Spanish Flu

In 1918, The Salvation Army was at the height of its international popularity. Its war work during the Great War (WWI) was exemplary and recognized by governments across the globe. United States National Commander Evangeline Booth received the Distinguished Service medal from General John J. Pershing for all of the work that The Salvation Army did in France. The combat was soon to shift to an unseen enemy. The Great War had prepared The Salvation Army for a new challenge.

The Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it is considered one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.

In New York, Lillian Wald, a pioneer nurse, called for help and The Salvation Army answered. Wald mobilized a multitude of nurses, organizations, church groups, municipal bureaucracies, civic entities, and social agencies into a Nurses’ Emergency Council. The group assembled volunteer nurses and enlisted women who could support them by answering phones, accompanying nurses and doctors on home visits, and arranging for and driving automobiles to carry linens, pneumonia jackets, and quarts of soup.

Homeless shelters became makeshift hospitals and new cleanliness protocols were enforced. The Salvation Army had always believed that “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” but a new emphasis was placed on disinfecting the crowded city shelters.

The Salvation Army also began food distribution to the poorest of families in the major centers of operation, like New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. The “war work” continued as thousands of AEF soldiers began returning home from France. Many were crowded into temporary camps and the flu swept through the ranks. Salvation Army personnel wrote letters home, served coffee and doughnuts, helped nurse sick men, cleaned hospitals, and provided encouragement to the soldiers. Naturally, Salvationists (Salvation Army church members) offered to pray and read the Bible to those in the hospital.

Like most flu strains, the Spanish flu quickly mutated, and illness levels dropped dramatically in 1919 and 1920. The “roaring twenties” had begun and people soon forgot about the flu epidemic. It wasn’t until the 1990s when new flu strains began to affect the world population that interest in the Spanish flu was revived.

Through it all, The Salvation Army served and continues to serve suffering humanity throughout the world.

The post The 1918-1920 Spanish Flu appeared first on War Cry.

As a truck driver for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in his community, Richard Alvarez typically spends his days collecting donations of furniture, clothes, and household items from the homes and businesses of generous donors. But for the last several weeks, Alvarez has been delivering much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) in his Salvation Army truck to hospitals and essential workers.

“I was proud to be asked to deliver PPE for of The Salvation Army,” said Alvarez. “It’s good to know what I’m doing is helping staff in hospitals and other locations who look after people and save lives.”

The Salvation Army is partnering with emergency management to provide transportation of essential PPE in cities throughout the state. Deliveries are made to strategic locations including hospitals and other essential services directly affected by the increased demands caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alvarez has a deep appreciation for places taking care of people in their time of need. He is a graduate of The Salvation Army’s 180-day rehabilitation program and vividly recalls walking through the doors of the Adult Rehabilitation Center on Feb. 5, 2017. “I came in broken and in desperate need of help,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about The Salvation Army other than they rang bells at Christmastime and I saw them on Thanksgiving Day with the Dallas Cowboys. But walking in here on that first day, I knew it was the right place for me.”

The day after completing the rehabilitation program, Alvarez was hired as a full-time truck driver responsible for collecting donated items and stocking his local Salvation Army Family Stores. “My mom shopped at the stores when I was growing up,” he said. “It’s now come full circle. Instead of shopping in the stores, I’m now the one stocking them.”

Social distancing protocols and shelter-in-place orders resulted in the temporary closure of The Salvation Army Family Stores, putting significant financial strain on operations. As a result, most of the workforce was laid off. Alvarez is one of the few remaining drivers, working fewer hours and at a reduced rate.

“I might be making less money right now, but I can put gas in my car, pay my rent, and look after my kids. God will take care of me,” said Alvarez. “I really believe in the ministry of The Salvation Army and am thankful for all they have done for me. The PPE delivery is a great way for me to give back during this crisis. Each day I put my armor on and do my part.”

Salvation Army ARC Graduate Celebrates Sobriety by Providing Emergency Services

By: Philip Burn

The Salvation Army began helping disaster survivors after a major hurricane hit Galveston, TX in September 1900, destroying the coastal city and killing thousands of people. At the request of The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Frederick Booth-Tucker, officers (the clergy of The Salvation Army) from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed emotional and spiritual support.

Since then, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service (EDS) has responded to numerous natural disasters, transportation accidents, civil unrest situations and terrorist attacks. By providing beverages, meals, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors, The Salvation Army strives to bring hope and healing to people who find themselves amid extremely difficult situations.

When a disaster occurs, The Salvation Army is ready to assist. While each disaster is unique, The Salvation Army disaster team is ready to respond. Miami Area Command EDS is located at 7450 W. 4th Avenue Hialeah, Fl 33014. Since its opening it has provided services to survivors and first responders of the FIU Bridge collapse, Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma.

 

“What is the use of preaching the gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?” General William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army, posed this question in the late 1800s; over 100 years later the question is as relevant today as it was when he presented this challenge to the world.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 3 storm, hit Collier County, Florida, on Sept. 10, 2017. Trees toppled onto roofs; other roofs were ripped from homes; exterior shells were shredded, and flooding destroyed floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, appliances, and furniture. Many residents lost everything.

More than two years later, they are still struggling to rebuild. Families and seniors who were already hard-pressed to put food on the table were exposed to the worst of the devastation. Though previous storm patterns could never have predicted the people least able to recover would be the worst hit, this was the reality for people in southwest Florida, especially in the cities of Immokalee, Copeland, Everglades City, Chokoloskee, and Goodland.

Livelihoods there are primarily based on agriculture and fishing. Men and women at the mercy of Mother Nature to make a living endure in a perpetual state of poverty or near poverty. Resiliency is not in their vocabulary, though persistence, determination, hard work, and survival are the esprit de corps of their very nature.

In keeping with General Booth’s vision for practical living assistance as a real example of Christ’s love, The Salvation Army has a longstanding and powerful policy of disaster assistance to those in need. To that end, Ashley Jones was appointed to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) in 2016 after more than 15 years of responding to natural disasters as a Salvation Army volunteer and staff member.

Jones’s commitment to helping Collier County recover from Hurricane Irma led to partnerships with other humanitarian organizations.

One of these was Team Rubicon, a group dedicated to helping the survivors of natural disasters. Its membership is unique: 70 percent are military veterans, and 20 percent are first responders. It had been sponsored as a VOAD member by Lt. Colonel Ron Busroe, former National Community Relations and Development Secretary of The Salvation Army. Led by former service personnel whose commitment to serve is deep in their DNA, Team Rubicon celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2020.

Because of Jones’ reputation for excellence, knowledge and practical experience, David Venables, Team Rubicon’s Deputy Director of Rebuild Operations, knew that by partnering and building on the strengths of the two organizations, they could repair and rebuild homes throughout Collier County.

Team Rubicon has more than 100,000 volunteers. They’re run through a training program that covers “muck and gut” cleaning up, roof tarping, tree sawing, heavy equipment operations and damage assessment, among other topics. Before any can deploy – whether to small-scale flooding or a massive fire response – they must pass background checks and complete two FEMA classes in the National Incident Management System.

Upon completion of “basic training,” volunteers earn their badge of honor on their first deployment – a gray T-shirt with the Team Rubicon logo and a “space bar” for their names or call signs.

It isn’t the shirt, but the sweat, dirt and sometimes blood that soaks the shirt, that show these heroes offer hope through the physically demanding work of responding to natural disasters.

There’s a deep desire to provide purpose and comradeship post-service within the organization. Given the reality of 22 veterans a day taking their own lives – veteran suicides have a higher annual death toll than active-service combat casualties – the Clay Hunt Fellowship Cohort Program was born. In the spring of 2018, the eighth round of class members was selected from hundreds of applicants. The eight members of “Cohort 8” would have a profound and lasting impact on Collier County, particularly the town of Immokalee.

Team Rubicon committed to a one-year partnership with The Salvation Army. The morning of Sept. 17, 2018, found the Cohort 8 team at the Disaster Assistance Center Naples of The Salvation Army.

Repair and rebuild training began immediately as disaster case managers of The Salvation Army provided the requests for help from local families and seniors. Some sought repairs; some, funds for roof replacements; and some, total demolitions and rebuilds of their homes.

In the end, 124 residents benefited. Families and seniors who had no hope and no options, who had no insurance, inadequate FEMA assistance and certainly no savings accounts from which to rebuild their lives, received not only safe and comfortable homes but security, safety, peace of mind and a renewed spirit of hope. The Cohort 8 team led 185 “Gray Shirt” volunteers repairing 40 residences and funding repairs on an additional 33 dwellings, thereby turning hurricane victims into survivors.

A new component to Team Rubicon’s long list of services was developed at the Florida rebuild. Working with Paradise Coast Builders, a local partner with The Salvation Army repair program, total rebuilds were initiated. In collaboration with owner Gene Silguero, the Cohort 8 team built two homes from the ground up. Where complete devastation had shattered the lives of two families, the renewed hope, resiliency of spirit and simple, safe living conditions now stood strong.

The spirit of service and championing of recovery for families following a disaster is the heart of both The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon. These two committed organizations have partnered successfully, bringing together all aspects of humanitarian aid in disaster response and recovery. Their heart to turn Hurricane Irma victims into thriving survivors has changed the lives of families and seniors and replaced trauma with hope for the communities of Collier County.

Lisa Loren is a long-term recovery coordinator with the Naples, Florida, Corps. Original story appears in The Southern Spirit

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services in Florida, please click here

By: Brad Rowland

With Hurricanes Hermine, Irma and Michael making landfall in the area within the last half-decade, The Salvation Army of Tallahassee, Florida, is all too familiar with on-the-ground disaster work. With that as the backdrop, The Salvation Army saw an opportunity to both maintain its readiness for emergency disaster services (EDS) and serve the population of Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties on a regular basis.

The result is the “Feed the Need” program, deploying each week to serve hot meals in the community and address an emerging local issue of food insecurity. Simultaneously, these deployments allow The Salvation Army to stay sharp, expanding a volunteer base and maintaining crucial equipment for a time when an immediate need arises.

“Our goals for ‘Feed The Need’ are two-fold,” said Julie Smith, Social Services Program Coordinator in Tallahassee. “First, we can meet the needs of people in our community that are in need of a hot meal. The other side is that the program is operated by our EDS volunteers. There is a lot that goes into it and there is a lot that people can learn by doing, rather than only going through the typical training, even if that part is also necessary.”

In addition to vital disaster response training that must take place with any volunteer, the “Feed the Need” program allows for a hands-on experience that also opens the door for regular engagement with The Salvation Army. Four teams of four individuals operate on a rotating basis, going into the community on Thursdays to serve after important preparation takes place. There are four distinct positions held by team members, ranging from crew chief to food service specialist, and deployment locations are predetermined, in conjunction with social services, to meet the greatest local need.

“This is a great way for us to meet a need in the community but also to simply be prepared for the future,” said Lieutenant Ryan Meo, Salvation Army Administrator. “We’re praised often for our response times in The Salvation Army and how quickly we’re able to respond on the ground after an incident. With that said, people don’t always realize the work that went in before it and all of the training and team building it takes to do it well.”

The program launched in 2018 on a four-month basis, experiencing real success both in volunteer recruitment and critical service to the community. After a brief hiatus, “Feed the Need” launched in August 2019 with an expanded, four-team format, and plans include a year-round utilization.

Early returns have been exceedingly positive for volunteer engagement and the overall impact of the program and, with the dual purpose of aiding those with immediate needs, success is being achieved.

“These people are now ready to go when an incident occurs and, in the process, we’re serving our community,” says Smith. “This has motivated individuals in a fantastic way and people are getting involved.”

“I think our disaster services program is uniquely able to engage stakeholders in the community as volunteers that other programs and services don’t always seem to reach,” Lieutenant Meo said. “Our disaster volunteers are sometimes people that we aren’t able to engage with in other ways and, when we’re able to allow people to be a part of The Salvation Army through a program like this, people serve with a sense of agency.”

To learn more about The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services, please click here

Pathway of hope family

The Quintana-Arroyo family (husband, wife, and three sons) met The Salvation Army through Emergency Disaster Services after being displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, forcing them to relocate to Florida.

The family stayed in The Salvation Army’s Emergency Shelter and learned about the Pathway of Hope Initiative.

Over time, the wife found employment, followed by her husband, who began working at a Salvation Army board member’s construction company.

Through affiliation with a local community partner, the family was gifted a vehicle.

With one son recently graduating high school and another in college, the family has been able to save more than $7,000 and are now in the final stages of purchasing a home.

The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Initiative has helped the family to become financially stable, increase their credit score, and position themselves to become homeowners.

The Salvation Army provided the necessary tools and services to help this family re-establish their life while working cohesively with community partners toward meeting their goals.

Through the support of donors, The Salvation Army is able to help families like this every day. Your gift today will help The Salvation Army serve families in need in your community.

Emergency Disaster Services

The Salvation Army began offering assistance to disaster survivors after a major hurricane hit Galveston, Texas in September 1900, destroying the coastal city and killing thousands of people. At the request of The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Commissioner Frederick Booth-Tucker, officers from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help feed and shelter thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed emotional and spiritual support.

Since then, The Salvation Army has responded to natural disasters, transportation accidents, civil unrest situations, and terrorist attacks. By providing beverages, meals and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors, The Salvation Army strives to bring hope and healing to people who find themselves in the midst of extremely difficult situations.

While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and special needs, Salvation Army disaster relief efforts focus on seven core services. These services may be modified based on the magnitude of the disaster and adapted to meet the specific needs of individual survivors.

Training

The first step in being ready to respond to an emergency is training. In partnership with other agencies, The Salvation Army’s disaster training program offers a variety of courses designed to help individuals and communities prepare for emergency events and become trained disaster volunteers.

Food Service

When disaster strikes, one of the first signs that help is on the way is often the arrival of a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit, offering meals, snacks and drinks to rescue workers and survivors.

Emotional and Spiritual Care

Motivated by Christian faith, The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors.

Emergency Communications

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) includes a worldwide network of volunteer amateur radio operators and other communications specialists, who may be mobilized to transmit emergency information during a disaster event.

Disaster Social Services

After a family has lost everything in a disaster, The Salvation Army is there to provide emergency assistance to help meet survivors’ most urgent needs for food, clothing, shelter and medical services.

Donations Management

The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in responsibly collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. The Salvation Army encourages cash donations as the best and most flexible way to help and solicits only those in-kind donations that can be effectively received and efficiently distributed.

Recovery

The Salvation Army supports long-term disaster recovery operations with flexible programming that is adaptable to the unique needs of individual communities.

Find out more, including how to volunteer with The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, by visiting SalArmyEDS.org.

Original Article

Heidi & Jeremy
disaster relief

Heidi and Jeremy Wardell in front of the scorched trees on their property in Black Forest, Colorado.

In the summer of 2013, the Black Forest fire burned 14,280 acres and destroyed more than 500 homes on its way to becoming the most destructive fire in Colorado state history.

On June 11, Heidi and Jeremy Wardell evacuated their “dream home” in Black Forest, taking the valuables they could gather in the 40 minutes fire officials gave them to get out.

While staying at a hotel nearby, they checked the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department website for the list of homes declared a total loss. For two days, their home wasn’t on the list. It was safe and they were thankful.

While watching a news conference about the fire on June 13, Jeremy refreshed his browser and there it was; their home was on the list.

He was devastated but Heidi was in denial about what it all meant. She tried to make the best of it, thinking instead about what she wanted in a new house. Maybe she could finally get the crown moldings she’d been wanting.

The couple met with representatives from their insurance company who confirmed that records showed the home was a total loss. They began to prepare for what seemed inevitable.

Ten days after it began, firefighters finally got control of the blaze. And about three weeks after that, people started returning to their neighborhoods to see what was left of their homes and belongings. Heidi and Jeremy were in the last phase of people permitted to go back in.

When they arrived, their house was still there: it was the only one in the whole neighborhood. Everything around them was scorched, right up to their driveway.

heidi and jeremy

The ground and trees were scorched up to the driveway in front of the Wardell’s home.

“The neighbors’ trees even looked like charred pencils but most of ours were still there,” said Heidi.

For Heidi, seeing their house and trees standing was like the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in chapter three of the book of Daniel. As the story goes, three men were thrown into a furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to renounce their faith and bow down to the king.

But the king saw the three men walking around in the fire, untouched by the flames. He also saw a fourth; God himself — the one who spared them.

disaster relief

Later Heidi and Jeremy learned that firefighters had dug a trench around their home and tossed their propane tanks up the hill and away from the house to keep them from exploding and setting their property ablaze. The National Guard had even patrolled the neighborhood to keep looters from helping themselves to what remained.

“It was a miracle,” says Heidi. “I don’t know why God spared our home but we’re so grateful. This experience has made everything seem so much more precious and showed us that life can also be unstable. We can look back and remember that when everything seemed out of control God was — and still is — taking care of us no matter what we encounter in the future.”

When they returned to their neighborhood, The Salvation Army had set up nearby to offer their assistance, which included helping residents sift through the ashes on their property to find any possessions that might be left.

That day, The Salvation Army volunteers put their arms around Heidi and Jeremy, gave them hugs, and welcomed them home. They also gave them a clean up kit so they could get to work clearing the layer of ash that covered everything in their home.

“It was simple but the emotional and practical support meant so much,” says Heidi. “It was such a pivotal moment in our lives and we’ll never forget it.”

The whole experience changed the Wardells. One of the things from those days that reminds them of God’s grace is the damage assessment form they found tacked to their front door when they got home.

disaster relief

The form had four options:
— No obvious damage
— Cosmetic damage
— Limited structural damage
— Substantial structural damage DO NOT ENTER

The box next to ‘no obvious damage’ is checked. The form is now framed and positioned in the living room as a lasting reminder, complete with Heidi’s notes: “evacuated: June 11, 2013, total loss list: June 13, 2013, saved by God”

Heidi says they had no idea that The Salvation Army would be there to care for them when they returned but they’re so glad we were.

As always, it’s our calling — and pleasure — to stand with people when times are tough.

Find out more about The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services.

Tampa, FL (November 13, 2018) – Four weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle, The Salvation Army continues its service to communities impacted by the storm. There is a new normal in many communities. Families are coming home to places they can no longer live. The pre-existing financial struggles of households are compounded by the hurricane. The need for safe, sanitary, affordable housing is greater than ever as many families lost their homes and have to rebuild. Salvation Army officers and staff are at work with community partners to help ease the burdens of the people who are in the most need.

Power is restored in most areas where the infrastructure allows, which means grocery stores are opening and households can now cook and keep food cold. Salvation Army mass feeding has concluded in the Apalachicola and Tallahassee service areas, but local Salvation Army is still at work, helping as it was before Hurricane Michael.

The Panama City service area of Bay County was the hardest hit. Service there continues and today, 23 mobile feeding units and emotional and spiritual care teams are at work in the area , assessing the needs of the communities as they provide hope and prayer. In some instances the hope they give is through a laugh or a bottle of water; other times the care is a prayer, a Bible, and a shoulder to lean on as folks come back to their destroyed communities and homes.

“We are not just a bottle of cold water or a warm meal. We provide spiritual support and prayer for people whose lives are changed by disaster,” said Steven Hartsook, emergency disaster services director of The Salvation Army of Florida. “We are here to serve in the name of Jesus Christ and will be here as long as we are needed.”

At the peak of service, 45 mobile feeding units and teams from the Southern Territory and leadership teams from across the nation and Canada were serving the areas devastated by the hurricane. To date, The Salvation Army has served:

  • Meals: 657,655
  • Drinks: 323,451
  • Snacks: 458,585
  • Hygiene Kits: 16,053
  • Food Boxes: 12,007
  • Tarps: 9,667
  • Clean-up Kits: 3,774
  • 42,473 emotional and spiritual care contacts with hurricane survivors
  • Salvation Army officers, employees, and volunteers have provided 63,811 hours of disaster service.

Disaster strikes rural towns and big cities, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, and in-between. The Salvation Army is on the ground, serving in the name of Jesus Christ without discrimination.

In the weeks, months, and years ahead we will still be there serving those who need us the most. We can do this because you support us.

How You Can Help

  • 100-percent of designated gifts will be used in support of those affected by Hurricane Michael.
  • Response efforts to this hurricane and flooding are expected to be costly and last for years. The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.
  • Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Donate by mail: The Salvation Army, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA (Please designate ‘2018 Hurricanes – Michael’ on all checks.)
  • Donate online: www.HelpSalvationArmy.org
  • Donate by text: Text STORM to 51555 to receive a donation link for easy mobile giving

Tallahassee, FL – (October 24, 2018) “I get to see what I used to look like, what I can be like, and what I want to be like, all in the same place,” said ARC graduate and canteen crew member, Clint Bross. After earning a second chance at life through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), Clint is now serving on the frontlines of The Salvation Army’s disaster relief operation in Tallahassee, FL.

After serving his country in the U.S. Airforce, Clint struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for several years. By 2011, Clint entered The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Fort Lauderdale, where he not only started living a life of sobriety, but also revived his relationship with God. “I did [other sobriety fellowship programs] but you can only hear so many horror stories. I don’t want to hear horror stories. I wanted to hear positive stories and that’s what the Bible is all about. I started reading it every day at the ARC,” said Clint.

Upon completing the program, Clint became a truck driver for The Salvation Army of Fort Lauderdale, where he gets to transport the very donations that supports the rehabilitation program he graduated from.

Clint has previously served on The Salvation Army’s disaster relief teams for Fort Myers, FL and Puerto Rico. On his second day of providing emergency services for families affected by Hurricane Michael, Clint simultaneously celebrated his seven-year sobriety anniversary.

“I celebrated seven years of sobriety by giving back and that’s awesome. I went from drinking and smoking to standing here, handing out plates…smiling, and giving hope to other people,” said Clint.

In Tallahassee, Clint is currently serving alongside his crew member T.J. Recchione, who also graduated from The Salvation Army’s ARC program in Fort Lauderdale, just two days ago. “It feels great to be able to help people. It feels great to see the gratitude from these people that have that lost so much,” said T.J.

From adult rehabilitation programs to disaster relief services, The Salvation Army is committed to meeting the greatest need.

To help support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army, donations can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by texting STORM to 51555, or by check (designated “2018 Hurricane Season – Michael”) mailed to PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301.