Tag Archives: disaster

More Than 60 Area Families in This Year’s Adopt-A-Family Program Still Need Donors

Christmas should be a joyous time of year for all of us. Every child should have the opportunity to experience the magic and thrill of the season. Unfortunately, for many, Christmas is not a time of celebration, but a time of added stress and financial challenge. The Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program works to help some of the most disadvantaged families in our area enjoy the blessings of Christmastime.

This year, we received a larger number of family applications due in part to the late-season tornadoes that devastated a number of communities in our region. The need this year is great – more than 60 families remain on our available “adopt” list. Though Christmas Day is fast approaching, there is still time to help provide holiday meals and gifts to these families who would otherwise go without.

When you choose to become a sponsor of a family through the Adopt-A-Family program, you will be matched with a family whose needs meet your capacity to give. You will receive a summary about your family and the situation with which they are faced. Your summary will include the genders, ages and sizes of each family member and a list of needed or requested items, such as food, toys and clothing. You can choose to adopt a small or large family, or even multiple families.

This is a last-minute push for assistance. Gifts and food items for adopted families will need to be received at the Salvation Army Headquarters by the end of this week.

To adopt a family – or families – or more information on how you can help, please call 314-646-3000 and ask for our Adopt a Family coordinator. You can also offer your help by emailing adoptafamily@usc.salvationarmy.org.

The Adopt-A-Family program is a rewarding way to come together with members of your own family, workplace, church group or neighborhood to give back to those less fortunate and truly celebrate the meaning of the Christmas holiday.

As you bask in the warm glow of your own family Christmas tree and give thanks for the blessings in your life, please remember those less fortunate.

On behalf of the families we serve, thank you and have a blessed holiday.

OKC + Joplin: Partners in Recovery

Two years ago in our division, we saw one of the worst disasters Missouri had ever seen.

We all know about the devastation that occurred in Joplin in 2011; the EF-5 tornado that left miles of destruction and families and neighbors who had lost their lives from the impact. And to this day, they are still working to rebuild their city with the help of The Salvation Army. During this time when families pulled their loved ones out of the rubble, our neighbor to the southwest–the great state of Oklahoma–came to the aid of Joplin and brought supplies, volunteers, and emotional support.

So when Moore, Okla. was hit with an EF-5 tornado two days before the two year anniversary of Joplin, there was no question that we needed to support our neighbors. The Salvation Army’s Joplin Corps Community Center immediately started taking up a collection of supplies to give to those – who just like them – lost everything. Joplin Corps officers Lt. James and Jamie Curry spearheaded the effort and the supplies were taken to Oklahoma.

We are proud to show you the supplies that the Joplin community collected to send to Oklahoma, and we are so proud to give back to those who gave so much to us two years ago.

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“I can’t replace my kids: I can deal with damage to my house”

A home in Ferguson after Friday's tornado

A home in Ferguson after Friday’s tornado

By Dana Biermann

I was out both Saturday and Sunday working with The Salvation Army’s mobile canteens that were deployed to St. Charles County and St. Louis’ North County that were hit by tornadoes Friday night. I had the privilege to speak with  several residents who were affected by the severe weather. You would think if your roof was gone or if the back of your house had been ripped off, you would be pretty mad. But the primary sentiment I heard while touring these places was gratitude.

“I know my house looks like this, but not a single person was injured by this storm. What a blessing.”

“My roof fell in on my daughter’s room, but she was still in the basement, thank God. I can’t replace my kids, [but] I can deal with damage to my house.”

“See those people cutting apart the downed trees on my lawn? I’ve never met them before, they just showed up to help.”

“The only family that was home were my dogs, and they’re doing just fine.”

An EDS volunteer serves water to residents in St. Charles County

An EDS volunteer serves water to residents in St. Charles County

Even when there’s a tree laying on their roof, the citizens of St. Louis and St. Charles have been nothing but grateful for the droves of neighbors, friends, and organizations who have donated their time to help. So it’s up to us to make sure that they can recover from the damage that Mother Nature has given them.

If you are an EDS trained volunteer, we are still working in the neighborhoods affected, so please contact gary_busiek@usc.salvationarmy.org to sign up to volunteer in our canteens. If you have not been through our EDS training, we ask that you refrain from contacting to volunteer at this time, unless it is to sign up for a future training. If you are interested in receiving training, please call 314-646-3000 and ask for our EDS department.

If you are looking for ways to help, the best thing you can do is donate money. As more specific needs arise, we want to ensure that the families affected do not need to go through red tape to get what they need, and your dollars give us the flexibility to support these residents immediately. Please give now to be a part of the recovery.

To keep up to date with our efforts, follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up to be on our email list.

To view photographs from our canteen tours, visit our Flickr Page.

A Reason to Hope: One Year after the Joplin Tornado

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Every morning since the storm, Doug has gone out to sit on his old concrete porch, all that remains of his former home. “I don’t think I’ve missed a morning. It’s where I can be by myself, gather my thoughts, plan for my day,” he says.

Doug Keeney was uninsured and unemployed when the tornado struck. A construction worker in a down economy, he had long struggled to find reliable work.

Keeney lived in a house he planned to retire in. “It was an old house, but it was paid for,” he remarks. “It was surrounded by a dozen beautiful old trees that I just loved, but because of those trees, I was unable to get insurance for the home. We’d had two ice storms a few years previous and the insurance company required that I had to cut back all trees hanging over the house. At a cost of $300-$400 per tree, I just couldn’t afford to cut them back without a job.”

On May 22, when the sirens sounded, Keeney wasn’t unusually concerned.

“We always get weather alerts, and everybody just goes out on their front porch and looks. I saw there was a tornado north of my house and I wasn’t overly concerned,” recalls Keeney, “but I remembered the employees at the Arby’s near my home didn’t have a TV or radio and probably didn’t know to take cover. I walked across the street and told them to get in their cooler to take cover. They invited me to take cover with them and I told them I’d run home to get my wallet and keys and would return shortly.”

As Keeney arrived home, the wind increased to a dangerous pace and before he knew it, he was unable to take cover. Doug became pinned between his front door and the nearest wall, a lucky place it turned out, as very little else was left when the storm passed.

“When the storm was over, the second story on my home was gone, as was half of the story I was standing on. I dug around and found a few things I needed, then headed out to find my neighbors and friends. That’s when I saw the only thing that was left standing at Arby’s was the cooler where the employees had taken cover.”

Keeney brushes off the thought he might be a hero saying, “I think I just did what everyone else would have done.”

For the next three weeks, Doug came to his home every day to clear debris and find his belongings. “I dug through all of the debris and found every little thing I could. The volunteers were amazing. They helped a lot. They got down in there and dug with me and helped me move what I could.”

Since the storm, Keeney has worked closely with The Salvation Army case managers. “As far as I’m concerned, Dana and her team have really gone above and beyond. When I needed work clothes for my debris clean-up job, they were there. They’re working to help me get a vehicle, and thanks to her team, I’ve been connected with Convoy of Hope, and they are building me my new home.”

Every morning since the storm, Doug has gone out to sit on his old concrete porch, all that remains of his former home. “I don’t think I’ve missed a morning. It’s where I can be by myself, gather my thoughts, plan for my day,” he says.

Around the one-year anniversary, Keeney will move into his new home, built on the same lot.

“I’m gonna miss my trees,” he says a little wistfully, “but this has turned out to be such a blessing, none of which would have been possible without The Salvation Army.”

Joplin: One Year Later

The Crossleys stand on their newly poured foundation, anticipating the day when they can move into their new home.

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Nearly one year after a historic tornado destroyed more than 7,500 homes and 500 businesses, Joplin residents are still finding their way back to normal.

“The mess has been cleaned up,” says David Crossley, manager of The Salvation Army’s homeless shelter in Joplin. “The debris is gone. You see rebuilding going on around town, and people are hopeful.”

Crossley, a 15-year employee of The Salvation Army lost his home when it was badly damaged in the storm. Emerging from a closet where they’d taken shelter, the Crossley family found their roof partially gone, their windows broken, live power lines on their car and no immediate hope for assistance. In the days following the storm, he and his family slept at The Salvation Army Community and Worship Center, at friends’ houses and at a motel.

Today, thanks to the aid of The Salvation Army, his church, family members and friends, Crossley and his family are hopeful their lives will return back to normal.

“We just poured the foundation on a home we are building. We hope to move into it in early June,” he reports.

As Crossley reflects on the long year his family has endured, he is struck by the progress they’ve made. “I was just thinking the other day, our wedding anniversary is coming up and last year we were living in a motel room with no idea where we were going to wind up. Now, we’re living in a comfortable duplex and building a home of our own. In just one year, we’ve lost nearly everything we had, and now we’re almost whole again.”

Just two months after the epic storm, Lieutenants James and Jamie Curry became officers in Joplin. Lieutenant Jamie reflects on life in her new hometown, “Any other place I have ever lived, I’ve never had the experience of stepping out my front door and seeing something different than the day before. Almost an entire year has passed since the tornado, but it still seems like last week to the residents here. While there are significant changes to the landscape as buildings are rebuilt, the emotional toll is still ever present.”

The Currys and their team have been hard at work as part of the Long Term Recovery Committee, a consortium of nonprofits and service agencies working to handle long-term survivor case management. “We have the benefit of seeing first hand how God can work, even in a disaster. There are success stories that come through our doors each day, and when these individuals get helped, it renews their desire to help others.”

Residents of Joplin rebuilding after the storm.

Crossley says that in some ways that storm has been a blessing. “It brought my family closer, and I think it brought many of us in the community closer. Whenever we had a need, The Salvation Army or one of its partners was there to meet it. God’s love has been manifested in so many ways in these days of recovery, and I am so grateful.”

Lt. Curry observes, “There is a greater sense of community among the people of Joplin. As is the case in many catastrophic events, everyone is affected in one form or another which creates in itself a genuine sense of comradeship. Joplin is no different.”

Dana Ross, Case Manager for The Salvation Army Joplin Relief Center, says “We have formed some amazing partnerships. We are one of the primary social service providers for this event, and through these partnerships we can connect our clients with just about anything they need.”

The Salvation Army was recently awarded a contract with Missouri that will allow it to continue long-term case management with residents through May 2013. In the coming weeks, long-term plans will be released detailing The Salvation Army’s strategy for long-term recovery and investment in Joplin.

Motorcycles of a Mission

By: Major K. Kendall Mathews

In the midst of the recovery efforts in Harrisburg, Ill, a group of motorcycle men and women came wheeling into the Harrisburg Thrift Store parking lot ready to give back to this hurting community.  Not just any motor club, but one with a mission in line with The Salvation Army, with their colors being red, yellow and blue,  called, “Soldiers of Truth in God’s Army.”  On the outside they looked just any other motorcycle club, but their inner calling and spiritual mission is to reach the lost for Jesus Christ through worship to God and service to society. This Motorcycle Ministry set them apart from all the others clubs I have ever seen. I quickly came to understand that they indeed been commissioned by God to do His work whenever and wherever needed.  Harrisburg, Ill was their next stop to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a hand to man and heart to God.

I must say I was moved to see them in action, not just clearing out a trailer full of clothes and household items, but their actions were God-driven and Christ-like. My eyes were opened in different way and my spirit connected to them. No questions were asked beyond “What can we do to help The Salvation Army help the Harrisburg victim’s?” This is just the type of servant-leadership that is so desperately needed during disasters. This group offered themselves as sacrificial servants ready to give to others wholeheartedly.  Their actions scaled my attention to the Bible verse in Romans 12:1, which says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Their hands and hearts became those of Jesus Christ through the faithful service. They revealed to me that we must honor others above ourselves with compassionate and serviceable affection to those undergoing a catastrophes event.

The President and Pastor of this ministry said to me, “Everything God gives is a tool to help people.” He called what they were doing a parking lot ministry. Their Bibles were out and their prayers being lifted up to people stopping by to drop off their donations. People welcomed these Christly riders, not night riders, as soldiers of Jesus, and reminded them that we march together with the blood and the fire and to the ends of the earth we will go. What a great blessing it was to see their salvation being lived out through helping others. Their pastor was right when he said, “It takes us all to be the body of Christ to the broken lives of those impacted by this tornado.” At one point, he preached to me of the goodness of God and the love we should have for one another regardless of cultural differences. “Unconditional love for God and sacrificial service for man,” he said “is the key that must bind us together.” I then finished that statement by saying, “with cords that cannot be broken.”

This motorcycle ministry, Soldiers of God’s Truth, has some shady past with drug abuse at the top of the list, but they are like me and you, sinners saved by the grace of God.  “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted; but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” II Corinthians 4:8. Although they have been knocked down by the world and sin, like all of us, in Christ, they are not knocked out. We serve a God of second chances, who will not give up on us, but who loves us during this journey of life here on earth.  Even during times of hardship and humiliation, God loves us all.

The Pastor, a gospel preacher for sure, told me that their mission Bible verse comes from John 14:6 that says, “Jesus said him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes the Father, but by me.’”  He pointed out the word “truth” and that it is the Word of God that will set people free.  “Not his words,” he said, “but God’s Word found in the Bible. Since God set his rider free, He indeed has the power to free all people from sin.”

These Soldiers of Truth in God’s Army renewed my hope in the Lord.  As I fellowshipped and served with them that sunny Saturday afternoon, God revealed Himself through this Motorcycle Ministry. I then taught them the song which says, “We are soldiers in the army; we have to fight although we have to die; we have to hold up the blood stained banner, we have to hold it until we die.”  This battle cry became our united theme of service.  I am sure God smiled, or even laughed at us as we sang that song in the parking lot of the Harrisburg, Ill Thrift Store.

These motorcycle soldiers not only ride for righteousness, but they are a church as well, called “Warehouse of Worship.” According to the pastor and the other Christ Riders, they worship Jesus in spirit and in TRUTH through service to others, the gospel of Jesus is preached and part of their daily lifestyle. They not only read the Bible as their manual for Christly living, but they worship together to bring glory to God as a community of believers.  I was very much honored to be in their presence and although I was not a Christly bike rider, we worship the same savior Jesus Christ.  It also helped that we share the same colors, red, yellow and blue, in addition to being SOLDIERS.

So, the next time you see or hear a motorcycle think of, “The Soldiers of Truth in God’s Army,” and remember their ministry of saving the lost, the least, and the last without fear knowing that God will provide for your every need.  “Fear, not, for I am with you; be not dismissed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serving Survivors: The Salvation Army Brings Food, Comfort and Hope in Henryville, Indiana on Day One

Major Steve Kriger and Governor Daniels

Clark & Washington Counties, IN—The Salvation Army has finished its first full day of operations in response to yesterday’s deadly tornadoes. In Henryville, the Army is serving 800 meals a day to survivors and emergency personnel. It was an emotional day for residents as they got their first clear view of the destruction in their town. “It’s gone. Everything is gone,” one woman said through tears as she walked by The Salvation Army canteen. She and others were comforted by Major Steve Kiger and other trained disaster service personnel from The Salvation Army. Feeding operations in Henryville will continue tomorrow.

The small town of Marysville, IN was nearly completely destroyed by the massive tornadoes. The Army will begin full meal service there tomorrow and will be prepared to serve 600 meals. The Army will also continue to serve meals at the New Pekin, IN Command Center. Today, nearly 600 meals were served to survivors and workers there.

Many area businesses and organizations have made generous contributions to the Army’s food service. Among them: Wick’s Pizza, Texas Road House, Jaycee Foods, Midwest Food Bank, McDonald’s and Silver Creek High School. The Salvation Army would like thank these businesses for serving their neighbors in need.

Help the survivors immediately by making a monetary donation to support the efforts of The Salvation Army. You can make a donation online at http://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/storms, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or make a $10.00 donation by texting* “storm” to 80888, to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”

The Salvation Army Acts to Serve Following Historic U.S. Tornadoes

Food, Beverages, and Spiritual and Emotional Care Provided to Those In Need

Alexandria, Virginia (March 3, 2012) – The Salvation Army continues to provide aid to impacted areas of the Midwest and Southern United States following a historic day that produced more tornadoes than in all of March in past years. Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams are also on standby to respond to severe weather and tornado watches and warnings that are still in effect in much of the region.

Following the most recent wave of devastating tornadoes, EDS personnel in Tennessee are actively serving residents of several counties affected by the storms, providing spiritual and emotional care to disaster survivors as well as food and beverages, and units are on standby throughout the state ready to respond as needed,. In Chattanooga, Tenn., more than 200 meals were served at the evacuee center, and The Salvation Army of Cleveland, Tenn., served as a shelter for those seeking refuge from the storms.

Salvation Army units in Decatur, Florence and Huntsville are also responding to tornado touchdowns in Limestone and Madison Counties in North Alabama. In Athens, Ala., two mobile feeding units from Decatur and Florence have responded with food and drinks, and in Meridianville, Ala., a mobile feeding unit from Huntsville has been deployed to provide food and drinks as well as spiritual and emotional care. The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services Warehouse and Command Center in Jackson, Miss. is being utilized to manage the widespread response across Alabama and Mississippi, and additional units from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are also on standby for severe weather response across the mid-South.

In addition, Salvation Army EDS teams from New Albany, Ind., were deployed following several powerful tornadoes in the Southern Indiana region. The Salvation Army has provided food for hundreds of disaster survivors and emergency responders, and personnel are continuing to assess what is needed to provide the best support.

A team of Salvation Army social workers in Harveyville, Kan. have begun to provide aid to tornado survivors to help with immediate needs such as food, clothing, medicine, shelter, bedding and baby products. Salvation Army EDS teams have also provided meals, snacks and drinks to nearly 2,000 people in the area, and will continue to operate mass feeding operations throughout the weekend.

The Salvation Army also continues to provide needed assistance to those in the Branson, MO that were affected by Wednesday’s damaging storms. Hundreds of meals have been distributed through The Salvation Army’s mobile feeding unit, and emotional and spiritual counseling is available to those in need.

For the latest updated news, please go to http://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org

Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized.
The quickest and easiest way to support the efforts of The Salvation Army as they serve victims is to make a monetary donation. You can make a donation online at http://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/storms, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or make a $10.00 donation by texting* “storm” to 80888, to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”

Your donations of funds make the biggest impact: Due to emergency conditions, The Salvation Army cannot guarantee that gifts of household goods or clothing donated now will be sent to disaster areas. In times of disaster, we fulfill household needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. Please, continue to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army—you help your community today and may help with disaster relief needs tomorrow. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to http://www.satruck.org.

* A one‐time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging & data rates may apply. Donations are collected for The Salvation Army by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 80888 to stop. Reply HELP to 80888 for help. For terms, see http://www.igfn.org/t.

About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. 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. About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org

Salvation Army work continues as Branson, Harrisburg Brace for Friday’s Storms

The Salvation Army continues to provide much-needed assistance to those in Branson, Missouri and Harrisburg, Illinois in response to Wednesday’s tornadoes damaging storms, standing ever-vigilant with those communities in the face of Friday’s storms.

Branson

As the Branson-area disaster relief efforts progress and change, so too does The Salvation Army’s response in meeting the immediate needs of the community.  Currently, The Salvation Army is focused primarily on providing food, water and spiritual care from the mobile feeding units, or canteens.

Crews from Joplin and Springfield handled preparation and delivery of meals as part of a coordinated effort with the local chapter of The American Red Cross to meet local needs.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army served 364 meals, 502 drinks and 679 snacks in the Branson area. At this time, additional volunteers for The Salvation Amy’s Branson-area relief efforts are not needed. However, it’s likely that many volunteers will be needed in the coming days to assist with clean-up at the Branson Corps.

Harrisburg

Work continues on the ground in Harrisburg, IL with Captain Heath Sells as the Incident Commander in this relief effort. On Thursday 506 survivors, first responders and volunteers were served with 763 drinks, 405 meals and 302 snacks.

Divisional Commander Major Lonneal Richardson visited Harrisburg on Thursday, meeting with survivors to pray and provide them with grocery vouchers and other forms of assistance.

The Salvation Army in Harrisburg continues to coordinate with other relief agencies and government entities to ensure the most necessary needs are met.

Continued emergency relief efforts are expected in that area for several more days, with long term case management to follow

How You Can Help

Help provide immediate help by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by visiting http://www.STLSalvationArmy.org to make a secured donation by credit card. Please mail checks to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 21787 St. Louis MO 63109 – designate your gift by writing “Storm Relief” on the check. Mobile and Smartphone users can text the word ARCH to 80888 to make an instant $10 donation

Please remember that due to the high expense and amount of time often associated with delivering in-kind gifts, such as gently-used household items and clothing, The Salvation Army cannot guarantee at this time that any individual donated gifts-in-kind will be sent to the disaster area. During times of disaster, The Salvation Army is able to meet the need for these items from the store’s existing, pre-sorted stock. Therefore, by continuing to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army thrift store, you not only help your local community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To locate your nearest Salvation Army drop-off location, please visit http://www.satruck.org.

Leap Day Storm Relief Continues

The Salvation Army canteen was on the move prior to sunrise in Harrisburg, Illinois Thursday morning.

In the wake of the Leap Day storms that tore through Kansas, Missouri and Illinois Tuesday and Wednesday, Salvation Army disaster crews responded swiftly to aid first responders and survivors in affected areas.

Crews in Branson focused primarily on meeting immediate needs of those most heavily damaged areas of Branson, along Highway 76. A canteen crew provided snacks, drinks and meals to survivors, first responders and clean-up crews. A Salvation Army canteen is presently feeding those affected at the Branson Mall parking lot. Branson’s Mayor Presley visited the canteen and publicly thanked The Salvation Army for their response in the wake of the storms on her Twitter page.

In Harrisburg, Illinois, approximately 100 homes – about forty percent of the city – were affected, and there were six confirmed fatalities. The Salvation Army was at work as quickly as possible in this remote area, and served hot meals at the Walmart on South Commercial Road, to first responders and those affected. Food was provided by a local school where it had already been prepared for the school day. The canteen was back in action at sunrise on Thursday morning.

The city of Harrisburg has requested that The Salvation Army take charge of feeding those displaced by the storm and first responders, while the American Red Cross provides shelter.

Additional efforts are being undertaken in Kimberling City, Missouri, which is dealing with a water crisis after their water distribution tower sustained significant damage.

For the latest, visit www.stlsalvationarmy.org, or follow us on Twitter!

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