Emergency Disaster Services

Bainbridge is a small town neatly nestled in the southwestern corner of the state of Georgia just over the Alabama and Florida state lines.

The Salvation Army Helps Hispanic Community Seeking Shelter in Bainbridge, GA

Bainbridge is a small town neatly nestled in the southwestern corner of the state of Georgia just over the Alabama and Florida state lines. It was first settled as a small trading post in the late 18th century. Residents are rightly proud of their little corner of Georgia, and will quickly remind you it’s the hometown of Georgia Bulldog Head Coach Kirby Smart.

Life is fairly laid back in Bainbridge. But, that all changed when Michael arrived hurling winds of 120 miles per hour down against the quite little town.

“Bainbridge was never seen anything like this before,” said Maria Diaz, a resident since 1999. “The last time anything close to this happened here was back in 1851.”

Bearing testimony to Maria’s statement, countless 100-year-old-plus live oak trees, that once graced the town, are now strewn across streets and lawns, and lay toppled over homes and businesses.

Many of the largest and most beautiful trees in Bainbridge are now either gone or severely disfigured. Waves and swaths of live oak leaves stripped from their branches by hurricane-force winds still swirl in the narrower back streets, like dark green glitter tinged with a smattering of road dust. Unripen acorns wretched from parental trees easily crunch underfoot at every step.

A few miles south of town, and a stone’s throw from Tallahassee Highway, almost 100 men, women and children huddled together inside the United Methodist Hispanic Hispanic Mission seeking shelter from the rages of Hurricane Michael, not knowing the fate of their clustered trailer-homes just over the tree line. Their fear grew in intensity as the raging storm winds increased and pressed trees down to their breaking point. At the height of the storm, the little group of gathered families huddled together in prayer for thirty minutes in the center of the chapel. At midnight, the power went out.

Local congregation leader, Jamie Gallaga, earlier pleaded with the little Hispanic community to shelter in the church from the storm. Much to Mr. Gallaga’s relief, they listened. Gallaga grew up on the Mexican Gulf Coast and shared his frightening personal experiences of what hurricane force winds could do. Although Gallaga is not an ordained pastor, its not important to the little Hispanic community. He took up care for the little Hispanic flock when the pastor assigned to the church was delayed by governmental red tape over a year ago, and they won’t forget his unfailing love and dedication to them.

“I’m glad they listened,” says Gallaga with tears in his eyes, “I can’t image what I would do if anything happened to one of these little ones,” he adds, as children run laughing, playing and chasing each other around the inside of the chapel.

The women and children stay at the Hispanic Mission Church during the day while the men go back to their devastated neighborhood to do what repairs they can. One man lost his trailer-home where he and his five children were living. He lost his wife a few years ago, and now must maintain his strength for his family to make it through yet another tragedy.

Gallaga’s step-son’s house is destroyed — crushed under numerous fallen trees. And two trees crashed through Gallaga’s home, too. “I’m not going to worry about my home or going back to work until the congregation is taken care of and none of them need to stay here anymore,” says Gallaga resolutely.

Just then, one of the best mobile kitchen units in The Salvation Army Georgia Division 21-canteen fleet from Elberton, GA, slowly navigates the turn into the driveway of the church—within a short time it is set up and ready to serve lunch.

Behind the serving window is 2016 Salvation Army Southern Territory Volunteer of the Year, Joe Johnson, now approaching 30 years of volunteer service. “I love doing this,” Johnson says, as a gaggle of pre-teen girls skip up to the canteen followed closely by their moms and younger siblings. “Hot dogs!” they exclaim excitedly.

“I don’t have words to express how much it means for you to help us like this,” says Gallaga.

“That’s what we do – helping people in their time of need,” says Johnson. “We’re with you, and we won’t leave Bainbridge, or the little Hispanic Mission, either, until all in need are served and safe.”

Michael is an intense category 4 hurricane — the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle. After slamming ashore,

The Salvation Army of Georgia Readies as Michael Slams Florida Panhandle

Michael is an intense category 4 hurricane — the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle. After slamming ashore, Michael is expected to continue northeast as a category 2 hurricane, raging through Southern Georgia across Bainbridge, Thomasville and Savannah with weather unlike anything they have seen before.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units (canteens) and other resources from across the southern U.S. are stationed to quickly provide feeding, hydration and emotional and spiritual care throughout impacted areas.

“Hurricane Michael is a powerful storm,” Says Major Charles Powell, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Georgia. “We are ready and poised to minister in the name of Jesus to those who are hurting — to be there for them in their time of need. We want to be a ray of light in their time of darkness that brings peace to their minds and hearts.”

In Georgia, twenty-one canteens stand ready to deploy to areas affected in Georgia. A Salvation Army Incident Management Team (IMT) monitors the storm progress and impact from their operations center located in The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters building Atlanta, Georgia. From this location, The Salvation Army of Georgia can coordinate and communicate with Salvation Army locations and resources across the state, and with state and local officials in efforts to respond effectively where resources are needed most. The current focus centers on the 108 counties in South Georgia placed under a state of emergency by Governor Nathan Deal.

“We continue to assess and evaluate the situation,” says Captain Erik Henry, Incident Commander for the Georgia Incident Management Team, “Once we see exactly how the storm impacts our state, we will be able to redeploy our resources as needed to help those in the most severely affected areas.”

The Salvation Army of Georgia is already in action providing drinks and meals in key locations for first responders, evacuees and those seeking help including; Albany, Americus, Augusta, Douglas, Dublin, Macon, Tifton and Thomasville. Many other locations are on standby ready to respond when needed

The best way to help survivors and relief workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.

New Bern Corps, North Carolina held worship this morning. The band played ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness

Worship in the midst of a storm

New Bern Corps, North Carolina held worship this morning. The band played ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’, hymns were sung, a message was delivered, scripture was read. The meeting was much like any other Salvation Army meeting in the more than 14,000 Salvation Army worship locations all over the world.

This worship meeting, however, was not like any other. It was held in a donated space hastily set up for the service. White plastic chairs replaced upholstered pews. The backdrop to the pulpit was a curtain of white pipe and drape. Instead of worshipping in the church that stood for generations, 45 people came to an unfamiliar building to praise God.

The worshippers were full of joy and thanksgiving despite the destruction Hurricane Florence brought to the second oldest town in North Carolina.

During and immediately after Hurricane Florence, New Bern saw more than ten feet (over three meters) of storm surge and flooding when the Neuse and Trent rivers rose dramatically in hours. Almost a foot of rain fell in the area, creating even more flooding. More than 450 of the 30,000 residents of New Bern had to be rescued. The Salvation Army corps building in New Bern still stood but took on two-plus feet of water. Much of the building was heavily damaged in the storm, but the three crosses in front of the church stood firm.

‘That building was just brick and mortar. It was just a building. The building is NOT the Army. We are the Army. You are the Army. And we, as the Army, have work to do!’ said corps officer Captain Curtis Kratz, in his sermon.

Since the storm hit New Bern, The Salvation Army has been at work. Feeding people. Giving hope through outdoor meetings. Being a helping hand in a storm-ravaged community. Since before the storm hit, more than 11,000 meals have been served to first responders and people impacted by the storm. More than 360 people have received prayers and words of encouragement from Salvation Army pastors.

In the coming weeks, the shock from the storm will wear off. Families will have to figure out a new plan. And The Salvation Army will be there, working alongside the community to rebuild.

All throughout Carteret County, there are piles on the sides of the roads. Limbs and brush, furniture, mattresses, appliances and more

Cleaning Up Carteret County Begins, One Kit At A Time

All throughout Carteret County, there are piles on the sides of the roads. Limbs and brush, furniture, mattresses, appliances and more – all evidence of a community trying to put the pieces back together.

Now that power has been fully restored, people are returning to their homes to assess the damage and begin the arduous task of cleaning up. Many homes encountered flooding, so everything has been destroyed. People are ripping out carpet, and bleaching away the mold and mildew.

On Tuesday, Salvation Army crews canvassed the county, dropping off cleanup kits with much needed essentials including disinfectant, scrubbing brushes, gloves, towels and other supplies. These 5-gallon buckets are a start for these families facing a long road ahead.

“Our prayer is that these clean up kits are more than just what’s inside,” said Lt. Jeremy Lind. “We hope these are a little glimpse of Jesus.”

Lind, and other Salvation Army disaster workers, spent the morning driving to different Down East communities to check in on the local residents.

In Cedar Island, a community at the far eastern tip of Carteret County, the staff at the fire department was grateful.

“The Salvation Army has been our saving grace,” Fire Chief Rodney Smith said. “They were here from the beginning.” Larry Land, a board member with the local Salvation Army of Carteret County, has been dropping food and checking on this community on a regular basis. Now, the local Cedar Island fire department has turned its attention to take care of others who have been impacted even more.

In Marshallberg, the sign outside of the Marshallberg Fire Department read “Need clean up kits.” So, the Salvation Army’s arrival today was met with applause and pictures. “This is all we needed!” one local resident remarked.

In Otway, Marie and David were just returning from Florida. They evacuated and escaped the storm but their home certainly didn’t. Clean up kits and a tarp were all they needed.

“We just got back and don’t know where to start,” Marie said. “This is a huge help.” They took four buckets for their home and their neighbors.

In Harkers Island, The Salvation Army has had a constant presence, feeding and providing supplies and support. This morning, one resident summed up the experience: “What a blessing The Salvation Army has been to this community.”

In the small community of North River, residents are still picking up the pieces. “This was a bad one here. People underestimate it, but water is devastating,” Alton Davis, chief at the North River Fire Department said.

Davis himself saw extensive damage at his own home. Yet, he was thrilled to receive clean up kits. At the station this evening, Davis is hosting dinner and a supply pickup. Residents will be able to come by and receive clothing and cleaning supplies.

“Thank you for everything y’all have done,” Davis said. But, the community fire department has done just as much for its community. And, that has been the case at each of the small communities throughout Carteret County.

A message written on the side of a discarded refrigerator on Highway 70 said, ”Thank all of y’all.” In this case, it includes The Salvation Army, the utility workers from all over the country, and the neighbors who have been looking out for each other.

Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina, The Salvation Army is preparing to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care

Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina

As Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina, The Salvation Army is preparing to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care to individuals and families impacted by the storm and first responders.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – North and South Carolina

  • At the logistical staging location in Charlotte, North Carolina, twenty-five mobile feeding units and teams from the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) Division, Florida Division, and Georgia Division are prepared to deploy as soon as storm conditions allow.
  • The mobile feeding units were joined in Charlotte by twenty-five Emotional and Spiritual Care specialists who will provide comfort and hope to survivors, first responders, and volunteers who are helping with the disaster.
  • In the short-term aftermath of the storm, Salvation Army officers, staff, and volunteers will focus primarily on the immediate needs, providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to impacted individuals, families, and first responders.
  • Through coordination with local emergency management and disaster service partners, Salvation Army units across the Carolina are providing meals to evacuation shelters and emergency operations centers ahead of Hurricane Florence.
  • The Salvation Army is coordinating with numerous county emergency operations centers and serving in state emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units have deployed to assigned service areas.

  • A mobile feeding unit from Clearwater, FL has been deployed to Kinston, NC and is on standby to provide support in the area.
  • Charlotte, NC mobile feeding unit and team deployed to provide support in Horry County/Conway, SC alongside the Conway mobile feeding unit.
  • Hickory, NC deployed to provide support in Washington, NC alongside the Washington mobile feeding unit.
  • Greensboro, NC deployed to provide support Elizabeth City, NC alongside the Elizabeth City mobile feeding unit.
  • Greenville, SC, and Anderson, SC deployed to provide support in Charleston, SC alongside the Charleston mobile feeding unit.
  • The Salvation Army in Charleston is serving in partnership with the South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief. This collaboration has fed many thousands over its multi-decade partnership. The Baptist Disaster Relief cooks the hot meals and The Salvation Army mobile feeding units provide the meals where needed.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – Georgia 

  • A Georgia Incident Management Team, led by Disaster Services Director Lanita Lloyd, has been identified and is prepared to respond. This leadership team will coordinate the response in Georgia.
  • Additional Georgia mobile feeding units are now being prepared for activation along with teams to be deployed in the areas of need in Georgia.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – National Capital and Virginia 

  • Three Incident Command Posts have been created and are ready to mobilize and serve.
  • Seven mobile feeding units from Kentucky-Tennessee Division are now stationed in Roanoke.
  • The Salvation Army is prepared to serve.

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

  • We have served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900.
  • The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to support those affected by Hurricane Florence. Our national network of trained disaster staff and volunteers will be deployed to several locations, prepared to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors.
  • In times of disaster, we serve the whole person – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • After immediate needs are met, The Salvation Army will remain and continue to partner with impacted communities to rebuild. Rebuilding communities takes time and partnership, and we will be there as long as it takes.
  • We are there before, during, and after the storm

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.

Florence

National Capital & Virginia Division Readies Response to Hurricane Florence

The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division is closely monitoring weather conditions as Hurricane Florence continues its path in the Atlantic Ocean. Most recent reports indicate that the Hurricane may make landfall to near Category 5 strength Thursday night along the North Carolina coast. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued yesterday for coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“Together with our emergency response team in the Carolinas and our national disaster teams, we are closely monitoring the storm. We are ready to respond locally in coastal areas and beyond, where heavy rainfall and potential flooding may impact wide areas in Virginia,” said Major Chris Flanagan for The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division. “We pray that the impact will be light, but we are ready to provide relief to those affected by the storm and support our emergency management partners.”

The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to support those affected by Hurricane Florence, with trained disaster staff and volunteers and specialized equipment deploying to several locations. As in past disasters, The Salvation Army coordinates with community agencies and emergency management officials to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors. The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division has 8-10 mobile feeding units ready for disaster response throughout Virginia. Most of those units are on the road today and tomorrow, establishing staging areas in locations believed to be most impacted in the arrival and aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Salvation Army Williamsburg on the Scene of Helicopter Crash and Fire

Salvation Army Williamsburg on the Scene of Helicopter Crash and Fire

A townhome community adjacent to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the scene of a helicopter crash that killed at least one person and resulted in a fire on Sunday afternoon just before 4:45 p.m.

The accident scene is just about 100 yards from the new building for The Salvation Army of Williamsburg. Corp officers Lieutenants Jeremy and Whitney Lind provided bottled water, snacks, and spiritual care to the first responders, townhome residents, and neighbors. The Corps also offered the use of their parking lot to first responders and displaced residents. As the investigation continues into the cause of the crash that took the life of the helicopter pilot, the Corps will continue to monitor the scene and offer needed support.

 

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 towww.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

The Salvation Army of Dane County's Emergency Disaster Services

The Salvation Army of Dane County’s Emergency Disaster Services

PORTAGE, Wis. – The Salvation Army of Dane County’s Emergency Disaster Services response team is providing support to crews in Portage Tuesday as they continue to search for the body of a 13-year-old boy, the organization said Tuesday.

The Salvation Army said it’s providing hydration and food services to the boy’s family, EMTs and other first responders at the scene.

On Sunday at about 6 p.m., an officer was flagged down near Silver Lake Beach in Portageon a report of a person possibly drowning, according to the release. The boy was playing in the water near the boat launch at Silver Lake Beach, outside of the swim area.

Three days later, crews were still searching to recover his body.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said the department has a dive team in the water, and the Department of Natural Resources and Milwaukee police are at Silver Lake with a sector scan sonar.

Authorities with the city, county and state departments have been at the scene to help in the search.

Lt. Keith Klafke said teams Tuesday were discussing the options left and worst-case scenario type of plans.

“We are using all the resources available and it is helpful to have these teams on hand,” Klafke said in the release. “Closing in on three days now, the other entities will help push the search into later today with more invasive search tactics.”

Klafke said the family has been an active part of the search process and everyone is working to keep false information out of the media.

“I can understand the frustration of not having your boy in your arms for three days, but through it all the family has exhibited the utmost cooperation and been extremely supportive of our efforts.”

Silver Lake and its access points, including the beach, boat landing, park and parking lot areas, were closed to the public as the search continued, Portage police said.

 

Salvation Army captain goes on search-and-rescue mission after the storm. Ward’s contributions weren’t over once the waters receded.

Salvation Army captain goes on search-and-rescue mission after the storm

The boat already carried great meaning before the storm of Hurricane Harvey.

It had been passed down through three generations of men, a family heirloom bearing cherished memories of father-son fishing trips. Its significance would rise with the rain.

As the commanding officer of the Salvation Army’s Houston Northwest Corps, Capt. Jay Ward was prepared to serve in the relief effort once Harvey passed, but plans changed when his 18-year-old son Christian read messages of despair on the Nextdoor app. The people in distress were less than two miles away.

“Dad, we’ve got a boat,” Christian said. “We have to go help.”

The Salvation Army of Maryland is deploying some of its officers to Texas to help with the relief effort from Hurricane Harvey. The Salvation Army in Maryland is gearing up to send 12 officers to Texas.

Media: WBAL

So, wearing athletic shorts and tennis shoes with no socks, they headed out into the floodwaters.

Ward recalls a man waving from his second-story window with a look of desperation. Inside his home, a flat screen television hung on the wall, framed photographs decorated the mantle. Everything appeared normal, except for the three feet of water and their floating furniture.

“It was a really odd feeling,” Ward said. “If you didn’t look down, you would never know that his house was full of water.”

Ward and his son used the family boat to rescue that man, plus 40 more people and 10 dogs over the next two days last August.

Ward’s contributions weren’t over once the waters receded. His church and community center became the Salvation Army’s first incident command post in Houston. Volunteers from all over the country met there to coordinate canteen, hydration and spiritual counseling services.

In a month’s time, the organization would serve nearly 1 million meals by way of 90 mobile canteens throughout Texas.

“We are not a search-and-rescue organization,” said Alexis Thompson, director of development at the Salvation Army of Greater Houston. “But Captain Ward jumped in and knew that he had to do something.”

“Our mission is to meet human needs without discrimination, and he did that in his own way.”

Friday, June 1, marks the official start of the 2018 Hurricane season. The Salvation Army stands ready to serve if needed. Mobile feeding units

The Salvation Army Prepares for 2018 Hurricane Season

Atlanta, GA – Friday, June 1, marks the official start of the 2018 Hurricane season. The Salvation Army stands ready to serve if needed. Mobile feeding units are in place to respond and serve first responders and disaster survivors at a moment’s notice.  Trained disaster workers and volunteers are prepared to provided physical, emotional and spiritual support.

During the devastating 2017 hurricane season, The Salvation Army responded with one of the largest disaster relief operations in its history, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory and Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams from across the United States and Canada deployed to Texas, Florida and Georgia, providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders.

Hurricane Harvey Response

On August 24, 2017, The Salvation Army began deploying resources in response to Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and continued to offer meals, beverages and bulk items such as food boxes and clean-up kits across thirty-five Texas counties effected by the storm and to evacuees across the state and region. At the peak of the disaster response, The Salvation Army served over 900,000 meals from 96 mobile feeding units.

The Salvation Army provided:

  • 929,868 meals to survivors and first responders
  • 997,541 drinks and 977,553 snacks
  • Emotional and spiritual care to 58,318 individuals
  • 58,369 food boxes, 15,828 clean up kits and 108,344 comfort kits
  • 96 mobile feeding units at the peak response
  • Over 2 million hours of employee and volunteer service

Hurricane Harvey Long-Term Recovery Efforts

The Salvation Army continues to support the hardest hit areas of Texas by assisting individuals and families on the long road to recovery.  Through the work of a robust team of caseworkers, The Salvation Army has been able to help more than 16,000 clients and provide over $6 million in direct assistance to date.  Establishing partnerships with local community advocacy groups and churches have extended the reach of The Salvation Army’s ability to give assistance and needed supplies especially to those historically underserved and families in rural communities.

The Salvation Army also continues to distribute products donated by individuals and corporations, receiving in-kind gifts at its disaster warehouse in Arlington, Texas. These goods are sorted and disseminated to eight distribution locations in the affected area to make items available to people in need. Nearly $5 million worth of goods have been distributed to date.

Hurricane Irma Response

Preparations for the response to Hurricane Irma began before the storm made landfall by pre-staging mobile feeding units, other resources and aiding evacuees.  Once the storm had passed, 101 mobile feeding units were deployed during the response phase to provide over 375,000 meals to first responders and survivors throughout south and western Florida, including the Florida Keys and the coastal areas of South Georgia.

In Florida and Georgia, The Salvation Army provided:

  • 384,000 meals to survivors and first responders
  • 544,000 drinks and 342,532 snacks
  • Emotional and spiritual care to 28,382 individuals
  • 26,678 food boxes, 4,682 clean up kits and 24,258 comfort kits were distributed
  • 101 mobile feeding units at the peak response
  • Over 1.4 million hours of employee and volunteer service

Hurricane Irma Long-Term Recovery Efforts

The Salvation Army’s long-term recovery efforts continue in Florida where the charity is operating Disaster Assistance Centers in Naples and Ft. Meyers where disaster survivors can receive help navigating local, state, and federal assistance programs available to rebuild homes.  These centers also provide financial assistance, vouchers and various items such as toiletries, household supplies, water, and food to survivors.  Several long-term recovery initiatives are set to begin, including a multi-state partnership with The Home Depot to purchase building materials to provide building assistance.

The Salvation Army of Georgia is committed to sustaining long-term recovery efforts throughout the state in cooperation with partner agencies. Six disaster case workers have been hired and trained to reach out to those in Georgia impacted by the hurricanes. To date, these disaster case workers have closed 63 Hurricane Irma related cases and are working on another 63 cases. In addition, both the Georgia and Florida Division continue to provide support to evacuees from Hurricane Maria who have relocated from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other areas of the Caribbean.

As the 2018 hurricane season begins, The Salvation Army reminds everyone to be prepared.  A single storm can cause catastrophic damage and even a relatively weak storm can bring tremendous rain and cause life-threatening flooding.  Now is the time for families to develop a family disaster plan, to collect a kit of essential emergency supplies, and if you live in an area likely to be evacuated, to develop an evacuation plan and consider where you will relocate to and how.