Professional Chefs Serve Burgers Out of The Salvation Army’s Canteens


“We’re grateful to The Salvation Army for lending their trucks and letting us do some cooking,” said Nafees Alam, Vice President of DRG Concepts.

On a hot sunny day in Moore, Oklahoma, tornado victims stopping by the Multi-Agency Resource Center were greeted by savory smells drifting from the mobile kitchens inside The Salvation Army’s canteens.

“Everybody wants to help, wants to give, and for us it was a natural,” explained Fran Gallagher of DRG Concepts.

The burgers were straight out of Dallas, compliments of Chop House Burger located downtown. Four professional chefs got up bright and early in order to make the three hour drive and have hot-off-the-grill burgers ready by noon.

Working out of a mobile kitchen is not normal for the guest chefs, but that didn’t seem to be a problem.

“You make this look easy. Everything is set up, lined up,” Alam said of the canteen.

“For our chefs here, they’re working in this truck on commercial kitchen equipment. They’re not trying to make do with what you [The Salvation Army] have available. Our chefs work on equipment like this every day. They know the stove, they know the temperature, and this helps them to get the burger right every time,” says AJ Joglekar, Corporate Executive Chef.

The fresh burgers took time to cook, but guests didn’t seem to mind. By day’s end 985 people had been served.

For the canteen guests who traveled three hours one way to serve tornado victims, it was a trip well-worth the time on the road.

“…just seeing the devastation on the way in, that’s going to stay on my mind a long, long time. This has been a really humbling experience,” said Gallagher.

As We Grow

In 2012, The Salvation Army and the Tallahassee Sustainability Group of Tallahassee, Florida joined forces to create a community garden in an effort to fight poverty and hunger. Their vision is to help families in need to grow their own food, help provide The Salvation Army with fresh produce for the food pantry boxes and to help families learn new skills to gain self-sufficiency.
The garden was originally located in a little corner of land behind a local Salvation Army Family Stores and has since expanded to create more opportunity for the public to get involved.
The Tallahassee Sustainability Group has become a tremendous partner in The Salvation Army’s fight against hunger and has taken strides in educating the public about food and agriculture, increasing accessibility to fresh, healthy, food, and strengthening communities by means of urban farming.
This wonderful program is in the process of expanding to other locations.
Please enjoy this incredible video, “As We Grow”, produced by the Florida State University Media Department.

To learn more about The Salvation Army visit:

Filed under Doing The Most Good · Tagged with FSU, hunger, poverty, Tallahassee, The Salvation Army

Matt Adolfson: A Veteran Story

Craig Dirkes is a public relations writer and photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Click here to learn more or find them on Facebook by visiting Editor’s note: This story highlights The Salvation Army’s service to military men and women. It is being told in celebration of National Donut Day, which took place Friday, June 7.

Matt Adolfson was flying somewhere over Germany on March 17, 2003, when President George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein an ultimatum: leave Iraq within 48 hours or face U.S. military action.

Matt, then a 25-year-old U.S. Army medic, heard the news when he landed in Kuwait. Two days later, he was at war.

Matt would spend the next eight months using every bit of his medical training.

“I was part of a mobile hospital – like what you see on the TV show M*A*S*H, only smaller,” he said. “I helped a lot of people who were in explosions; one guy had his leg blown off. My nerves were always going crazy. Everything was always happening fast, fast, fast.”

Back Home, New Battle

Matt’s tour ended that November. In August 2004, he completed his military career and moved to Michigan to live with his uncle; his parents had died years earlier and he has no siblings. Civilian life was difficult.

“I always felt hyper-vigilant, like I wasn’t doing enough,” Matt said. “In the military, I was doing more in one day than some people do all week.”

In 2007, Matt began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Seemingly innocuous sounds, sights and smells triggered terrible memories.

“The smell of burning garbage, seeing a military vehicle – it all brought me right back,” said Matt, who is doing much better today after years of counseling. “At first I tried forcing myself to forget, but that didn’t work. I learned to embrace my past and not run from it. I learned to get used to things and adapt.”

Matt eventually moved to Minnesota to be near his other relatives and work his way through college. The war changed him, but he remains proud to have served his country.

Salvation Army support

In 2012, Matt had to adapt to another hardship: an empty bank account. While working that summer, several of his paychecks were delayed due to an administrative blunder. He fell behind on his bills and couldn’t recover. By November, he was facing eviction from his North St. Paul apartment.

Thankfully, a friend told him about The Salvation Army Veteran’s Homeless Prevention Program. Since 2011, the program has provided financial assistance, case management, referrals and much more to nearly 180 veterans or veteran families in Ramsey County.

“Veterans have risked their lives serving us – giving back to them is our duty,” said Lt. Col. Robert Thomson, Salvation Army Northern Division Commander.

Matt met with Salvation Army case manager Krystle Englund, who gave him financial assistance to catch up on his rent.

“She even called my landlord to advocate for me,” Matt said. “I’m not used to asking for help; I’m the kind of person who would rather bite the bullet. Krystle took away all my anxiety.”

Matt is no longer in danger of being evicted, and his life is looking pretty good. After completing his associate’s degree in 2011, he plans to study for a bachelor’s degree in social work – a field he’s been inspired to pursue because of the help Krystle gave him. The lifelong volunteer also wants to start donating his time to The Salvation Army – particularly at its food shelf in Maplewood.

“Matt is a very strong individual who served his country and still wants to give back by volunteering,” Krystle said. “He is always optimistic for the future. Working with veterans like Matt is the best part of my job, hands down.”

The Salvation Army operates a similar veterans program in North Dakota that covers the entire state. In addition, The Salvation Army operates a number of veteran housing programs throughout Minnesota, including a 10-unit apartment complex in South Minneapolis.

“The Salvation Army is committed to serving veterans – helping them is a privilege,” Thomson said.

The Salvation Army and Kiwanis International Team Up to Serve Tornado Victims

The Salvation Army and Kiwanis International Team Up to Serve Tornado Victims

Kiwanis International is teaming with The Salvation Army to feed those in need in Oklahoma City. It’s a relationship that started as an idea after 9/11.

“A Salvation Army officer mentioned the need for reliable volunteers, so we decided to make this a major thing,” says Jane Crump, a San Antonio resident and member of the Bexar Kiwanis Club.

Three hundred and fifty Kiwanis members from the Texas-Oklahoma District took training courses; The Salvation Army taught them how to run canteens (mobile kitchens). Kiwanians first volunteered for The Salvation Army when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana in 2003. They also assisted with Emergency Disaster Services in Pensacola, Florida (Hurricane Ivan), New Orleans, Louisiana (Hurricane Katrina), and Beaumont, Texas (Hurricane Rita). The Kiwanians fundraised in between, raising a total of $90,000.

What began as a vision in 2001 became reality in 2007 when the Kiwanians partnered with The Salvation Army to purchase a $132,000 canteen. The truck was first used in Beaumont, Texas, when Hurricane Gustav made landfall.

In Oklahoma, volunteers have brought in 22 canteens from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee. They have worked around the clock to serve tornado victims since twisters first swept through the area on May 19th. Kiwanis Club members are honored to be among those called to serve.

“The Salvation Army takes care of their volunteers. We feel confident that when Kiwanians volunteer for The Salvation Army they will be taken care of,” Crump says.

Jane Crump deployed for a 2-week appointment on the canteen on May 29. She is serving with Henry and Patsy Pederson from the Northwest Casady Kiwanis Club in Oklahoma City. During this appointment the three have served thousands of meals, snacks and drinks from their canteen.

As for Crump, the opportunity to volunteer for The Salvation Army is second nature.

“There’s a lot of good organizations out there, but we really love The Salvation Army.”

The Salvation Army Responds to the Tragic Building Collapse in Philadelphia

June 07, 2013 – 2:56 PM EDTJanella

The Salvation Army is praying for the recovery of the 13 survivors and is mourning the loss of those six individuals who died in the tragic building collapse on Wednesday, June 5 in Philadelphia.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of the six individuals who perished in the wake of yesterday’s building collapse. The passing of these individuals, including two of our employees, will be felt across our entire organization and throughout the community. We will continue to pray for their families during this time, and for all of those affected,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Raines, The Salvation Army, “The Salvation Army has been in contact with the families to offer emotional and spiritual support, and is working closely with the Philadelphia Police, Fire and Office of Emergency Management during this critical response to offer assistance in any way we can. We thank the first responders for their efforts in this tragedy, and we do not have any further information to provide as families are asking for privacy at this time,”
Rescuers were at the scene on and worked throughout the night to recover all survivors. Upon receiving word of this tragedy, our canteens were immediately deployed, and were at the scene up until yesterday providing feeding and hydrating services. At the peak of the disaster on Wednesday, we had three units deployed (one canteen and two support/quick response vehicles).

Salvation Army OK Tornado Relief Will Soon Enter Third Week

Salvation Army OK Tornado Relief Will Soon Enter Third Week

June 7, 2013, 9:00 a.m. (Moore, OK) –The Salvation Army sees our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) as a ministry, a means of expressing God’s love to those in need.

The need in Oklahoma following the May tornadoes and flooding is great—and will not be met overnight. The Salvation Army is actively monitoring the needs of the communities around Oklahoma City that were impacted by the May tornadoes and will adjust services and service locations to provide the best possible short- and long-term care to those affected.

Via the Carney and Shawnee Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs), The Salvation Army is referring impacted community members to local Salvation Army facilities for assistance.

Storm-impacted residents nearest the Little Axe MARC should visit the Westmoore High School MARC at 12613 S. Western Ave., Oklahoma City.

El Reno-area residents impacted by the storms should visit the MARC at Jenx Simmons Field House at 214 N. Country Club Rd. Salvation Army disaster relief services at that location include financial assistance to tornado survivors, Salvation Army Family Stores clothing vouchers to tornado and flooding survivors, and referrals for other services as well as a fixed feeing site.

To better serve community needs, including survivors who have returned to work and cannot visit the Disaster Relief Center during traditional business hours, The Salvation Army continues to provide assistance at our Disaster Relief Center from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Each day, the last service appointment of the day at the Salvation Army Disaster Relief Center will be accepted at 7:15 p.m.

Salvation Army EDS teams have been serving and ministering to survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes that impacted multiple communities around the Oklahoma City area since May 19.

Due to the devastation and loss caused by the May tornadoes, The Salvation Army expects increased requests for all types of financial and material assistance, not only in the next few months but also through the holidays and into the new year. Serving Oklahomans for more than a century already, The Salvation Army is committed to serving Oklahomans’ unmet needs indefinitely.

For the latest updates on The Salvation Army’s response to this disaster, there are many options to follow:

Since May 19, 2013, The Salvation Army has provided 54,583 meals, 79,678 drinks, and 78,845 snacks, 23 Canteens (mobile feeding units), 4,062 Clean-up and 6,622 Comfort (hygiene) kits, and prayer with 9,816 persons. More than 15,260 hours have been logged by volunteers, employees and officers.

The Salvation Army will continue to provide relief services for tornado and flooding survivors and those impacted by power outages indefinitely. Food, hydration, emotional and spiritual care and other supplies are being provided to residents of the heavily impacted areas including:
Canadian County (El Reno, Mustang, Union City), Cleveland County (Little Axe), Lincoln County (Carney), Pottawatomie County (Shawnee and surrounding area), and Moore.

Overall, The Salvation Army has provided food and hydration, as well other items including:

  • Clean-up Suppies
  • Hygiene Products
  • Household Goods
  • Financial Assistance to Tornado Survivors
  • Salvation Army Family Stores Clothing Vouchers to Tornado and Flooding Survivors

MARCs (Multi-Agency Resource Centers)
Hours: Dooors Open at 9:00 a.m.
At the El Reno and Moore MARCs The Salvation Army is providing:
• Financial Assistance to Tornado Survivors
• Salvation Army Family Stores Clothing Vouchers to Tornado and Flooding Survivors
• Referrals for Other Services

Canadian County:
El Reno:
Jenx Simmons Field House
214 N. Country Club Rd
El Reno, OK

Moore: Westmoore High School
12613 S. Western Ave.
Moore, OK

At the Carney, Little Axe, and Shawnee MARCs The Salvation Army is providing referrals to other Salvation Army locations for services.

Lincoln County:
Carney High School – Rooms 5, 6, 7
304 S. Carney Road
Carney, OK

Cleveland County:
Little Axe:
Little Axe Elementary School
2000 168th Avenue NE
Norman, OK (Highway 9 and 168th)

Pottawatomie County:
Gordon Cooper Vo-Tech (Sky Labs 1 & 2 and Dining Facility)
1 John C. Bruton Boulevard
Shawnee, OK
I-40 and Highway 18

IN KIND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE (Bulk Distribution) of In-Kind Gifts
At this location, The Salvation Army is providing water, food, hygiene items, and clean-up kits for anyone affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding.

Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads:
Distribution 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
7000 Crossroads Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK
(Located on SE Corner of mall in former JC Penney store)
Directions: Use I-240 entrance. Drive behind the AMC Theatre and park at the JC Penney Entrance.

Westmoore High School MARC (Multi-Agency Recovery Center) at 12613 S. Western Ave., Oklahoma City.
Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads Tornado Relief Distribution Center at 7000 Crossroads Boulevard, Oklahoma City.
• El Reno MARC at Jenx Simmons Field House, 214 N. Country Club Rd.

At 10 a.m. Salvation Army canteens began patrolling the following areas, offering food and hydration as well as spiritual and emotional care by trained counselors: Will Rogers Airport, Moore, Southeast and Southwest 59th Street areas of Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Dell City, Union City, El Reno, Little Axe, Moore.

• The Salvation Army maintains a fleet of disaster vehicles and supply warehouses across the United States to enable speedy mobilization.
• There are more than 300 emergency response vehicles in the eastern and southern United States alone and nearly 600 units nationwide.
• These units are able to serve thousands of meals and drinks per day when operating at full capacity.
• In addition to food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care, The Salvation Army is also prepared to provide:

  • Clean-up Kits (containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies)
  • Hygiene Kits
  • Household Goods
  • Financial Assistance to Tornado Survivors
  • Salvation Army Family Stores Clothing Vouchers to Tornado Survivors

Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel move into the areas of greatest need.

• Donors are encouraged to give online at or by calling
1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
• You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”*
• Checks may be made out to:
The Salvation Army Disaster Relief
PO BOX 2536
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Please designate “Oklahoma May Tornadoes” on all checks.

Your donations make a real difference.
• A $10 donation feeds a disaster survivor for one day.
• A $30 donation provides one food box, containing staple foods for a family of four, or one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning supplies.
• A $100 donation can serve snacks and drinks for 125 survivors and emergency personnel at the scene of a disaster.
• A $250 donation can provide one hot meal to 100 people or keep a hydration station operational for 24 hours.
• A $500 donation keeps a Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) fully operational for one day.

The Salvation Army cannot accept unsolicited in kind donations for the Oklahoma tornado relief operation.
• Corporations, foundations and others interested in donating to The Salvation Army response effort should contact Lanita Lloyd at or 404-728-1300 ext. 10680.
• Due to the high expense and time demands associated with delivering your gently used household goods and clothing (gifts-in-kind), The Salvation Army cannot guarantee that any individual gifts-in-kind donated will be sent to the disaster area. In times of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. By continuing to donate gently used household goods to your local Salvation Army store, you not only help your community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please visit

Those interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services should register at

• Please note that disaster service training is a prerequisite for volunteering in a disaster zone and not all registered volunteers will be called on to serve.
• There are some direct-service volunteer opportunities available with The Salvation Army’s Oklahoma tornado response. Individuals or groups interested in helping provide assistance to Oklahomans affected by these storms may view and register for available opportunities by visiting Under “Find Volunteer Opportunities,” search for “The Salvation Army Disaster.” You can reach our Tornado Relief Volunteer Coordinator at 405-620-2027 or


About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to

*A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Message & Data Rates May Apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. By participating you certify that you agree to the terms and conditions, that you are 18 yrs. or older, or have parental permission, and have authorization from the account holder. Donations are collected for the benefit of The Salvation Army by the Innovative Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at Privacy policy: Text STOP to 80888 to stop; Text HELP to 80888 for help.

Soldiers on Wheels

June 06, 2013 – 4:51 PM EDT
Krachel Greenwood

Soldiers on Wheels

A Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) canteen is a mobile kitchen, a “free” store on wheels, a light in the darkness for a disaster victim or a first responder looking for some renewed strength and energy during a troubling time.

Since tornadoes first touched down in Oklahoma on May 19th, 2013, The Salvation Army has provided 51,000 meals, 74,000 drinks, and 69,000 snacks from a total of 22 canteens. It’s a feat that couldn’t be accomplished without the help of volunteers.

Chris Fineout, the Canteen Coordinator, traveled to Oklahoma from Yankeetown, Florida. He begins his morning by gathering all canteen drivers and debriefing before deploying. Some canteens park in a designated area and serve crowds in populated places, providing a “fixed feeding site.” Others roam a specific area, providing “roving feedings” and aiding those across the Oklahoma countryside.

“We’ll have 12 canteens out today,” he explains, “with 36 volunteers divided among them.”

Supplies are counted and loaded. Lt. Maxie DeBlanc, from Houston, and volunteer James “Jim” Brown of Kingston, Ohio, discuss strategy before pulling out. For Lt. DeBlanc, the call to serve on an EDS team came at a time when she was feeling down.

“I came here broken, but I’ve learned to say ‘yes’ to God,” she said. “In ministering to others after Friday night’s latest round of storms, I have been ministered to myself. And when I go home, I go home knowing there is a God who loves me.” 

Volunteer Jim Brown calls this trip a vacation. Now retired, when he heard of the need for help in Oklahoma, he cleared his calendar for two weeks and headed south.

At the next canteen down, Robert Mattingly, who hails from Ponca City, Okla., loads a set of cambros into his assigned Canteen. A cambro is an insulated box that can keep hot food hot or cold food cold for 8 hours. At 10 pounds each when they’re empty, these containers are the real deal.

“We can put approximately 150 meals in one cambro,” explains Capt. James Spencer, Oklahoma EDS Operations Chief. Several cambros are placed on each canteen, separating the main dish of meat or stew from side dishes usually consisting of veggies. A fruit bowl or pudding cup makes a warm meal complete.

Today Fineout asks crews to take more meals than they took yesterday. With continued flooding in the area and power lines still down, many remain in need of a warm meal and fresh drink of water.

Fineout understands firsthand: “I’ve been involved with The Army since I was 14 years old. I have been the person getting a meal as opposed to giving,” he says. “This is the least I can do to help.”