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Florida Team Responds to Propane Plant Explosion

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At approximately 11:30pm on Monday, July 29, a massive explosion occurred at the Blue Rhino Propane Plant in Tavares Florida about 20 minutes northeast of Leesburg Florida. Twenty-four employees were working at the plant when the blast occurred.  Eight individuals were injured during the blast and transported to local hospitals in the area for treatment.

The Salvation Army, Leesburg Corps, responded to the scene that evening with an Emergency Disaster Services truck loaded with drinks, snacks and whatever else they could think to bring stated Lt. Matt Hedgren, recently appointed corps officer for Leesburg, Florida.

 
“I heard what appeared to sound like thunder or even music from my living room last night, but knew it was something bad when I stepped into the street and saw the orange glow”.  Lt Hedgren said he jumped in his car and drove to a nearby lake and said he could see the fire from there, which was about twenty minutes away.

As a result of the explosion, 150 people were evacuated to a local emergency shelter at the First United Methodist Church in Tavares.  Lt. Hedgren met with families of the plant workers and provided Emotional and Spiritual Care.  In coordination with the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Leesburg Corps served 300 drinks and snacks.

The Salvation Army Leesburg Emergency Disaster Services team will continue to monitor the situation and provide services where necessary.

For the latest emergency disaster services news follow EDS team on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.

July 31, 2013 – 9:40 AM EDT Kevin Smith[email protected] (813) 267-8867

Transitional Living Program Equips Employed, Homeless Men With Tools for Self-Sufficiency

Unveiling the new Men’s Transitional Housing Center in Hickory, NC on July 12, which will serve 11 employed but homeless men in need. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Salvation-Army-of-Hickory/193314167414214

There can be so many reasons for becoming homeless, especially during these tough economic times. Whether you’ve been evicted, deal with substance abuse, face a domestic break-up or any other type of crisis, The Salvation Army is there to lend a helping hand.

The Salvation Army’s Transitional Housing Program is designed for homeless and low-income families and individuals who need help regaining their independence by the power of healing and learning the life skills they need to be successful.  Housing is provided on a temporary basis for varying amounts of time to help individuals get back on their feet.

In addition to food and shelter, most centers provide a variety of educational, health care, counseling, and vocational services to homeless and destitute individuals and families. All programs vary depending on the needs of the community.

One example of this program is our new transitional housing facility that recently opened in Hickory, N.C. This building will provide shelter and services for 11 men for up to two years, who are employed, yet homeless. This particular program is designed to fight the cycle of homelessness by providing these men with the necessary tools they need in order to become self –sufficient through shelter, education and spiritual healing. Skills classes include topics such as budget counseling, substance abuse education, job training, and GED courses. The ultimate goal is for each man to leave the center with enough money for a deposit a permanent residence or a financial cushion.

Each year, The Salvation Army provides more than 10 million nights of shelter to those in need thanks to our generous supporters. We are always seeking volunteers to share life experience skills and mentor clients. To lend your skills to The Salvation Army, click here or visit www.volunteermatch.org for a list of Salvation Army opportunities in your area.

Salvation Army programs vary with local needs. For information on specific programs and locations, contact your local Salvation Army Corps Community Center by doing a zip code search in our website’s Location field.

“Daddy’s Home” comic strip raises awareness for Hurricane Sandy relief

Check out the comics section in today’s paper and you might see the latest from the acclaimed comic strip, “Daddy’s Home,” which highlights the still very present need in New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The comic portrays the iconic Star Jet roller coaster sitting in the ocean in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, perhaps one of the most famous and enduring images from Hurricane Sandy’s devastating sweep along the East Coast last November.

“I want people to be aware that there’s still work to do,” said Tony Rubino, creative director of the syndicated comic alongside illustrator, Gary Markstein, who directs readers to The Salvation Army’s website (www.SalvationArmyUSA.org).

Eight months later, there is indeed a lot to be done for impacted residents. The Salvation Army continues to provide long-term assistance and disaster case management to help survivors find resources for rebuilding their damaged homes, while also providing financial assistance and referral services to residents in the hardest hit areas of Staten Island, Queens and Long Island.

If you would like to make a donation or commitment to volunteer with The Salvation Army, please visit www.SalvationArmyNY.org.
A huge thank you to Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein for supporting our Emergency Disaster Services!

Salvation Army’s Long Island Recovery Center Offers Long-Term Assistance to Sandy Survivors

Long Island residents still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy now have one more place to find help.

On Thursday, July 11, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of its Long Island Sandy Recovery Center which will offer long-term assistance to survivors of the fall 2012 storm. Unique to the area, the new recovery center will provide disaster case management to help eligible survivors find resources for rebuilding their damaged homes.

“We wrapped up our short-term relief efforts in 2012, then entered a recovery phase, and now have officially switched our operations to long-term recovery, as we, together with our partners, work to get people back into their homes or into a new permanent home,” said Major Steven Stoops, Associate Social Ministries Secretary for The Salvation Army Greater New York Division.

Over the past eight months, The Salvation Army has provided financial assistance, referral services to the hardest hit areas of Staten Island, Queens and Long Island, while also playing an active role in bringing funding and services to those affected through partnerships with other non-profit agencies.

As the state continues recovery operations, homeowners like Ellen Levitsky are grateful for the support of The Salvation Army, which helped clean up her storm-ravaged home.

“I never thought anyone would come to help,” Levitsky said. “I feel like I should be pinched. I’m so thankful for the help that The Salvation Army has provided, and how quickly.”

Two more Salvation Army Sandy Recovery Centers are in the works for Staten Island and Far Rockaway, which will replicate the case-management model of the Long Island site. Both centers are in need of staff.
To support The Salvation Army’s continued Sandy recovery work, please visit www.SalvationArmyNY.org. For information on eligibility and available assistance, call the center’s main number at (516) 478-4166.

For the latest updates, find The Salvation Army Greater New York Division at https://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyny or http://www.use.salvationarmy.org/gnyd. 

Good news out of Camden! New Kroc Center

Posted by Jackie

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Photo Credit: Kroc Center – Camden

The Salvation Army Kroc Corps Community Center of Camden, NJ is set to open October 2014 in the most dangerous, poorest neighborhood in America, a place where 35% of families live below the poverty line.

This center (affordably priced at $200 annually for a family of 4) will provide a place to exercise (fight obesity), learn (after schools programs in arts & music education, hallmarks of The Salvation Army), and serve as a safe gathering place in the community, for the community.
The Camden Kroc will do more than create 160 jobs in a city defined by decay and brokenness.  It will create countless opportunities for healing, growth, and education.

Major Paul Cain took me around the 24 acres yesterday – acres anchored in hope for a neighborhood with the highest murder rate in the country. A place where “hatchet job” is not a metaphorical phrase.

On the ride from Philly to Camden and across town I didn’t see one gym. Instead, I saw lots of boarded up homes, lots of people sitting on the streets with nothing to do. Lots of hopelessness.
But where I see hopelessness, Major Cain sees hope.

As we drove around the former landfill, I saw dirt. Major Cain sees potential. I saw a dead end. Major Cain sees promise. I saw steel beams; Major Cain sees the baseball, basketball and soccer fields, swimming pool, client choice food pantry, day care center, pond, and solar panel field soon to come.

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Major Cain says “it’s hard to find good news in Camden.” This Kroc Center is indeed good news. Good news built with bricks and concrete – but also with love.

Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors, political leaders  like Mayor Dana Redd, who have championed this project, and countless individuals devoted to seeing this thing happen – such as founder and donor, Joan Kroc of McDonald’s – is now birthing the 27th Kroc Center in the United States.

As it opens, we’re reminded that we didn’t build it. Collective generosity did. Wells Fargo, Campbell’s, the city of Camden, individuals who care – helped make this center a reality. It’s not ours. It’s God’s. The community’s. It’s not just for programs, it’s for people.

What happens within the 120,000 square feet of the Camden Kroc remains to be seen. But it’s built with love and the Salvation Army staff & officers vision as they live out a love that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
There is good news in Camden, good news founded on truly Good News. Something the Cain’s and Rivera’s can tell you about.

Oklahoma Salvation Army Enters Long-Term Tornado & Flood Recovery Work

July 08, 2013 – 1:04 PM EDTCynthia (Cindy) Fuller[email protected]
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Oklahoma City, OK (July 8, 2013) The Salvation Army is transitioning from response to long-term recovery following the May tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma.  The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) located at Westmoore High School closed July 3rd. However, the closure does not mean The Salvation Army, along with other agencies, are ending their assistance.
The transition occurs as many have received the emergency assistance needed and are now preparing for the next steps of recovery and rebuilding their lives.  The Salvation Army has been in Central Oklahoma for over 100 years and will continue to support the community in the future.

The Salvation Army participated in multiple MARCs:  Carney, Little Axe, Shawnee, El Reno and Moore; all have now closed in preparation to transition to long-term recovery.  Along with other partner agencies, The Salvation Army is working on a plan for a long-term recovery center.  In preparation, a call center, led by the American Red Cross has been set up to do intake for case work.  Call center staff will do intake and casework teams are available to respond and/or collect information for follow up on an as needed basis.  The number to the call center is 866-477-7276. 

The Salvation Army provided the following during its emergency disaster response phase:
89,477 meals
129,181 drinks
170,379 snacks
Emotional and spiritual care to 14,728 individuals
51,988 comfort kits
10,249 Clean Up Kits
28,891 hours of employee and volunteer service
6,381 cases opened and services provided to 31,208 with assistance through distribution of cards, vouchers, and referrals
The Salvation Army also provided blankets, Bibles, brooms, rakes, shoves, wheel barrows, totes, food boxes, infant supplies and cases of water.

The Salvation Army is working together with partner agencies on how it will continue to support Oklahoma communities affected by the May tornadoes and flooding.  This will occur through long-term recovery case management process.   While needs may change, The Salvation Army is committed to being involved for the long haul.

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About The Salvation ArmyThe 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 www.salvationarmyusa.org.

A Woman of Substance

Posted by Megan on Monday, July 1, 2013 · Leave a Comment 


Chemka (left) running her new small business in Kenya. Photo Credit: Captain Beatrice Ayabagabo, Empowerment Coordinator, The Salvation Army, Kenya West Territorial Headquarters.

Hope is a powerful virtue.  Opportunity to engender hope in the lives of others is transformational.  A Kenyan woman named Chemka, from the village of Sabatia Gurugwa, is the definition of hope.  I recently read her story in a field update from a women’s empowerment project that The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) has been supporting in Kenya to teach literacy and record-keeping skills to underprivileged women.  Chemka joined other women in the program to make effective use of these skills by forming a savings and lending group to give members the opportunity to start small income-generating businesses.

A single mother, 46-years-old and struggling, Chemka happily recounted that after joining her local empowerment group and buying shares, she was able to secure a small loan to start a business selling fruit, onions and tomatoes.  She proudly reports that her enterprise is doing well, and from it, she is able to save money and provide food for her child. She is also now feeling a powerful confidence in her ability to one day expand her business, and open a shop.

What jumped out at me most of Chemka’s account is her new view of herself:  “Surely now, I can be called a woman of substance.”

And I was reminded that with just a mustard seed of encouragement and training, we can change lives, we can engender hope…not only in a financial sense, but in a sense of personal accomplishment.  And once that journey has begun, for many we help, there is momentum – the impetus to continue reaching beyond perceived limitations.

We know of many, like Chemka, who rejoice in their newfound ability to provide healthier meals to their children, to finally send children to school, and to share in the financial responsibility for their families.  These fundamental abilities are often taken for granted in America, but not for women like Chemka.

We have heard from women, like Everlyne Gibendi, who said, “I had nothing to do, but wait for my husband to buy and cater for the family.  I thought I was not important in the family.” Everlyne has since parlayed a small business selling vegetables and fish into enough money to buy a motorcycle that she and her husband rent for additional income.

Stories of empowerment like these are told in SAWSO’s Annual Report, available at http://sawso.org/SAWSO2012AnnualReport.pdf. The report celebrates people everywhere who are taking the opportunities that God presents to lift up their spirits and change their lives.  One of the gifts of serving God in SAWSO is helping a woman like Chemka come to realize that God always intended for her to be and see, that she is truly a woman of substance.
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Lt-Colonel-Joan-Canning-215x3001[1]Lieutenant Colonel Joan Canning is the Executive Director of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO). SAWSO’s vision is to “create a world where people live in safe and sustainable communities in which differences are respected, basic needs are met, and all enjoy opportunities to learn, work, and worship in freedom.” Learn more at www.SAWSO.org. 

Nelson Mandela

Salvationists Sing and Pray for Nelson Mandela

Post courtesy of The Salvation Army International.
 

Nelson MandelaOfficers from The Salvation Army’s Southern Africa Territory sang and prayed outside the hospital in Pretoria where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated. The group – which included territorial leaders Commissioners William and Thalitha Langa – lifted up Mr Mandela in prayer, with Chief Secretary Lieut-Colonel Robert Donaldson asking God to ‘bless the former president and his family’.
 

The officers sang ‘In Thee O Lord do I Put my Trust’ after laying flowers at the hospital gates. Territorial Commander Commissioner William Langa addressed the group of onlookers and media, explaining that The Salvation Army wanted to symbolically show its support to the family of Madiba (as Mr Mandela is affectionately known) and to assure them of the prayers of Salvationists. He paid tribute to Madiba’s struggle to bring freedom and peace to South Africa. The commissioner’s message for the ailing anti-apartheid leader was: ‘Lift up your head, look up to God and be encouraged.’
 

The Chief Secretary called out to God in prayer, saying: ‘You have the future in your hands. You have the future of this nation in your hands and you have the future of the leader of this nation in your hands … bring grace to our former president and all his family. Bless them and encourage them Lord, at this difficult time.’

Out-Of-State Salvation Army Teams Arrive To Aid In Colorado Fires

Posted by Megan on Monday, June 24, 2013 ·

Casper-EDS-Canteen[1] Photo: http://www.expectchange.dreamhosters.com/

The Salvation Army has been working nonstop to provide for evacuees and first responders of the largest burning wildfire in Colorado’s history. Since sparking by lightning strike on June 5, the wildfire has burned up approximately 140 acres and is now covering 110 square miles of the state’s forests, resulting in thousands of evacuations.

Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams of The Salvation Army are working to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of impacted residents, evacuees and first responders.

EDS teams from New Mexico, California, Wyoming and Montana were called to strengthen The Salvation Army’s services in multiple locations around the state. In just eleven days, EDS teams have provided thousands of meals, snacks and drinks to first responders, law enforcement and evacuees of multiple fires, including the Black Forest, Klinkus, and Royal Gorge Fires.
 
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/imsalvationarmy
 
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/imsalvationarmy
 
Today, The Salvation Army begins feeding operations at the West Fork Fire shelter in Del Norte. Teams remain on standby to provide relief in the East peak Fire burning near Walsenburg.

The Salvation Army will continue to meet both short and long term needs as long the organization is called to do so.
Salvation Army disaster services are made possible by monetary donations which allow us to meet the unique, immediate needs of communities in crisis. If you would like to support individuals and families in need of assistance, please visit www.imsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “Colorado Fires.” You may also text GIVEHOPEIM to 80888 to donate $10 to The Salvation Army.*
Donations by mail may be designated “Colorado Fires” and sent to:
The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 60006
Prescott, AZ 86304 Information courtesy of http://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/. Click here to donate. Filed under Disaster Services · Tagged with Black Forest, Colorado, Donate, EDS, Emergency Disaster Services, relief, The Salvation Army, Western Territory, wildfires

The Salvation Army Needs Your Help To Provide Colorado Wildfire Relief

Posted by Megan on Thursday, June 20, 2013 ·

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The Salvation Army has been providing food, drinks and comfort from canteens for evacuees and first responders of the Black Forest wildfire since the disaster sparked on June 11.

This post was originally featured on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services website and contributed by Courtney Culpepper of The Salvation Army Western Territory. 

Last week, The Salvation Army provided over 1,000 volunteer hours, 25,000 meals and snacks and 27,000 drinks to first responders, law enforcement and evacuees of the Black Forest Fire.  Emergency Disaster Services teams continue to aid those impacted by the fire as they begin returning to the area.

As evacuees begin returning to the area, the need for assistance remains heavy.  The Salvation Army will be there for those who have lost more than 500 homes.  Already, we have given $50,000 to survivors for immediate needs.

Now, we need your help to support those rebuilding from the ground up.

Recovery efforts to counter the Black Forest Fire’s extensive devastation will be long-term, and The Salvation Army plans to be present as long as there is need; however, we cannot do this without the community’s support.

Still today, The Salvation Army continues to provide recovery aid to those impacted by last summer’s devastating Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.  Though this recovery continues, our expenses have far exceeded donations received for these efforts.

Monetary donations are desperately needed to help The Salvation Army help those affected during the long recovery ahead.  The Salvation Army uses 100% of your disaster donations in support of local disaster relief operations.

To give, visit www.imsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “Colorado Fires.”  You may also text GIVEHOPEIM to 80888 to donate $10 to The Salvation Army.*  Donations by mail may be designated “Colorado Fires” and sent to:
The Salvation ArmyP.O. Box 60006Prescott, AZ 86304
In–kind donations are not currently being accepted outside the disaster area.  However, these gifts are vitally important to your local Salvation Army. To give items locally, visit www.SATruck.com or call 1-800-SA-TRUCK.