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

Edwyn Hector has worked for The Salvation Army for six years.

By Abagail Courtney –

In the U.S. Marine Corps, semper fidelis, or “always faithful,” signifies the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for each other and their country, even after leaving service. For Edwyn Hector, that couldn’t be more fitting.

Though he’s now retired from his six-year command as a Reconnaissance man, Hector’s still faithfully serving his fellow comrades. Only now, he’s doing it through his work at The Salvation Army’s shelter.

Shortly after leaving the Marine Corps, Hector found himself a spectator in a civilian world. What he saw were veterans, not unlike himself, wrestling with psychosis, addiction, homelessness and the unresolved traumas that stemmed from military life. Between his military experience and background in psychology, he knew he could make a lasting impact for these men and women but wasn’t sure where to start.

One evening, not long after, he saw a commercial promoting The Salvation Army’s local shelter. It mentioned the facility’s work to help those facing addiction and homelessness. Hector showed up the next day to the shelter with a heart to help and a resume in hand.

Fast-forward six years, Hector is now one of two facilitators in charge of education and training at the shelter and has helped more than 3,000 individuals work through recovery and gain control of their addictions. Much of that work focuses on training thoughts and mindsets through positive reframing and the ability to recognize, accept and manage feelings.

Conquering addiction—a disease that the Surgeon General says will affect one in seven Americans—can be accomplished by consistently practicing these four things, according to Hector: Recognizing your feelings, identifying what they are, processing them and getting back to glad.

“Your actions come from your feelings. We allow a lot of people and places and things to dictate our feelings; this means we allow people, places and things to dictate our lives,” he said.

With that in mind, Hector focuses on the six emotions with which all people are born: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. Once understood, the goal pivots toward recognizing, identifying, processing and taking responsibility for those emotions in order to avoid a relapse when life gets difficult.

Hector often poses questions during group sessions to help get the proverbial wheels turning: How can somebody make you a certain way? Do your feelings not come from your own mind? Who operates your mind? So where do your feelings come from?

“When they say ‘from me,’ I say ‘there you go—now you aren’t putting it on people, places, things,” he said. “Now you are putting it on your own self and now, what we need to do is practice on changing our perception.’ We can work with that.”

While such exercises have proven immensely helpful to many clients, Hector says the most valuable thing anyone in the program can extract from group sessions is knowing their worth.

“There is not another person on the planet that will ever exist like you again,” he said. “Everything you have on that body of yours is unique, and guess what? Our creator gave that to you to work with—just you—no one else. That’s how priceless you are—that is your worth.”

Many of the men Hector’s worked with at the shelter credit him with helping to kickstart that process. One of them was Dillion Toscano, who landed at the shelter several years ago after racking up a “resume” of 25 years of drug addiction, seven misdemeanors, four felonies.

“I had to learn the difference between sobriety and recovery and understand the emotions behind why I was using all of those years,” Toscano said. “There was one man who was responsible for me understanding that and ultimately being successful in recovery, and that was Edwyn Hector.”

After seeing so many of his friends come back from war without limbs or sight or hearing and still being eternally grateful for every breath given to them, Hector said he’s learned that loving yourself is where healing, peace, and change begin.

“You don’t get a second go around at this thing, so it’s time to be kind to you,” he said. “It’s time to love who you are to the fullest.”

Original Post

Many of the organization’s food banks anticipate an increase in need if the standoff continues.

Nearly four weeks into what’s become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, many across the country are beginning to feel the financial impact of the impasse.

Many of the more than 800,000 federal workers and roughly 4 million more government contractors affected have now missed their first paycheck. For some of them, this may mean they need to reign in their spending on non-essentials, or simply tighten their monthly budget. But for others living paycheck to paycheck, missing just one could mean they can’t pay their mortgage, or afford groceries, medicine, or child care.

The Salvation Army is one of several groups stepping up to offer some relief to furloughed government employees, those working without pay, or anyone else affected, as they navigate the unexpected stress and financial hardship triggered by the partial shutdown.

Lt. Liz Blusiewicz, corps officer in Huntington,..