How a Lion Named Judah is Bringing Smiles to Survivors in Beaumont

Beaumont, Texas (September 13, 2017) – “He’s a scruffy fella.” That’s how Mona McKenzie described their mobile kitchen mascot. Mona, is a volunteer responding as part of The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas’ Golden Triangle. She came to Beaumont, Texas to serve from her home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she regularly volunteers with The Salvation Army.

“We needed a mascot, so I looked and looked and found this lion. It was perfect.” Mona said. “I named him, Judah.  Jesus is the Lion of Judah. And who is the King of The Jungle?  Jesus!” Judah watches over the canteen staff and serves as a conversation starter for those who come up to the window for a hot meal.

“I tell people, lions are the King of the Jungle, strong, and you are Texas strong.” Mona was excited as she talked with Judah perched on her shoulder. “I hope that just little words of encouragement like that remind them they can do it and they are special,” Mona continued. “I want each person who comes to our canteen to understand they are important.”

Talking about Judah, Mona shares, “He rides right up front until we get to our site, and then he moves to the back with us.” Everyone can see him while the committed Salvation Army volunteers serve hot, nutritious meals to those impacted by the widespread flooding from Harvey. “The kids love seeing him. And just light-up all smiles when I tell them Judah knows how strong they are.”

He’s a little lion, but he represents something much bigger. Scruffy Judah stands for the message of strength and hope. This little lion is there to help people open up, to share their story. Judah, through his unassuming presence, relays calm and peace to all who see him.

As of September 12, The Salvation Army has served 485,023 meals, 441,821 snacks, and 549,959 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey. Emotional Spiritual Care Officers have spoken with 27,167 first responders and survivors.

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

For the latest information please go to and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at and To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to

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 ( 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 or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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