Throughout Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, a region all too familiar with natural disasters, heat is among the deadliest. And those in poverty are among the greatest at risk of succumbing to heat-related illnesses.
When temperatures rise to deadly digits and heat advisories are issued across the country, many of our neighbors won’t have ready access to air-conditioned shelter or protection from the dangerous heat conditions. When heat advisories are issued, our most vulnerable won’t have access to cool water, transportation for medical assistance, a support system for help, or even a device to make an emergency call to 911.
“Exposure to extreme heat threatens the well-being of some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” says Captain Heather Dolby, Salvation Army Officer of Tupelo. “Not only individuals and families experiencing homelessness but also those without the ability to cool the internal temperatures of their homes – seniors, the disabled, and families with young children. This is a crisis, and The Salvation Army is here to help.”
The Salvation Army across Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi is responding by activating heat relief measures to help those in need. This includes providing hydration and shelter for our at-risk neighbors, senior citizens, and other vulnerable populations in danger of suffering from heat stroke and other heat-related conditions.
“The Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge stands ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You may never know what heat relief and a bottle of water can do for someone in need,” said Captain Brian Hicks.
Below are a few examples of how The Salvation Army is extending services and hours to help those who need it the most.
The Salvation Army of Northeast Mississippi has opened its Community Center as a cooling station to provide air-conditioned seating, a children’s play space, cold water, lunch and dinner, and emotional and spiritual care. And after hours, when the Community Center is closed, water and air-conditioned seating are available next door at the Red Shield Lodge.
In addition, we have partnered with Alabaster Bag Ministry to distribute water through the Community Center and Red Shield Lodge.
The Salvation Army of Monroe provides a cooling shelter with air-conditioned facilities and cold water as long as temperatures remain at dangerous levels.
Baton Rouge, LA
The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge will open its Center of Hope early on days with a dangerous heat index and issue a free stay with meals included to anyone who signs into the facility. In addition, we are coordinating efforts with other community organizations to ensure heat relief needs are met.
Dekalb County and Jackson County, AL
Dekalb County and Jackson County Service Center provide food in pop-top containers, water, and air-conditioned relief for the community. We are working with local organizations, taking referrals, and using Facebook to spread the word.
Selma Service Center, AL
Selma Service Center and the Demopolis Satellite are working with a donor to purchase and distribute fans to those in need in the community.
Thomasville Service Center, AL
Thomasville Service Center is currently assisting with paying power bills through an awarded grant. Eligibility is income-based and by appointment only. Clients can call the Thomasville location to make an appointment at (334) 636-9840.
“If I wouldn’t want to be outdoors in these conditions, why would I expect someone else to be out there?” says Captain Jerry Casey, Monroe Corps Officer. “I don’t want people passing out or getting sick.”
Please help us continue to support our neighbors by making a financial contribution, which allows The Salvation Army to meet immediate and long-term needs. To learn more about your local Salvation Army’s services, visit here.
To learn more about staying safe in extreme heat, click here.