LA. “Tesa and Theresa volunteered with us for two days, serving hot food to her neighbors and community, many of whom remain without power,” said Wayde Normandin, Volunteer & Disaster Resource Manager from Tulsa, and EDS team member this week. “Tesa is an incredible young lady. She worked non-stop in the heat and was excited to pass out meals to the cars as they came through the drive-through line. She can be a part of our crew anytime!”

The family worked to put tarps up on their roof on Monday with more rain in the forecast but have plans to get back out to volunteer with The Salvation Army on Tuesday. “Tesa made the comment last night, when she gets older, she wants to be someone like y’all that helps people in bad times. Even if she just makes one person’s day better it will be worth it,” said Theresa. “Gotta love the big heart my little girl has!”

DHQ employees lend a hand at the Monroe, LA Corps

Everybody could use a little extra help at one time or another.  This is true of individuals, communities, and in this case, the Monroe, Louisiana Corps of The Salvation Army. In the wake of an unexpected change in leadership and staffing, the Monroe Corps found themselves overwhelmed with an abundance of chores and a lack of manpower. The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters for the Alabama– Louisiana– Mississippi Division, located in Jackson, MS, gave permission for its employees to travel to Monroe for a day to help out. On Wednesday, February 11, those who chose to go did the round–trip in one day, spending the 5 hours they had in Monroe sorting and organizing all of the canned goods at the location.

Cindy Chesney, who was on just her 8th day as H.R./Office Manager at the Monroe Corps, had already made vast improvements to the Corps before the DHQ team arrived, but there was still much to do. According to Ms. Chesney, “The help getting organized is greatly appreciated and shows DHQ does care and is willing to help where needed. True teamwork! With the new transition, everything around the Monroe Corps is now organized and ready for the new officers so they don’t have to be concerned with cleaning and organizing. They can focus on the building needs, the community and the church.”

Below are the thoughts of the participants on what this opportunity to serve meant to each of them.

Gina Oubre, Divisional Human Resources Director: “It was a good day— to be able to go in and work hands-on to help a local community rather than sitting in an office. It makes the people that we serve more real and gives us the opportunity to assist the local communities from a hands-on standpoint.”

Lacey Sanders, Human Resources Generalist: “I absolutely love my job and working for The Salvation Army, but how I got involved with this organization was by working hands on at the Corps and with the Community.  That’s what began my love for this place.  My day to day job with The Salvation Army is working behind a desk and reviewing paperwork and processes so getting the chance to go to Monroe and really physically work hard to help improve a location was so rewarding. Exhausting! But rewarding. ”

April Thames, Benefits Coordinator: “I’m just happy to help and see what a Corps looks like in another location. It feels good to help them. Hopefully we can do this (again) and not just as a one-time thing. It’s nice helping a location that needs assistance cleaning up or sorting stuff. I enjoyed doing it. Maybe next time we can go and help another location.”

Maggie Zakikhani, recently retired, former DHQ employee: “I was happy to be able to go and help. It made me feel like we accomplished something good, so that they’ll be able to feed the people without a lot of problems.”

Volunteers are always needed. If you would like to volunteer at the Monroe Corps, visit their website or stop by their location at 105 Hart Street. As Cindy says, “The employees here are all personable and welcome volunteers and the help and support they can give.”