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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
by Eliana Park
Among all the fears out there, one sticks out as one of the greatest in this generation: the fear of missing out or FOMO. Is it one of yours?
The fear of missing out on people to meet, places to travel to, events to attend, likes to generate.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the FOMO on the simple things. I’ve been thinking about whether this optimistic approach to soaking in the best of what life has to offer is over-complicating what life has to really offer—the bare, unfiltered, uncurated life.
Cooking meals for loved ones. Sitting quietly in the morning under the forming sky and being content with the clouds hovering above. Taking time to do things well, without haste. Doing things not for the sake of it being the most efficient way to do it—doing things that might require a time or distance commitment for things that are worth it.
And where did all of this stem from? I believe we have many voices fighting for our attention, telling us that we ought to, or that we could, or that we should, or that we owe it to him or her or the world to do whatever big and wonderful thing it is. But, who said that wonderful things are only in the big things?
Let’s go back to the very beginning. What is it that we ought to or could or should do? I think we often forget that it means loving God and loving others well. And doesn’t that look like a million different, wonderful ways? It’s a simple call to our lives that get muddled and stretched into something so un-simple. We un-simplify this simple call to our lives because we focus on the details of what it looks like rather than what it loves like.
Did you know The Salvation Army is a church? To join us for Sunday worship services, weekly Bible studies, and more, click here to find your nearest location.
Unemployed, on probation, and without transportation, Hannah and her new baby came into The Salvation Army’s transitional housing program to avoid being homeless.
Over the course of eight months, The Salvation Army’s case managers helped Hannah find employment, obtain stable childcare, pay probation fees, file for child support, and pay past-due utility bills. Though her criminal record was an obstacle, she was also able to secure permanent housing for her and her daughter.
The next step on Hannah’s road to independence was to enroll in The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative, which helps families break the cycle of generational poverty through extensive, long-term case management. Hannah was able to maintain housing and was eventually promoted to weekend manager at her job.
After a year and a half of making progress, Hannah’s live-in boyfriend began using drugs. The situation escalated to the point he locked her out of the home and changed the locks, leaving her and her young daughter homeless once again. The doors of The Salvation Army were still open for Hannah when she returned.
Back on track with her case managers, Hannah obtained a vehicle and began researching how to return to school. She was accepted into a Business Management and Analysis program at her local technical college. After being approved for a Family Self-Sufficiency grant to help her afford tuition, she began taking classes just two months after returning to The Salvation Army.
With the help of case managers, and Hannah’s hard work and determination, she and her daughter moved out of transitional housing into a permanent home three months later.
Hannah attended classes six hours a day and only worked on the weekends to help maintain excellent grades. One of her classes introduced her to insurance management, and the rest is history. After completing school, she immediately reached out to a local college to continue her education to receive an Associate’s Degree in Risk Management and Insurance Services.
Hannah is still employed at her same job and has received several salary raises. Her flexible work hours help her balance school and taking care of her daughter. She recently renewed her lease for the second year and is well on her way to creating a bright future for her and her daughter.
Thank you for helping young mothers like Hannah find hope again.
When President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the first National Salvation Army Week in 1954, he noted, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of brotherhood.”
65 years later, National Salvation Army Week continues to serve as a reminder to Americans to give freely of themselves and to join us in upholding our five core values:
- PASSIONATE | The Salvation Army’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination. We believe Christ changes lives. This faith gives us a motivation that goes beyond simply doing good. We have a passion for doing the most good for body, soul, and spirit.
- COMPASSIONATE | Caring for the poor. Feeding the hungry. Sheltering the homeless. Clothing the naked. Loving the unlovable. Befriending the friendless.
- UPLIFTING | William Booth (Founder of The Salvation Army) once said, “The Salvation Army is a place of hope. When every other light is extinguished, and every other star has gone down, this one gleam shines steadily and clearly out in the darkened sky: ‘If I could only get to The Salvation Army, they will do something for me.'”
- BRAVE | People who serve in The Salvation Army routinely go into places others prefer to avoid: impoverished neighborhoods, jails and prisons, hospital rooms and nursing homes, gatherings of alcoholics and drug addicts, and the immediate scene of natural disasters.
- TRUSTWORTHY | To those who want to positively affect their world, The Salvation Army is the charity that maximizes their contributions by using 83 cents of every dollar donated to provide direct services to the less fortunate.
Taking place this year May 13-19, the week is just one opportunity for The Salvation Army to thank the volunteers and donors who have made us one of the world’s largest and most-trusted charities.
Without the help of countless donors and more than 3 million volunteers, The Salvation Army couldn’t serve 23 million people in need each year across the United States.
National Salvation Army Week is also a time for new volunteers and donors to join our important mission. Not only for the greater good, but because the upcoming summer months are our most challenging season when giving decreases, but the need for The Salvation Army’s services increases.
Thank you for helping The Salvation Army serve men, women, and children in need in your community.
Much like its sister commands across the territory, the country and the world, the Miami, Florida, Area Command of The Salvation Army strives to serve its community in a variety of ways. That includes the operation of the Red Shield Lodge, with 256 beds housing individuals seeking to transition into financial independence and reintegrate as working citizens of the community.
With an eye toward that ultimate goal, a new Health Resource Center was dedicated on March 29. In concert with a new chapel for the Hialeah Corps and a full renovation to the lodge itself, the new unit includes specialized medical equipment and a partnership with Camillus Health Concern and the Health Foundation of South Florida.
“We started with this dream,” said Captain Enrique Azuaje, area commander. “How we can enlarge our social service program so that our residents and clients can feel recognized and feel that we are able to continue supporting them in different ways.
Seeing people in an entire perspective, in the soul, in the mind, and also in the physical, in the body. And sometimes people need that kind of support, specifically health support.”
Presently, the Health Resource Center is a part-time unit, with plans to move into a different part of the shelter itself when renovations are fully completed. That move stems from a desire to provide optimal privacy and accommodations to those needing medical services, given the presence of the “Here’s Hope” wing dedicated to serving residents with significant health challenges. Prior to the integration of the HRC, it was often a challenge for medical personnel to arrive in timely fashion to assist these individuals, and the on-site presence of top-shelf equipment and those equipped to operate it will make a tremendous impact.
“This facility has been remodeled, remade, refurbished, refinished, renewed, restored, redeemed for the purposes of doing the same thing in the lives of our guests, of our residents, I love that word. Because that’s what they are,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Luyk, divisional commander.
The lodge renovation also includes remodeled common areas and updated client rooms and social services areas. Plans are in the works for continued expansion, including a playground for youth, but the upgrades already in place are significant and, through it all, the focus remains on the greater goal of providing hope.
“These welcoming surroundings will continue to be a refuge and a place where healing and hope are shepherded,” said Lt. Colonel Luyk. “We dedicate this center to the work of the King, where healing will take place, where hope will be offered, where encouragement will be shared, where compassion will be expressed, and where lives will be transformed through the power of the gospel in his honor and his glory, Amen.”
When Hurricane Matthew made landfall in 2016, The Salvation Army of Daytona Beach, Florida, sustained damage to its Center of Hope, specifically in the form of roof issues and broken windows. With that said, the structure managed to escape without catastrophic impairment. The arrival of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, however, did cause significant problems.
Though Daytona Beach was not struck directly by the storm in a way that neighboring areas were affected, storm surge flooded the Center of Hope’s first floor after a full evacuation had taken place in the area. As a result, The Salvation Army was unable to return to the building, and programming – including social services, dormitories and a computer lab – was displaced.
After more than a year of obstacles and a gradual period of re-acclimation, however, the Center of Hope reopened in January 2019 and a rededication of sorts took place in late March. The newly-minted building includes space for a renovated social services office, veterans programming, Pathway of Hope, residential services, job training and a food pantry.
“With the resources that we had, we kind of gave the building a facelift,” said Major Caleb Prieto, corps officer. “The comments we received at the open house were very encouraging. I think it looks amazing and that was backed up by the feedback. Not only were we able to restore what we had previously, but I think we’re in the best place we’ve been.”
The arrival of Irma and the damage sustained forced The Salvation Army’s social services efforts into a time of transition and flexibility. A partnership was struck with a local hotel to house residents displaced by the building closure and, while service delivery had to operate at less than full capacity, both the corps building and additional space at the hotel were turned into offices equipped with the tools to perform case management and other essential activities.
The period of displacement wasn’t navigated without hiccups, including a partnership in concert with the Department of Corrections that was placed on hold due to the structural challenges. Still, the community rallied around the work of The Salvation Army during a trying time, and the future is bright as a result.
Sharonda Mobley came to The Salvation Army after leaving an abusive relationship; she and her two young children were living in a domestic violence shelter. Thanks to The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative, Mobley and her family are now self-supporting, and she’s well on her way to becoming an independent businesswoman.
“They showed me someone’s always there,” Mobley said, “people are so loving and want nothing but the best for you. And out of all that, you should want the best for yourself. I came out of a bad situation, and the [The Salvation Army] Pathway of Hope gave me encouragement to move on from that – to start my own business and get my life back on track.”
Pathway of Hope is a national initiative of The Salvation Army to help families break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through strength-based case management, community collaboration, and data-driven support.
“Of the families that successfully complete the program, we’re seeing average income growth for each of them of over $2,000 annually . . . plus a $4,000 increase in non-cash benefits, such as SNAP food assistance,” says Ronald Skeete, Pathway of Hope Director. For clients that leave before completing the initiative, “as long as they stay with us for three months, we see an 86 percent increase in stability.”
Part of the holistic approach of this initiative is pastoral care. The Salvation Army has a goal for at least one-third of the Pathway of Hope families be engaged with the voluntary pastoral care services that are provided. Currently at 22% participation, Salvation Army mission specialists collaborate with local case manages to increase spiritual engagement.
Pathway of Hope has a threefold purpose: Stabilize families, help them set goals and develop new life habits. Which brings us back to Sharonda Mobley.
“It has been amazing working with her,” said case manager Elizabeth Rogg. “She’s been very self-driven from the get-go. When she first came here (in the spring of 2018) and we did her goal-setting, she saw the immediate needs she needed to take care of – getting into housing, and getting her car fixed – but she looked beyond that and really stuck to her dreams.”
Once the family was settled in an apartment and their car was running again, Rogg said, “it was a matter of starting over for her – she had never been on her own before – so, learning how to navigate this thing called life.”
Mobley was working as a hotel housekeeper with a goal of something greater – starting her own cleaning company. She secured a business name, got a registered tax ID and grew her company’s client base to the point she could leave her hotel job and be her own boss. As summer passed and business slowed, Mobley took a seasonal position as a store clerk at The Salvation Army Family Store.
In spring, business picked up, and Mobley was back to cleaning full-time. She is taking care of the houses of five customers and is looking into expanding her services, possibly by buying a power washer and carpet-cleaning machine.
Her children Jasmine, 9, and Andrew, 3, are settled in their new home; Jasmine went to The Salvation Army’s summer camp last summer and this winter won a “Terrific Kid” school award from the local Kiwanis Club. And Mobley is engaged. She and her fiancé attend their local Baptist church.
Mobley has adopted as her motto a Carl Jung quote Rogg shared with her: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
Without the people behind The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope, Mobley said, “I wouldn’t be in the state of mind I’m in right now – very calm, trying to get back on board with my kids’ lives. I just thank God for them being there and being supportive.”
This is what success in the Pathway of Hope looks like.
Original article here.
Since 1975, The Salvation Army has provided various programs in the state of Florida to assist people who have found themselves involved in the criminal justice system. In partnership with governmental agencies, The Salvation Army provides cost-effective alternatives to public-operated community corrections services.
Offenders have additional hurdles to overcome in attempting to become contributing members of the community that others do not, such as obtaining employment and housing. Because of The Salvation Army’s long history of working with offenders, staff members are aware of these hurdles and are experienced in resolving the myriad of issues that are unique to offenders.
Through contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Florida Department of Corrections, The Salvation Army Correctional Services offers residential programs for drug treatment and transitional services, assisting participants in becoming law-abiding members of the community.
President Trump’s declaration of April 2019 as Second Chance Month reflects The Salvation Army Correctional Services mission to improve the quality of life for offenders, their families, and the community.
Here is an excerpt from the declaration:
Americans have always believed in the power of redemption ‑‑ that those who have fallen can work toward brighter days ahead. Almost all of the more than two million people in America’s prisons will one day return to their communities. In each case, they will have served their sentence and earned the chance to take their places back in society. During Second Chance Month, we draw attention to the challenges that former inmates face and the steps we can take to ensure they have the opportunity to become contributing members of society.
For more information on The Salvation Army’s Correctional Services in Florida, please click here.