Salvation Army Provides Bilingual Assistance for Irma Survivors

Bonita Springs, FL – Salvation Army Officer, Major Doris Lawrence, is using her bilingual skills to assist families coming into The Salvation Army Bonita Springs Service Center. A lady with her children came in tears and said she had tried calling FEMA several times before coming to The Salvation Army.  She explained that her English was not good enough to communicate with the operator and she became frustrated with working long days cleaning her home with little to no help.   Major Lawrence, who provides emotional and spiritual care, called FEMA and within minutes – set up an appointment at their office to speak to a representative. 

“Bilingual volunteers are needed in this area,” said Major Lawrence.  “We are seeing several Irma survivors coming to the office in need of FEMA assistance and unable to communicate their needs.”  

Every day for a week, Major Lawrence assisted between five to ten Spanish speaking families with assistance.  She has coordinated FEMA to come meet with the families at The Salvation Army center, simply because the families cannot get to their homes due to the overwhelming amount of standing water still in their neighborhoods.  Major Lawrence sat and talked with families for hours about their ordeal and their loss.  She lifted an emotional barrier by providing sympathy and understanding in a desperate time of need.

Major Lawrence, expressed her concerns about the Spanish speaking victims and their long-term recovery service needs in their area.  She was thankful for the Spanish speaking staff and volunteers, who continue to work tirelessly in this community.  Thanks to the bilingual skills of one Salvation Army Officer, many are finding hope with love and compassion.

The Salvation Army in Ft. Myers has prepared and distributed 174,844 meals, drinks and snacks; provided 9,005 cleaning supplies; 5,378 hygiene kits; 6,450 food boxes; 157,756 infant supply boxes; 3,293 victims with emotional and spiritual care; and 1,930 volunteers gave 181,542 hours of service.

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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