UPDATE 9/17: Emergency Disaster Services Responds to Hurricane Laura

Lake Charles, LA (September 17, 2020)— Don’t give up. It’s a sentiment echoed throughout Lake Charles in these days and weeks after Hurricane Laura ravaged the area and turned lives upside down. Karen Collins, a resident of Lake Charles’ impoverished Goosport neighborhood, says it’s the message she hopes to convey to all of her neighbors. “My advice to everybody is not to give up. There’s a reason why we’re going through this, and I think people need to recognize that and just keep the strength,” Karen said. “It’s a test in everybody’s life, I think, to be strong and show God we’ve got to be strong and to believe Him,” she continued.

Karen has been coming to The Salvation Army canteen at Peggy’s Superette for meals and says that she appreciates the Army being present time and again after disaster strikes. “Salvation Army has come through any time since I’ve been here in over 20 years. I would say from Rita to this storm, The Salvation Army always came through in this area and I appreciate it,” said Karen. “I believe it’s important that they come because it’s showing the community that there is a source out there that cares,” she added.

Alric Lane is a native of Lake Charles and a Salvation Army canteen worker who has been serving regularly at Peggy’s Superette. “Being out there, letting them know that hey, no matter what, there’s a hot meal right here for you and there’s a little conversation that I’m more than happy to share with you. And a little prayer if you need it,” said Alric. “A lot of them are just sleeping in their houses, hot—they can’t afford a generator. So, I try to make it fun. Let’s laugh, let’s get some good food to eat, and let’s go on with our day,” he continued.

There was a time when Alric was, in his words, “in the dark side of the world.” But he turned his life around with help from The Salvation Army and has been able to maintain a sober and productive life. In this disaster relief service, he has been serving some of the people he knew in his previous life and sees it as an opportunity to spread the message of hope. “For people to see that this is living proof that there is hope and that God is not done with you yet,” said Alric.

Karen and Alric agree that the main focus to keep going throughout this difficult time is to have hope in God and never give up. “I just want to tell everybody, just don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,” Karen said. “God doesn’t give up on us,” she added.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army is by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/LakeCharlesCorps, www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

                                                           

Lake Charles, Lousiana (September 10, 2020)—Today marks two full weeks since Hurricane Laura made landfall as a category 4 hurricane that nearly devastated Lake Charles, Louisiana. With the majority of the area still without electricity and a city-wide boil water advisory in place, the extreme heat and dehydration are a major concern. Add to that the fact that people can’t cook for themselves in homes that lack power and drinkable water, and most homes in the area are in some state of ruin, with or without electricity. Ensuring that everyone is well fed, hydrated, and cared for is The Salvation Army’s primary mission here.

The Salvation Army has 24 mobile feeding units (canteens) serving two meals a day to the Lake Charles area every day. Every morning, the canteen location list is posted to the Lake Charles Salvation Army Facebook page and shared with partner agencies and local news stations, so people know where they can go to receive a free hot meal. In addition to these static locations, there are also canteens roving through neighborhoods to serve people where they are. Assessing the latest information to determine which areas need the most service is a daily task that is taken very seriously.

“With power coming back on to different areas, we’ve had to shift the places where we’re feeding. But power is still out in much of the city, so we’ve shifted dynamics on where we are serving to keep meeting the most need and doing the most good,” said Lt. Bryan Farrington, Operations Chief for The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Laura relief efforts in Lake Charles. “The need is still extremely great here. We’ll keep adjusting and filling needs, making sure the people have plenty of food and proper hydration to keep going,” Farrington added.

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army is by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/LakeCharlesCorps, www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.

                                                                 

Lake Charles, LA (September 7, 2020) – In the course of their daily rounds, The Salvation Army’s canteen crews make a difference in the lives of the people they serve throughout the severely damaged neighborhoods of Lake Charles in the wake of Hurricane Laura. They provide more than simply the much-needed hot meals and cold drinks they serve. They also provide hope and consistent help as they make their rounds day after day.

Barbara and Joseph Prater are two of those who have been impacted by the ever-present help of The Salvation Army in Lake Charles. They have been living in a makeshift room which Joseph boxed in at the back of their house, “so we wouldn’t be outside,” said Barbara, a breast cancer survivor who needs to keep cool for her health. They secured a generator and use it to run an air conditioner to cool the room, which they are currently sharing with the rest of their family whose homes are also damaged. “We’re sleeping on the floor on mattresses, but we’re so grateful for it because some people don’t have walls at their house,” said Barbara.

Sometimes they all sit in the shade of their carport to break up the isolation and monotony of the only cool room in the house. “We were just sitting here praying and asking God to send us some angels, and that’s exactly what He did. And here they are, back again today, to bless us,” said Barbara. “That’s what angels do. That’s what The Salvation Army is, it’s a conglomerate of angels,” she added.

The Salvation Army brought hot meals, cold drinks, and snacks that day. The next day, they also brought the clean-up kits that the Praters had requested the day before. “All I’ve ever known The Salvation Army to do is help people. It’s what they do, and I’m so grateful,” said Barbara.

To date, The Salvation Army has provided the following in Lake Charles in response to Hurricane Laura:

58,535 Prepared Meals
49,011 Drinks
41,550 Snacks
549 Clean-up Kits

Emotional & Spiritual Care to 2,552 Individuals

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.

                                                               

Beaumont, Texas (September 7, 2020) – More than a week after commencing extensive response efforts in Southeast Texas after Hurricane Laura, The Salvation Army is gradually demobilizing operations as power returns to many locations. Four mobile kitchens continued to serve meals on Monday, and plans are in place for food box distributions later this week.

Since Friday, August 28, The Salvation Army of Texas has served 107,411 meals, 68,172 drinks, 40,965 snacks in affected communities utilizing fourteen mobile kitchens. Trained staff and Emotional and Spiritual Care volunteers have prayed with 1,327 storm survivors.

Four Salvation Army mobile kitchens are serving food in the following fixed locations on Monday:

  • Bridge City – Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 945 W. Roundbunch Rd, Bridge City, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 115 W. Bolivar St, Vidor, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)

“We are very proud of the dedication and hard work of our Salvation Army staff and volunteers this week in Beaumont and the surrounding area. Several communities have been without power and our teams did a great job of providing hot-meals, water and encouragement to those affected by Hurricane Laura,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services in Texas. “In the space of ten days we have served more than 107,000 meals in very hot and humid conditions with heat advisories in place for several of those days. Thank you to each volunteer, employee and corporate partner who stepped up to make this response effort possible. Your efforts have made a difference in the lives of so many.”

The Salvation Army will coordinate two distribution sites this week:

  • Tuesday, September 8: Vidor Distribution site located at Love and Truth Church (145 W Bolivar St, Vidor TX 77662).
  • Wednesday, September 9: Deweyville Distribution site located at Deweyville High School (43200 HWY 87s, Orange, TX 77632). Volunteers needed.

At these locations, staff and volunteers will be passing out food boxes, frozen chicken, and other items as available. Set up at both locations will begin at 11 AM, and distribution to the public will take place between 12-3 PM. Volunteers are needed to support The Salvation Army distribution and can help from 11:30 AM-4 PM.

“Since August 31st, The Salvation Army has utilized local volunteers to assist with response initiatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Many of these volunteers are associated with nonprofit service organizations, such as The Rotary Club of Beaumont and United Way of Beaumont, which focus on providing services to communities in need,” said Kathleen Kouns, Disaster Volunteer and Training Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Texas. “In addition to these service networks, The Salvation Army has worked closely with Exxon Mobil’s Public and Government Affairs Division to utilize employee volunteers as well as local Church groups and good Samaritans. With their help, communities within Orange, Newton, Jefferson, Jasper, Sabine, and Calcasieu Counties have received more than 107,000 meals from mobile food canteens and temporary distribution sites. Volunteers have also organized The Salvation Army disaster warehouse, located in Beaumont, to enable faster inbound and outbound deliveries of essential items.”

As The Salvation Army continues to reach communities in the Golden Triangle, volunteers play an essential role in day-to-day operations as well as long-term recovery initiatives. For more information on how to join efforts, please visit [email protected] or sign up for current volunteer positions available at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4CAFAA2FA7F5C43-hurricane1.”

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.comsalvationarmtexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx.

                                                          

Orange, Texas (September 5, 2020) –The Salvation Army Officers, staff and volunteers in Orange, Texas, have spent the last week tirelessly providing meals and prayerful support to their community that sustained significant damage and power loss after Hurricane Laura. Thousands of residents have come to The Salvation Army and received hot meals and water from the drive thru distribution each day. The building has been without power since the storm and team members have continued to help others, despite their own challenges. On Friday morning, the Texas Baptist Men arrived at The Salvation Army unannounced, with chainsaws and heavy equipment in tow, ready to serve those who have been on the frontline of service since the storm.

Captain Jan Zuniga, Commanding Officer at The Salvation Army in Orange, appeared on a FOX 4 TV news interview on Thursday evening, stood outside by the church playground. During the interview she explained what The Salvation Army has been doing to help people after Hurricane Laura, how many meals have been served, and the plans for continued assistance in the coming days. All the while, viewers could see several large trees and debris from the storm strewn around the playground in the background.

Rocky Mize, an Orange resident and volunteer with the Texas Baptist Men, was sat at home watching the news as Captain Zuniga spoke of the work of The Salvation Army. Mize has been volunteering since the storm with the Texas Baptist Men working to remove fallen trees and clean up debris from homes and streets in the community. “Watching that interview and knowing what The Salvation Army does to help people in need, I knew that we had to do something,” said Mize. “I got in touch with my crew and we agreed to start our day on Friday at The Salvation Army and get their property and playground cleaned up. They are the hands and feet of Jesus to so many, and we were blessed to be that for them.”

“The Texas Baptist Men showed up with their chainsaws and got right to work,” said Zuniga. “In no time at all the fallen trees were gone and the whole place was cleaned up. In a beautiful gesture, Rocky carved a cross into the stump of a tree that had come down in the storm. This cross will remain as a constant reminder of God’s love and providential care for us. We want to say a huge thank you to the Texas Baptist Men for their hard work, not only at The Salvation Army, but also as they help residents throughout the area.”

Since Friday, The Salvation Army has served 91,891 meals, 60,580 drinks, 32,195 snacks in affected communities. Trained staff and Emotional and Spiritual Care volunteers have prayed with 1,092 storm survivors.

Five Salvation Army mobile kitchens are serving food in the following fixed locations in Texas on Saturday:

  • Bridge City – Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 945 W. Roundbunch Rd, Bridge City, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 115 W. Bolivar St, Vidor, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)
  • Mauriceville – Market Basket, 11916 Hwy 62-N, Mauriceville

Eight mobile kitchens from The Salvation Army in Texas continue to provide meals in Lake Charles, LA.

                                                                    

Lake Charles, LA (September 5, 2020) – Food, water, and meeting physical needs are incredibly important parts of The Salvation Army’s efforts to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Laura. But, Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) remain an essential part of total disaster response.

The Salvation Army helps treat the emotional stress and trauma of disaster victims and first responders with emotional support and spiritual comfort. Whether it’s lending a listening ear, offering a hug, joining together in prayer, or simply being present, Salvation Army counselors are ready to help.

Major Robert Lyle leads the ESC efforts for Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles. In addition to his time meeting with survivors, Major Lyle has also asked the canteen drivers to bring him lists of prayer requests each day. Each and every name on this list is prayed over that night by his team.

Alonzo Hill, one of the canteen members who traveled up from Baton Rouge LA to serve Lake Charles is committed to this effort. “When I’m out there with people, I tell them the resources and systems we have in place to help them are great, but our main purpose is to lift you and your family up in prayer. I just want them to know the love of Jesus because of how He has changed my life.”

This wholistic approach to recovery allows The Salvation Army to meet survivors where they need it most. Many effects of a natural disaster are long reaching and invisible to the naked eye. The Salvation Army aims to support these needs while also meeting the more visible needs and will continue to do so as long as they are needed.

To date, The Salvation Army has provided:

78,829 Prepared Meals

57,761 Drinks

47,936 Snacks

1,243 Emotional and Spiritual Care visits

                                                                    

Beaumont, Texas (September 4, 2020) – As power is steadily being restored to cities in Southeast Texas affected by Hurricane Laura, families are cleaning their homes and refrigerators and looking to replace food that has spoiled over the last week. The McLane family has generously donated 3,000 food boxes that will help families get back on their feet.

“Over the last few days, several of our Salvation Army feeding locations have begun to see a decrease in the number of people requesting hot meals,” said Alvin Migues, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army response efforts in Texas. “That’s an encouraging sign as electricity is being restored to homes in the area. Moving forwards, we understand that it will be costly for families to replace food that has been sitting in freezers and refrigerators and this donation of non-perishable food from the McLane family will be a huge help. We greatly appreciate the ongoing support of the McLane family and the McLane Group who are valued long-time partners of The Salvation Army in Texas.”

The food boxes arrived in Beaumont on Wednesday afternoon and will be distributed early next week. “Our friends and neighbors in Southeast Texas and Louisiana have been devastated by Hurricane Laura,” said Drayton McLane Jr. “Our family is honored to team up with The Salvation Army who are working so hard in the Beaumont area to provide food to families affected by this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who found themselves in the path of this devastating storm.”

The McLane family has supported The Salvation Army for many years, particularly in Bell County where The Salvation Army McLane Center of Hope provides shelter to individuals, families and veterans, food to those who are hungry, and long-term case management. McLane said, “We believe strongly in the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army and their creed from their founder William Booth, ‘You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet.’” In addition to supporting local programs and projects the McLane family have a great compassion for people in need and are quick to step forward with support. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic they distributed 2,000 food boxes to the four areas in Texas where they have a business presence, 1,000 boxes to help with response to Hurricane Hanna in McAllen, and most recently 250 food boxes in Bell County.

Since Friday, August 28, The Salvation Army of Texas has served 81,680 meals, 55,595 drinks, 27,582 snacks in affected communities. Trained staff and Emotional and Spiritual Care volunteers have prayed with 989 storm survivors.

                                                                      

Beaumont, Texas (September 3, 2020) – The Advisory Board members of The Salvation Army meet monthly, often accepting special responsibilities on various committees and sub-committees while helping to charter the course and support the efforts of their local unit. There are many opportunities throughout the year for Advisory Board members to roll-up their sleeves and get dirty in Salvation Army ministry. Emergency Disaster Services response is one such time.

Court was closed on Monday in Beaumont due to Hurricane Laura, and Judge John Stevens, Criminal District Court Judge for Jefferson County, Texas, found himself with a little extra time on his hands. Always one to look for hands-on opportunities to support The Salvation Army, Judge Stevens approached Captain Jason Moore, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in Beaumont, about volunteering with the disaster response team. Before he could say “this court is adjourned,” Judge Stevens had been given a red Salvation Army disaster volunteer T-shirt and was assigned to a mobile kitchen crew for the day.

Serving in Vidor with the team from Lewisville, Judge Stevens got to experience firsthand the impact the practical ministry of The Salvation Army can have on people in need. “Here we are after Hurricane Laura and many people don’t even know where to begin after losing so much,” said Judge Stevens. “The Salvation Army gives them that beginning, a leg-up to get their life back in order. When people feel like all hope is lost and when all else is failing, The Salvation Army delivers hope.”

On Monday, the team from Lewisville, with the addition of the Judge served 2,190 meals, the highest total of any mobile kitchen crew that day. “I’ve been an advisory board member for more than 10 years,” said Stevens. “My father was the Chairman of The Salvation Army in Port Arthur when I was growing up, so it’s multi-generational. I am happy to carry on that legacy and hope my children will do the same. My family and I have been here to help others in some of the most extraordinary emergencies including Hurricane Harvey and Imelda, where so many people in Southeast Texas lost their homes due to flooding.”

Judge Stevens had a great time serving with the team from Lewisville and noted how appreciative the people were who came to receive food. “We had a steady flow of people coming for a meal and served chicken and rice for dinner, which is of course a great staple in Southeast Texas. It looked great and we even included some special Texas seasoning. The people just kept coming and it was a privilege to be involved in the response efforts of The Salvation Army.”

There are several volunteer opportunities available at The Salvation Army disaster warehouse in Beaumont supporting Hurricane Laura response. If you have a couple of hours,  or perhaps a whole day, and would like to volunteer please email [email protected] or come directly to The Salvation Army disaster warehouse located at 1490 N. 7th Street Beaumont TX 77702 at 9 AM, Monday-Sunday.

“The Salvation Army is simply angelic. When you most need them, like angels, they show up to help those in need who feel all is lost,” said Stevens. “The Salvation Army will continue to have my wholehearted support and I’m honored to be a part of this fine organization.”

                                                                           

Dallas, Texas (September 3, 2020) – After Hurricane Laura hit the Southeast Texas and Louisiana coastline on Thursday, August 27, much of the focus has been on communities including Orange, Port Arthur, Vidor and Lake Charles, LA. However, the storm retained hurricane intensity as it moved north with dramatic effects being felt in East Texas. During the last week, The Salvation Army has provided practical assistance in these rural counties, leveraging year-round contacts and relationships to deliver help to those in need.

The Salvation Army Service Extension program is one of the most unique and effective programs within the organization. Almost 250 Service Units are found in Texas. This is a location where The Salvation Army does not own a building or have any paid staff, but rather social service assistance is administered by volunteers who may work in a bank, in the courthouse, at the police department, or other similar businesses. These volunteers provide faithful year-round support to The Salvation Army and in recent years have played an integral role in several large-scale disaster response efforts.

The Newton Service Unit is a great example of how a volunteer-run unit can have a significant impact on the local community. Joe Miller has been the Chairman of the unit for more than 10 years. “At one point, The Salvation Army was operated by the County Judge, but they were looking to restructure and needed someone else to take it on. I don’t remember how or why, but that’s when I became the Chairman,” said Miller. “Being a Wesleyan, I’ve always had a great affinity for The Salvation Army as we have a very similar theology. I love the fact that The Salvation Army is first and foremost a church. There’s nothing wrong with other 501c3 organizations who also do a lot of good, but there’s something different about the Army being a church. All that they do is motivated by their love for God and people.”

Residents of Newton County have been significantly affected by Hurricane Laura despite being more than 30 miles inland. “Many people have lost trees on their properties and a significant number of homes have been damaged. Large areas have been without power or running water since the storm,” said Miller. “The Salvation Army sent a mobile kitchen from Beaumont to serve hot meals and has also supplied tarps for roof repairs and clean-up kits,” said Miller. “As utilities come back on, people want to fix their own food again, but it’s difficult and expensive for them to restock their refrigerators and freezers. The Salvation Army and the Southeast Texas Food Bank are going to be helping residents get back on their feet.”’

Service Unit volunteers throughout Texas have responded to the call for help during times of disaster and many have completed Salvation Army training courses. “One of the things I love about The Salvation Army is their unwavering support. No matter what happens in our community, I know that I’m going to hear from The Salvation Army asking how they can help. I know when they tell me they’re going to do something, it gets done. That’s my kind of ministry!”

Since Friday, The Salvation Army has served 69,862 meals, 50,101 drinks, 25,731 snacks in affected communities. Trained staff and Emotional and Spiritual Care volunteers have prayed with 730 storm survivors.

                                                                  

Lake Charles, LA (September 3, 2020) – As recovery efforts continue after Hurricane Laura, The Salvation Army has been blessed to receive donations from community partners in the area.

CenterPoint Energy out of Houston, TX had stockpiled supplies through their Emergency Operation Procedures in anticipation of Hurricane Laura potentially making landfall in Texas. When they wound up with a surplus, they searched for a way to distribute their food.

Theresa Sauls, Corporate Community Relations for CenterPoint, said, “We had this food and didn’t want it to be wasted, so we reached out to The Salvation Army. We are so grateful for what y’all are doing.”

CenterPoint was able to donate 20 cases each of apples, bananas, and oranges. This fresh fruit will be distributed on The Salvation Army canteens. Captain Trey Jones, Incident Commander of The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Laura Response in Lake Charles responded, “With produce being hard to come by and many people having no method of refrigeration, this fruit will be such a blessing. We are thankful for Centerpoint Energy and glad they trusted us to get the food out to the public.”

                                                    

Newman, GA (September 2, 2020) – A Rapid Response Unit (RRU) from Newnan, Georgia is one of the latest Salvation Army assets to head in the direction of the Gulf Coast to help those impacted by Hurricane Laura.

At the helm of the Newnan RRU is former New York City firefighter and current social services case worker for The Salvation Army in Newnan, Nancy Langer, and volunteer Trish Francis. This is Nancy’s first disaster response with The Salvation Army, but Trish is disaster response veteran having previously served The Salvation Army disaster services in North and South Carolina during Hurricane Florence, and in Bainbridge, Georgia after Hurricane Michael.

The Newnan RRU will serve as part of The Salvation Army disaster response in the city of Lake Charles, LA. The RRU enables The Salvation Army disaster services to enter places inaccessible to larger vehicles due to damaged roads, downed trees and other obstacles. RRUs usually don’t cook meals but deliver food prepared elsewhere. The vehicle has a 16,500-pound payload, holds about 800 meals, 550 bottles of ice water and up to six gallons of coffee.

“The Salvation Army has been serving in disasters since the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. We were ready to respond to the call for additional equipment and workers in Louisiana. Additionally, the Georgia Division has personnel who are supporting the Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline. If there are unmet needs from Hurricane Laura’s devastation, we are trying to help meet them,”  said Lanita Lloyd, The Salvation Army of Georgia Emergency Disaster Services Director.

Hurricane Laura was a deadly and damaging Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph when it made landfall near Cameron Parish in Louisiana. It is now tied for the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the state of Louisiana as measured by maximum sustained winds. The city of Lake Charles sits about 50 miles north of Cameron and suffered significant damage from Hurricane Laura. The city has an estimated population of 78,000.

“Providing help and hope in times of need has always been at the heart of The Salvation Army…and never is it better displayed than in times of disaster,” said Heather Creech, Director of the Newnan, GA Service Center. “We are proud to be part of The Salvation Army’s overall response in helping those impacted by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana.”

                                                         

Beaumont, Texas (September 2, 2020) – It is often said that volunteers are the Army behind the Army. That statement is never truer than during emergency disaster response. Trained volunteers who have selflessly deployed during Hurricane Laura have gone the extra mile, particularly considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the searing heat and humidity of Southeast Texas.

Rudy and Martha Zapata, from Lubbock, have served as Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services volunteers for more than 19 years. They have responded to tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes close to home, and across the country, and are well known to local emergency response partners in West Texas. The Zapatas are ready, literally at a moment’s notice, to deploy to any disaster site and meet the needs of those affected. Their mobile kitchen is spotless, inside and out, and is perfectly organized. Behind their canteen they tow an ATV giving them the ability to deliver food and assistance deep into neighborhoods which may be inaccessible to a full-size mobile kitchen.

“My brother Jesse, who attends The Salvation Army church in Lubbock, introduced me to the Emergency Disaster Services program. From the very first time I stepped foot in a mobile kitchen, I loved it,” said Rudy. “I have been active as a disaster volunteer for more than 19 years because I enjoy serving others. But more than that, ultimately I hope they can see God working through my wife and I.”

The Zapata’s son, Victor, is a Marine and is currently serving in North Carolina. He has been gone for nine months and only returned to Lubbock on leave a month ago. The Zapatas were placed on standby as Hurricane Laura barreled towards the Texas coastline, and then received the call to deploy to Beaumont. “We were looking forward to spending the last few days with our son before he had to return to North Carolina, but that’s when we received the call asking us to come and serve in Southeast Texas,” said Martha. “At first, I was sad, but Victor told me we should go and help those in need because he knows we love to serve with The Salvation Army. It is a blessing to know our efforts, even if it’s just a hot meal, can make a difference to someone struggling after a disaster.”

On Monday, seven mobile feeding units from Texas served meals in Lake Charles, LA, while an additional seven supported communities in Southeast Texas. Since Friday, The Salvation Army has served 59,201 meals, 43,861 drinks, 21,059 snacks in affected communities. Trained staff and Emotional and Spiritual Care volunteers have prayed with 691 storm survivors.

“The Salvation Army volunteers are bound together by one common thread: Sacrifice. Oftentimes, providing relief to people affected by disasters requires them to leave their loved ones behind, work in extreme weather conditions, and perform tasks that are physically and emotionally demanding,” said Kathleen Kouns, EDS Volunteer Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Texas. “These brave men and woman do not seek accolades or recognition, rather their service towards others is rooted in their love for Jesus Christ. The Salvation Army would not be capable of reaching the number of individuals it does without the unconditional sacrifice of volunteers.”

The Salvation Army is serving food in the following fixed locations on Tuesday:

  • Bridge City – Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 945 W. Roundbunch Rd, Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur – Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 115 W. Bolivar St, Vidor, TX
  • Newton – Newton Church/Food Bank: 501 Main Street, Newton, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)
  • Mauriceville – Market Basket, 11916 Hwy 62-N, Mauriceville

                                                                

Lake Charles, LA (September 2, 2020)—The Salvation Army is serving throughout the state of Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Disaster relief services are ongoing in Alexandria, Monroe, and Lake Charles, as official Salvation Army crews are manning mobile feeding units providing meals, drinks, snacks, personal hygiene kits, and cleaning supplies to anyone in need. The largest effort is in the Lake Charles area, where The Salvation Army has set up a full IMAT team and currently has a total of 21 mobile feeding units [canteens] serving the area. The feeding operations in Lake Charles are supported by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, who have volunteered 20 personnel from Mississippi for 14 days to serve by preparing hot meals on The Salvation Army’s Field Kitchen which are then distributed by the canteens. Canteen service locations are posted every day on the Salvation Army Lake Charles Facebook page as well as on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services website at www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. In addition to the canteens at set locations, the feeding units are also roving the neighborhoods, finding people in need where they are, and offering much-needed help and hope.

Emotional and spiritual care is also a large aspect of The Salvation Army’s disaster relief services. Canteen workers in Lake Charles are actively taking prayer requests from the people they serve and handing them over to the Emotional and Spiritual Care [ESC] Officer, Major Robert Lyle, who ensures that every request is prayed for.

To date, The Salvation Army has provided the following disaster relief in response to Hurricane Laura throughout the state of Louisiana:

• 35,556 Meals
• 33,030 Drinks
• 21,438 Snacks
• 99 Cleanup kits (per kit)
• 45 Cleaning Supplies / Tools (per order)
• 471 Personal Hygiene Kits
• 109 Food Boxes
• Emotional and Spiritual Care to 521 Individuals

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.

                                                    

Lake Charles, LA (August 31, 2020) – Linda Drounette remembers vividly the fear of riding out Hurricane Laura in her apartment. “I just sat there listening to the wind whistling, trees falling, so many things crashing.” When it was over, Linda and her neighbors were left with no resources. The manager of the complex had left before the storm and has not returned. With no cell service and no options for charging cell phones, there was no way to call for help.

Linda cried when relaying her experience. “We are just so happy to see The Salvation Army here. We were so scared, and we don’t know what to do.” Linda’s daughter, Jayla August, and her granddaughter, Lachaunte August, have been checking in to make sure Linda is ok.

Jayla has become the de facto leader of this group of residents, banding together to survive. She has a car that is too damaged to drive, but it will still crank. She has been sharing with her neighbors to give them a place to charge phones and other necessary devices.

Despite a large Haitian population that does not speak English and several deaf families with limited abilities to communicate, the neighbors have become a family of sorts. As the canteens pulled in, residents were quick to tell Salvation Army staff where other neighbors who could not walk far lived and where quick to take only what they needed to ensure there was enough for others.

“Much of the property is unlivable,” said Jayla. “We have all moved in with each other and combined as much as possible.” The residents grilled all of the food out of their kitchens the first few days and shared the little they had to make enough for everyone. “We have been finding most of what we need,” Jayla continued, “But food is getting impossible to find now. Stores aren’t open even for those who have money. Having hot meals brought to us was such a blessing.”

Lake Charles, LA (August 31, 2020) – Liz Chattin has truly embraced the motto of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. “Hope is on the Way”. While serving on a canteen truck, distributing food in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Liz met the Aleman family. Mike Aleman and Isabel Ledesma are both deaf, and their baby, Lia, is severely allergic to dairy. Without transportation and with no stores yet open within walking distance, they were desperate to find formula for Lia.

Liz was able to find diapers and wipes and a baby hygiene kit in The Salvation Army warehouse, and she made it her personal mission to find formula for Lia. With none available locally, she was able to coordinate with a Salvation Army officer to have soy formula brought from Texas.

“This is my first disaster deployment,” said Liz. “I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. It just hit me so hard to find this community that felt abandoned. We tried to find everything they needed. I work with children and babies every day at home. I just had to find this family some soy formula.”

Mike and Isabel were ecstatic to receive the baby supplies.  “Thank you,” they said over and over again, “Just….thank you.” For this family, hope looked like food for their baby, and The Salvation Army will continue to provide hope to everyone affected by Hurricane Laura.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available.  Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 8 PM CDT, 7 days a week. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, follow the social feed on Twitter at @salarmyeds or visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. To donate to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org.

                                                     

Dallas, Texas (August 31, 2020) – Seven mobile kitchens and crews from The Salvation Army of Texas have been assigned to provide practical support to their neighbors in Lake Charles, LA. Hurricane Laura made a slight detour to the east as it made landfall which dramatically changed the impact of the powerful storm in Southeast Texas, and ultimately put Lake Charles directly in the path of the hurricane.

While Texas communities such as Orange, Bridge City and Vidor are without power, the Lake Charles area additionally suffered severe damage to houses and businesses, splintered and uprooted trees, snapped telephone poles, and downed power lines. Mobile kitchens from Lubbock, Waco, Tyler and Rapid Response Units from Granbury, Freeport, Plano, and Mid-Cities (Dallas) spent Sunday serving meals to residents in Lake Charles. The Lubbock team utilized a Mule (ATV) to deliver meals deep into affected neighborhoods where downed power lines and trees made it impossible for the full-size mobile kitchen to enter. Seven additional units spent the day serving in Southeast Texas.

“The Salvation Army in Texas has sent seven canteen crews over to help us serve Lake Charles for the last few days in addition to the six feeding sites we have operating in the city,” said Major Kent Davis, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi (ALM). “That’s what we do. We help each other. Thank you to staff and volunteers from Texas and ALM who are serving Lake Charles and other affected cities. You are sacrificing a lot to be here and we salute you.”

One Lake Charles resident shared her experience while riding out the storm. “I stayed through the storm because we didn’t really have anywhere else to go. I used to live in Kansas and have been through tornadoes, but this was much worse. The wind was howling all around the house and I was sat in the corner of my living room, clutching my prayer blanket, and praying to God for his protection,” said Sue. “The louder the wind roared, the tighter I squeezed my blanket. I’ve got a huge oak tree in my front yard and I prayed that it would not fall onto my house. After the storm passed, I went outside to find branches and tree limbs spread across my yard, but miraculously, not one hit the house. Praise God! Thank you for being here today and for lunch. It’s the first hot meal I’ve had in days.”

The Salvation Army is serving food in the following fixed locations on Monday:

  • Bridge City – Market Basket: 2005 Texas Ave Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur – Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 114 W. Bolivar St, Vidor TX
  • Newton – Newton Church/Food Bank: 501 Main Street, Newton, TX
  • Jasper – Court House Annex: 271, E. Lamar, Jasper, TX
  • Hemphill – 3134 Fairdale Rd, Hemphill, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)
  • Mauriceville Middle School – 19952 FM 1130, Orange, TX

The Salvation Army has served 34,517 meals, 28,231 drinks, 15,809 snacks in affected communities in Southeast Texas since the response effort to Hurricane Laura began on Friday. Trained staff and volunteers have prayed with 242 storm survivors.

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.comsalvationarmtexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx.

                                                            

Dallas, Texas (August 30, 2020) – Mobile kitchens from The Salvation Army of Texas served 12,000 meals in SE Texas and Lake Charles, LA, to residents affected by Hurricane Laura on Saturday. 14 teams of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) staff and volunteers worked tirelessly throughout an extremely hot and humid day to serve hot meals to those in need.

FEMA Directors, including FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, visited a location in Orange County, TX, on Saturday where a Salvation Army mobile kitchen was preparing to serve lunch. “The Salvation Army works very closely with FEMA during times of disaster and we are thrilled that the FEMA staff saw our mobile kitchen team in action,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services for Texas. The FEMA Administrator grabbed a piece of paper during the visit and wrote down the number for affected individuals and families to call for assistance. The number, 1-800-621-3362, was posted inside the message board of the mobile kitchen for all to see. “The Salvation Army is one part of the response effort and works with FEMA, other government agencies, and many local disaster partners. These relationships are key to the success of any response effort and we appreciate the support of FEMA.” The number for FEMA assistance is now posted to each Salvation Army mobile kitchen.

Saturday was the first day of meal service by The Southern Baptist Texas Convention kitchen as part of Hurricane Laura response. The commercial-size kitchen and serving area is set up on the basketball pavilion at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Beaumont. Mobile kitchens drive through the serving area and crews load the hot food, packed in heat sealing cambros, directly onto each vehicle. The kitchen prepared 5,000 hot meals for distribution on Saturday and it is anticipated that production will ramp up to 10,000 meals each day in the coming week.

The Salvation Army is serving food in the following fixed locations:

  • Bridge City – Market Basket: 2005 Texas Ave Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur – Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 114 W. Bolivar St, Vidor TX
  • Jasper/Newton – Newton Church/Food Bank, 501 Main Street, Newton, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)
  • Huntsville Shelter – HEARTS Veterans Museum: 463 State Highway 75 N, Huntsville, TX

The Salvation Army has served 18,481 meals, 16,270 drinks, 6,608 snacks in affected communities in Southeast Texas since the response effort to Hurricane Laura began on Friday.

                                                      

Lake Charles, LA (August 30, 2020) – If you are searching for examples of people loving their neighbor as themselves, look no further than South Louisiana. Residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana are going above and beyond to take care of each other just days after Hurricane Laura decimated their entire region. With no power and no water, recourses are hard to come by, but many communities are pooling together to help their neighbors.

One man, Darcy Jones, owns a large generator and has been running it non-stop at his house. He has continued to supply his neighborhood with water and ice as well as a place to stop by and cool off. In return, some of his neighbors have taken it upon themselves to clean the debris out of his yard and help keep the street clear for people to get in. “We are all just doing whatever small part we can to get through this,” said Jones, a native of Wisconsin who has only lived in Louisiana a brief time.

Another group of New Orleans residents spent their weekend distributing water and masks on their own dime. They wanted no recognition but stated they could not sit around and not help in the small ways available to them.

One small business, Peggy’s Superette, has been offering their parking lot as a location for The Salvation Army canteens to provide meal service. Today the owner, Judy Nguyen, partnered with The Salvation army to provide food to her neighbors. Their store cooked and distributed 2,500 servings of boudin, turkey wings, and sausage alongside a Salvation Army canteen providing drinks, snacks, and breakfast boxes. “This community has supported our store and our family for 20 years,” said Nguyen, “Now, it’s our turn to support them.”

The Salvation Army will join these neighbors and continue their efforts on the ground in Lake Charles as long as the need continues.

                                                          

Lake Charles, Lousiana (August 29, 2020) – Residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana are still reeling after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday. Most of the city is still without power, and estimates for water service remain a distant hope. With temperatures in the 90s, heat and dehydration are a concern.

To combat this, The Salvation Army has been delivering water, sports drinks, and snacks today and will provide a hot meal for dinner this evening. Regular meal and hydration services will continue as long as residents remain without power and water.

To many residents, The Salvation Army became a beacon of hope after days with nothing. One resident, Deatta, whose house is severely damaged talked about her fear as the ceilings caved in and her windows blew out around her. The simple luxury of a few bottles of water made a tremendous difference. “The Salvation Army is the only organization I’ve seen on the ground this early. It just means so much to know that someone cares about us.”

Another sweet woman, Cathy, broke down in tears when handed a single roll of toilet paper and a hug. “I’ll be okay,” she choked out. “I lost everything, and we don’t have insurance. It’s…just…so good to see y’all here.”

One after one, residents shared their stories. Some, like Shannon, simply asked for prayer for their families as they navigate this recovery.

“Even in the most hopeless situation, we are so blessed to be a small part of bringing hope to those who need it most,” shared Major Melody Davis, with Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Divisional Headquarters.

                                                        

Dallas, Texas (August 29, 2020) – Widespread power outages across Southeast Texas are currently one of the main challenges for many residents affected by Hurricane Laura. The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams and mobile kitchens pulled into several of the hardest-hit communities on Friday, serving lunch and dinner. The hot meals were gratefully received by residents, many of whom are without power in their homes and have been unable to refrigerate or cook food since the storm.

Eight mobile kitchens, each with the capacity to prepare and deliver 1,500 meals, and three Rapid Response Units, left The Salvation Army warehouse in Beaumont on Friday morning stocked with supplies, meals, and water. Units staffed by Salvation Army trained volunteers and employees from Waco, Lewisville, Midland, Beaumont, Lubbock, Abilene, Granbury, and Tyler were in position at designated locations in time to serve lunch. In Bridge City, news of the lunch-service had been received on social media, and a steady line of people patiently waited to receive food throughout the day on Friday. More than 500 meals were served in Bridge City alone. The Salvation Army is serving food in the following locations on Saturday:

  • Bridge City – Market Basket: 2005 Texas Ave Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur – Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 114 W. Bolivar St, Vidor TX
  • Jasper/Newton – Newton County Fairgrounds, 415 Fair Park, Newton, TX
  • Huntsville Shelter – Hearts Veterans Museum: 463 State Highway 75 N, Huntsville, TX

“You are the first help that we have seen since the storm,” explained one grateful resident who has been without power for two days and is working to clean up fallen trees and branches from his home. “I was lucky that I didn’t have any damage to the house but all the food I had in my refrigerator has spoiled since I don’t have power. We’ve been through this before after Hurricane Rita, Ike and Harvey but it’s still so hard to deal with. I am thankful for the help The Salvation Army brings.” He left with a hot plate of chicken, rice and beans and the promise that The Salvation Army team would return in the coming days.

Beginning Saturday, the Southern Baptist Texas Convention Kitchen is preparing the meals to be served from The Salvation Army mobile kitchens. “This is a long-standing relationship that allows staff and volunteers to serve food, kept warm in cambros, as opposed to actually cooking on the mobile kitchen. This simplifies and expedites serving food to hungry residents,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services for Texas. “The Baptist Convention Kitchen will be preparing 5,000 meals a day and expand as needed.”

On Friday, The Salvation Army served 4640 meals, 5138 drinks, 1274 snacks in affected communities in Southeast Texas.

                                                      

Jackson, MS (August 28, 2020) — Hurricane Laura made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a category 4 hurricane early Thursday morning, pummelling the Lake Charles area and leaving a devasting path of destruction in its wake. State-wide there are approximately 500,000 without power and the public water system sustained so much damage that there’s currently no water, or restricted water service, in much of Southwest Louisiana.

Early Friday morning, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi [ALM] Division’s 53′ field kitchen, along with a refrigeration unit and a support unit, headed out to Lake Charles to serve in Hurricane Laura relief efforts. The mobilization of the equipment was made possible through the generous volunteer efforts of Total Transportation, a Jackson, Mississippi trucking company. “Total Transportation is honored to support the work of The Salvation Army in this way. To be able to help out a good cause and people in need is something we are glad to be a part of,” said Destin Smith, Total Transportation’s Internal Manager.

The field kitchen has the capacity to prepare up to 10,000 meals per day, which will be distributed by 14 mobile feeding units deployed into the area from Mississippi, Texas, and other less affected Louisiana Salvation Army locations. It will serve the 4 parishes that are most affected by the hurricane— Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Cameron.

“Disaster preparations start well before the threat occurs so that The Salvation Army is ready to go into the affected community, alleviate the suffering that’s there, and provide hope,” said Terry Lightheart, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.

                                                                   

Dallas, Texas (August 28, 2020) – Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams moved into Southeast Texas after Hurricane Laura blew northwards on a course close to the Texas/Louisiana border on Thursday morning. Much of the area was left without power and damage assessment is underway in affected communities.

In Walker County, Texas, The Salvation Army began providing meals on Tuesday, August 25, at four evacuation shelters housing more than 380 individuals. Residents under mandatory evacuation orders were transported to the shelters in Huntsville by Monday evening. Working closely with local emergency management staff, The Salvation Army teams from Conroe and Austin have been preparing and delivering three meals each day to the shelters. Evacuation shelters are anticipated to remain open until power can be restored and transportation arranged back to the respective cities.

Staging at The Salvation Army disaster warehouse in Beaumont, nine full-size mobile kitchens and two rapid response vehicles will begin feeding operations on Friday morning. “Five mobile kitchens from the Texas Division will head to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to support the response efforts of the Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi Division after that community bore the brunt of the hurricane,” said Alvin Migues, Director of Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army in Texas. “The additional six units will serve at fixed locations in Orange County, Bridge City, and Port Arthur. Each mobile kitchen will be stocked with 2,000 meals and our trained staff will continue to monitor the need in communities throughout the area.”

Partnerships are key to any disaster response effort and The Salvation Army is privileged to work with the Southern Baptist Texas Convention who will set up a field kitchen in Beaumont on Friday. The kitchen has the capacity to produce 10,000 meals each day, and The Salvation Army is planning to utilize 25,000 meals over the span of five days.

“In addition to serving as the staging point for the Texas Division disaster teams, the Beaumont warehouse will be the logistics hub for donated goods and supplies to be distributed to the three Salvation Army divisions impacted by the storm,” said Migues. “We are pleased to have the capacity in Beaumont to assist our neighbors in Louisiana and beyond.”

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.comsalvationarmtexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx.

                                                         

Lake Charles, LA (August 26, 2020) —  Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers are prepared to move into Southwest Louisiana in response to Hurricane Laura, which is currently projected to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane making landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border overnight or early Thursday morning. An Incident Command Team has been activated to operate out of Lake Charles, where The Salvation Army Lake Charles Corps has prepared for the Calcasieu Parish mandatory evacuation. The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division has positioned 14 mobile feeding units, which can produce a combined total of about 10,000 meals per day, on standby and ready to serve affected areas throughout Louisiana.

“The Salvation Army of Lake Charles is prepared for Hurricane Laura,” stated Lieutenant Thomas Marion, Lake Charles Salvation Army Corps Officer. “All of our buildings are secured, and we are ready to serve by making the necessary preparations with staging emergency service vehicles and working with local authorities,” Lieutenant Marion added.

As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available.  Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 8 PM CDT, 7 days a week. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, follow the social feed on Twitter at @salarmyeds or visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. To donate to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org.

                                                                

Dallas, Texas (August 25, 2020) – Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers are preparing to move into South East Texas ahead of the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Laura on Thursday morning. Current forecasts suggest that the storm could potentially reach the coastline as a Category 3 Hurricane. Ten mobile kitchens are on standby for deployment with an additional five units in Texas being prepared should additional support be needed.

Feeding operations have already started in South East Texas where regional resource centers have been established. “The Salvation Army teams from Texas City and Beaumont are providing food to those seeking help from local resource centers, even ahead of the storm making landfall,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) in Texas. “We are especially concerned about the Golden Triangle and Houston areas that have historically suffered significant flooding during similar severe weather events. As the track of the storm develops, we will be in position to react and deploy, as necessary.”

As several counties begin the process of evacuation, an 11-person Incident Command Team has been assembled and will be moving into the area. The team, consisting of Salvation Army EDS professionals and Officers from throughout Texas, will pre-position in Beaumont on Wednesday. “The Incident Command Team members provide leadership in all areas of disaster response including safety, operations, logistics, finance, planning and communication. As you can imagine, there are many moving parts in a large-scale disaster response, and we have an experienced and effective team in place to support the work of our staff and volunteers on the ground,” said Migues. “At this stage we have 10 mobile kitchen teams ready to deploy to deliver food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care, and depending on the impact of the hurricane, have more units available. Units from Houston, New Braunfels, Bryan, Beaumont, Waco, Tyler, Lewisville, and Irving, will be the first to deploy.”

Several cities outside of the projected affected area, including Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, are preparing to provide shelter and assistance should it become necessary to those evacuating from their homes due to the storm.

EDS personnel will all be pre-screened prior to each deployment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Disaster workers will answer a series of wellness questions to determine if they are fit for duty at the time of deployment. “We have established protocols specifically to address responding to disaster during the current pandemic,” said Migues. “These include wearing a mask while serving, practicing social distancing and healthy hygiene by frequently washing their hands, and of course additional daily cleaning of mobile kitchens and other units. All aspects of service have been impacted by COVID-19 and we are committed to the safety of our staff and volunteers, while continuing to deliver help to those experiencing crisis.”

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To make a donation go www.helpsalvationarmy.org.

                                                               

Dallas, Texas (August 24, 2020) – The Salvation Army is closely monitoring not one, but two storms, that could potentially seriously impact communities in South East Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Tropical Storm Laura and Hurricane Marco are both anticipated to make landfall on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. 20 Salvation Army disaster units in Texas and neighboring states are fully stocked and on standby for deployment. Heavy rain and potential flash flooding are a possibility in greater Houston and throughout the Golden Triangle area.

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) staff has been in communication with state emergency agencies, affected field units, staff, and volunteers, placing 10 mobile feeding units in Texas on standby for pre-positioning closer to the affected area. Each mobile feeding unit has the capacity to deliver up to 1,500 meals per day. Response teams and supplies will be staged north of the potential landfall for rapid deployment into affected communities.

“It is very unusual to have two storms threatening the Gulf Coast at the same time and our EDS teams in Texas are paying special attention to Hurricane Marco,” said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Services Director for The Salvation Army. “Many communities in Houston, Beaumont and Orange are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and extensive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019. The Salvation Army was there to provide help and practical assistance after those storms, and we will be ready and prepared to deliver services again to those affected in the coming days.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional challenges for the emergency response teams. “Mobile kitchens, cooking and serving areas, and utensils, are all being deep-cleaned multiple times a day which takes time and increased supplies. Our teams are paying special attention to safety protocols put into place due to COVID-19, wearing PPE and social distancing. Many of our committed volunteers are older in age and so we are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe while ensuring we are in a position to effectively meet the needs of the community.”

Local preparations are underway in Houston where four mobile kitchens are ready for deployment. “At the height of service during Hurricane Harvey The Salvation Army had 103 mobile kitchens, from all over the country, serving food, snacks and drinks in Houston and South Texas,” said Major Zach Bell, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in Houston. “Our year-round commitment to serve those in crisis is only heightened during disaster response. Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers not only provide for the immediate physical needs of those affected, but also for their emotional and spiritual needs through listening and sharing words of encouragement and prayer. The Salvation Army has been serving the residents of Houston since 1897, providing shelter, food, rehabilitation and much more, and we will continue to serve throughout this storm and beyond.”

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To make a donation go www.helpsalvationarmy.org.

 

 

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