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Coastal Community has Hope for Healing With The Salvation Army in Texas

Victoria, Texas (September 30, 2017) – The city of Austwell, perched on the edge of the waters of Hynes Bay, is located just miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Along rough roads lined with palms sit houses displaying obvious signs of Harvey’s passage. Early Saturday morning, the community center—and temporary city hall—was already busy with activity as The Salvation Army volunteers unloaded sorely needed supplies.

“Our actual city hall is one hundred percent unusable due to storm damage,” explained Mayor Mary Canales. “The community center here has really become a place of refuge.” As local residents arrived to pick up canned food and supplies from The Salvation Army, Mayor Canales greeted each one by name. “We’re really like a big extended family,” she said. Her eyes filled as she described the way neighbors have supported one another in the aftermath of Harvey. “This community is full of really wonderful, kind people.”

Mayor Canales’ emotions swelled as she explained how the cleanup process has been difficult especially for elderly residents. “A lot of homes were badly damaged. We’ve got mold problems… just lots of repairs needed,” she said. As tears began to fall, she and Salvation Army volunteer Dee Smith shared an embrace. “We’re just so grateful for The Salvation Army being here,” said Mayor Canales.

Miss Smith—known to many as “Disaster Dee”—has worked with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services for almost 40 years. From Kansas City, she is currently serving as The Salvation Army’s Liaison Officer in Victoria. “Jesus said ‘it’s more blessed to give than to receive,’” she commented. “It’s so rewarding for me to help others.” From offering much needed cleaning supplies to supplying well-timed hugs, The Salvation Army will continue to meet human needs in Jesus’ name for the long road ahead after Harvey.

As of September 30, The Salvation Army has served 862,578 meals, 898,295 snacks, and 925,455 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have ministered to 51,724 first responders and survivors.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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The Hidden Everglades

Naples, Florida – When Major Sue Dewan (known as Major Sue), a Salvation Army Corps officer serving in Oklahoma, arrived in Naples to offer Emotional & Spiritual Care for the local community, she never imagined she would be the one needing care as well.

While on her daily route from Naples to Everglades City, like so many disaster workers, the focus is always on those local residents directly affected. With thousands upon thousands that have been left empty in the wake of Hurricane Irma – physically, economically, emotionally and spiritually – it’s easy to understand why the attention is rightfully so on these now-fragile communities.

When she arrived at the assistance location in Everglades City Community Park, the immediate need was very clear. Individuals and families were waiting on average around two hours in order to receive monetary gift cards as well as baby/hygiene supplies.

Everglades City is renowned for its iconic national park. Having the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and serving as an important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species; it’s breathtaking. What is not seen nor rare is the great need in this community especially now after the hurricane.

Major Sue was tirelessly working the in-take and registration process when a woman stepped up to the table that had been waiting in the long line. As they were talking, the woman asked Major Sue is she had eaten yet herself. The Major kindly responded that she did not have any time, but that it was ok because there were so many people were waiting.

Unfortunately this did not satisfy the woman and told Major Sue that she was going to sit in the chair next to her until she finished her meal. Stating that she was so thankful for her and The Salvation Army really helping the community, however, even relief workers need relief.

Both women sat together and chatted while sharing personal stories – creating a wonderful fellowship – all while Major Sue quickly ate her meal.

Beauty and wonderment are not always what we simply see in parks and skylines. It is often times what is beneath them, as in Everglades City. It is the fellowship and compassion of communities that makes for a true breathtaking experience. 

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Collier County

Naples, FL (September 29, 2017) –  When you drive through the large neighborhood of Southwind Village (mobile home park) in Naples, FL., you can still see the devastation from Hurricane Irma; boarded up windows, tarps over roofs, walls torn down, twisted medal left from carports, destroyed furniture and debris of all sorts lining the roads.  “This is just one neighborhood still feeling the after-shock of the storm and slowly recovering,” said Major Dan Proctor, Naples Regional Coordinator.  “It breaks my heart to see these families with nothing in their homes.   This is just the start of the long-term recovery for so many in our community.”

Every day, The Salvation Army sends out a group of Salvation Army Officers who are visiting neighborhoods providing emotional and spiritual care, food, water, cleaning and hygiene kits.  “While talking with some of the people in this trailer park, we heard stories about loved ones who have passed away during and after the storm, loss of pets, neighbors helping neighbors move debris and coming together to support one another,” said Lt. Christopher White, Salvation Army Officer from Justin, Missouri.  “Some people just need a hug and a prayer and reassurance that everything will be alright.”

The Salvation Army is meeting the additional needs, such as Infant supply boxes and pet supplies/food.  Other partnerships, such as SNIP Collier (www.snipcollier.com), an organization that provides spay & neuter services to the most impoverished communities in Collier County Florida, is delivering dog food to several families in the community.   Jill Delie, a staff member and donors for SNIP Collier has been delivering dog food in the Southwind Village for some time.  “We know several residents with dogs and we want to make sure they get the pet supplies needed at this time.  There are several dogs in this community and for us to drop off a bag of dog food gives these families the chance to use their monies on immediate needs for their families,” said Delie.   

The Salvation Army continues to support people with immediate needs while bringing awareness of after storm issues including one critical subject – Human Trafficking.   Salvation Army Officers are handing out flyers in English and Spanish which emphasizes that rebuilding and cleanup create new markets for cheap or free labor and disaster survivors may lose their main source of income and look for new types of work, including commercial sex.  As a disaster responder and/or a healthcare provider, the likelihood that you will come in contact with a human trafficking victim is very high! Remember that anyone can be trafficked—men and boys, women and girls.  Flyer attached: https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/abc/Documents/human-trafficking-infographic.pdf

For more information on how you can help your neighbor, contact your local Salvation Army in your area and/or donations can be made:

Online:  helpsalvationarmy.org

By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

To give by text:  Text STORM to 51555.

As of Thursday, September 28, The Salvation Army in Naples has prepared and distributed 268,556 meals, snacks and drinks; made 4,446 emotional and spiritual care contacts with the support of 49,545 service hours from officers, employees, and volunteers.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Salvation Army EDS Services Transition to Long-Term Recovery in Texas

Dallas, Texas (September 29, 2017) – The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) immediately responded to Hurricane Harvey along the Texas coastline providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders. A month into the extensive relief efforts, The Salvation Army is now beginning to transition from emergency response to long-term recovery including Points of Distribution (PODS) and case work.

As power has gradually been restored in affected communities and people have returned to their homes to assess damage and salvage what they can of their belongings, The Salvation Army has been there to provide practical and emotional support. Mobile feeding units are delivering hot meals and snacks to survivors, while also providing clean up kits, hygiene kits and food boxes to residents beginning the lengthy process of recovery.

“The Salvation Army response to Hurricane Harvey is the largest disaster effort we have seen in years,” said Laurie Fried, Long Term Recovery Program Manager for The Salvation Army in Texas. “The long-term recovery of storm survivors is now the focus of The Salvation Army. Through case work with individuals and families we will help identify their needs, develop their long-term recovery plans, connect them with available community resources, and help meet their long-term recovery goals, one step at a time.”

To facilitate the enormous undertaking of consultation with survivors, The Salvation Army will be hiring an additional 20 case workers in the coming months. Staff will be strategically placed at Salvation Army units in Houston, Galveston/Texas City, the Golden Triangle (Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur), Freeport, Victoria, and Corpus Christi. The Salvation Army will continue to work closely with partner agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations as they support recovery efforts, and provide referrals to survivors where appropriate. 

“Residents of communities affected by Hurricane Harvey are facing months and years of recovery ahead,” said Fried. “We have been blessed by the support received from donors and corporations and The Salvation Army is committed to be here to help the recovery process as long as we are needed.”

As of September 28, The Salvation Army has served 839,213 meals, 849,692 snacks, and 890,673 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have ministered to 50,082 first responders and survivors.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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A "Miracle" Means New Backpacks For Students in Victoria, Texas

Victoria, Texas (September 29, 2017) – When Mr. Jesse Olivarez, Family Support Specialist for F.W. Gross Elementary School called at The Salvation Army, he hoped to pick up food and cleaning supplies for needy families of his students. Major Rick Ray, a member of The Salvation Army’s Incident Command Team in Victoria, helped to locate the food and items Mr. Olivarez requested and asked if there was anything else the school lacked. Finding out that many students were in need of backpacks, Major Ray couldn’t guarantee anything but promised to look into the matter.

“I told him I would aim for 200 backpacks and hope to find at least 100, but I hadn’t figured out where to begin looking yet,” commented Major Ray, of Bay City, MI. “I could hardly believe it when I walked into Incident Command that evening and discovered that well over a hundred backpacks had arrived that afternoon as part of a donation from Kerrville.” Some may call it a happy coincidence, but Mr. Olivarez called it a miracle. “I know that it’s God who has provided all this for our kids,” he said when he received word that he could collect enough brand new backpacks for each of his students.

Mr. Olivarez described his job responsibilities as including “professional scrounging” as he tries to help families in a school district where the need is great. He estimated that 20% of students at Gross Elementary are still displaced in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. “They’re couch surfing, staying with relatives,” he said. “Many more are in homes that are ‘livable’ but still in bad condition after the storm.”

Even still, he described the students as “happy” and “in good spirits” when they returned once school resumed. In fact, attendance is up following the two week long weather-related closure. “The kids are happy to be back with their friends and to be getting meals again.” Mr. Olivarez and the other staff members of the elementary school are glad to have class in session again as well, in spite of the damage the school sustained to its roof.

“This is such a blessing,” Mr. Olivarez said of the backpacks. “I’m so grateful for The Salvation Army looking out for the needs of our young people.” Major Ray maintains that he would have worked to track down backpacks, as he committed to but, “This time the Lord just provided in a spectacular way. I love it when He does that.”

As of September 28, The Salvation Army has served 839,213 meals, 849,692 snacks, and 890,673 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have ministered to 50,082 first responders and survivors.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Salvation Army Supports National Disaster Medical System in Columbia, SC

Columbia, S.C. (September 29, 2017)—The Salvation Army of the Midlands in Columbia, SC is providing hydration, snacks, meals and emotional & spiritual care to response personnel at the Federal Coordinating Center (FCC) as they prepare to support the transfer of patients from areas affected by hurricane activity. The Salvation Army response was requested by the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Coordinator.  Since service began on Saturday, September 23, more than 900 meals have been served.

During a disaster, The Salvation Army works in close coordination with state and local emergency management to strategically provide meals, drinks, and spiritual and emotional care to first responders and disaster survivors. In addition, The Salvation Army in North and South Carolina participates in annual Emergency Management training exercises, both at the state level and locally as requested by emergency management officials.

“Our trained emergency disaster response personnel are ready to support our government partners and agencies,” said Major Henry Morris, commanding officer for The Salvation Army of the Midlands. “Whether it is a state preparedness exercise, or to provide support with meals, water, and emotional and spiritual care to responders in the field, The Salvation Army is here, ready to serve.”

The Salvation Army of North and South Carolina has 20 mobile feeding kitchens (canteens) with trained Salvation Army officers, employees, and volunteers ready to mobilize effectively and efficiently to support disaster survivors and first responders.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Starting Over at Age 73 After Suffering Losses on Farm in Bayside

Bayside, Corpus Christi, TX (September 28, 2017) – What do you do when a major hurricane is on a collision course with your community and you have a farm full of animals?  You stay and pray. That was the exact situation facing Nancy Stroud, 73, and her daughter Michelle Berkley, as Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coastline.

The pair made the decision not to leave their animals, a herd of goats and rabbits, that Nancy raised to make a living. Surveying the damage in the aftermath of the storm and resulting tornadoes, Nancy lost 37 goats, all the rabbits, their barn, house, and several pieces of equipment. Michelle said, “I could hear a tornado that sounded like a train…I think it took out the barns. What the tornado missed, the hurricane finished off.”

The mother and daughter duo are currently staying on the farm, with tarps covering the gaping holes in their home. “Mom is 73 years old and is basically starting over,” said Michelle.

The Salvation Army has visited Bayside every day since the city became accessible after the storm, serving food, snacks, cold drinks, and providing emotional and spiritual care to residents.  Lt. Christmas Hargrove (pictured with Nancy and Michelle), who served and prayed with Nancy and Michelle while working on The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit said, “It has been a blessing to meet and serve the people of this community. Their faith and determination remind me of when William Booth said, ‘Work as if everything depended on work and pray as if everything depended upon prayer.’”

Local Fire Chief Bob Cramer remained in Bayside during the hurricane. “It was three days before any help could get to us,” said Chief Cramer, whose fire department crew worked for days to clear debris from the roads. “The Salvation Army has been a huge help and has restored everyone’s faith.”

Even though almost all of the homes in the community sustained considerable damage, many people have stayed in Bayside. Sharon Scott, Mayor of the city, lost her roof during the storm. “People don’t have anywhere to go so they are staying in their homes even though they really shouldn’t be,” she said. “Were it not for the support of The Salvation Army in Bayside people wouldn’t have anything to eat.” The power was out for several days and the only restaurant in town was damaged and remains closed.

Bayside is a small, close-knit community with a population of only 325 people.  Even though the property damage was extensive, there was no loss of life. For this, along with the continuing support of The Salvation Army, the community is thankful.

As of September 28, The Salvation Army has served 832,880 meals, 841,714 snacks, and 883,638 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have ministered to 49,741 first responders and survivors.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Hurricane Irma – Florida Disaster Response Daily Update

Tampa, Florida (September 28, 2017) – The Salvation Army Florida Division continues to serve people in the long-term recovery phase following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. All Salvation Army units in Florida are actively involved in the statewide relief effort that includes the support of trained disaster workers and volunteers from around the United States and Canada.

The Salvation Army of Florida has 11 canteens (mobile feeding units) and 2 field kitchens that are serving in two locations in the state of Florida. Other support vehicles including refrigerated vehicles and generators have been dispatched to some of the hardest hit areas in southwest Florida.

NAPLES

The Salvation Army in Collier County has begun transitioning to long-term recovery. Seven mobile feeding kitchens from South Carolina, Mississippi, Melbourne, West Volusia, and Panama City as well as a field kitchen from Florida, are still providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care service to individuals impacted by Hurricane Irma.  As of the end of the day on September 27th, almost 69,000 hot meals had been served to the community   The planning team continues to re-visit devastated sites, while the Emotional and Spiritual team continues to provide comfort throughout the community.

A cargo trailer located at the Naples Salvation Army is still supplying food boxes, hydration, snacks, clean up supplies and hygiene kits from to the seven mobile feeding units (canteens).

Major Dan Proctor, The Salvation Army Naples Area Coordinator will be working with local officials and organizations to assess the needs of the community in order to meet the long-term recovery efforts.

FORT MYERS

A field kitchen in on site today and then tomorrow all meals will be prepared and served from the four (4) mobile feeding unites (canteens).  4,377 lunches were delivered to locations in Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres, Labelle, and Fort Myers. To date, more than 117,000 meals have been served in the Fort Myers area alone. The transition to long-term recovery efforts continues, and The Salvation Army will continue to serve those impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Majors Tim and Cheryl Gilliam is working to meet the long-term needs of the community and continues to assist those effected through the five service centers.

As of Thursday morning, September 27, The Salvation Army Florida Division has prepared and distributed 723,393 meals, snacks and drinks; made 10,781 emotional and spiritual care contacts with the support of 58,120 service hours from officers, employees, and volunteers.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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The Salvation Army Delivers!

It may not be pizza but it usually gets there in thirty minutes or less. It’s a Salvation Army officer delivering a meal to a Hurricane Irma survivor who can’t get out to the mobile feeding unit location.

Sunday afternoon Captains Nakisha Carr and Natalie Jackson went door to door to reach residents of a Fernandina Beach, FL apartment complex who faced difficulty in reaching the site of The Salvation Army canteen set up in the parking lot a nearby church.

“Hi! Would you like lunch and something to drink?” Capt. Carr asked an elderly woman after she answered Capt. Carr’s knock on the door. She did indeed want lunch and asked if her grandchildren in the house could also get some. Capt. Carr readily obliged and the family had a nourishing meal. This process was repeated by Capt. Carr and Capt. Jackson at half a dozen more apartments as they drove around the neighborhood.

Then the afternoon took on a more lighthearted tone. The two officers came across a pair of teenage boys riding their bikes down the street. They answered the by now familiar questions with a hearty “Sure!” as the Captains pulled up alongside. When Carr and Jackson got out of their vehicle and handed the meals to the boys, Capt. Jackson noted that one was wearing a Star Wars hat. A lively conversation ensued among the boys and The Salvation Army officers over which movies they thought best and which characters were they favorite. As the officers got ready to leave, they all laughed after someone mentioned that there was a Star Wars “Nerd Fest” happening in the middle of a city street.

The Salvation Army, delivering meals, comfort, and sometimes, more than a little fun.

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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22 workers from 6 states in Sebring, Florida with 1 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. 

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 to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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