ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 20, 2023 — As natural disasters occur simultaneously across the United States, The Salvation Army has activated its Emergency Disaster Services response in affected communities across Alabama, Georgia, and California. The Salvation Army’s extensive network of trained disaster experts and volunteers are on the ground, providing items such as food, water, shelter, cleanup support, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders.
“The Salvation Army is committed to serving those affected by natural disasters, no matter where they occur,” said National Commander Kenneth Hodder. “We will provide help and hope to those in need during this difficult time for as long as the need persists. Our disaster teams are prepared to love beyond the initial impact of these storms and ensure the well-being of impacted communities for months or even years to come.”
On Thursday, Jan. 12, nine tornadoes of various strengths swept across Alabama and Georgia, killing seven people, injuring dozens of others, and causing widespread property destruction across multiple counties. To best serve the communities affected, The Salvation Army is doing everything it can to serve meals, help clean up, and provide spiritual and emotional support. In areas like the city of Selma, Alabama, significant progress has been made since the tornadoes initially hit, but there is still a considerable amount of work to be done.
“The Salvation Army is actively responding to the areas impacted by last week’s tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia with all the resources and support at our disposal,” said Jeff Jellets, EDS director for The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory. “We are committed to providing assistance and hope to those affected by these devastating events, and we stand ready to serve in any way we can. We urge the public to support our efforts by donating to our disaster relief fund, which will be used to provide essential services to those in need.”
In addition to the most recent response in the South, The Salvation Army has also been working closely with local emergency management officials in California to provide assistance to those affected by recent heavy rain and severe flooding. Teams are providing food, water, and emotional and spiritual care to evacuees and first responders. The Salvation Army will also activate Local Assistance Centers soon to help individuals recover with community support, including financial gift cards, insurance, property cleanup, and more.
Disaster Response Overview (As of Jan. 19, 2023)
Tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia
- Alabama: In addition to partnering with Flint Hill Church in Alexander City to serve meals from the church parking lot, The Salvation Army has been serving the greater Selma area. Services have included:
- 1,872 meals and snacks.
- 693 drinks and bottles of water.
- 41 emotional and spiritual care connections.
- Georgia: The Salvation Army is continuing its Emergency Disaster Services in Troup, Meriweather, Henry, and Spaulding counties. Services have included:
- 11,955 meals and snacks.
- 4,697 drinks and bottles of water.
- 170 blankets.
- 134 emotional and spiritual care connections.
- 76 cleanup kits.
Flooding in California
- The Salvation Army Southern California Division is continuing its Emergency Disaster Services in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Placer, and Sacramento counties. Services have included:
- 2,370 meals and snacks.
- 4,070 drinks and bottles of water.
- 33 emotional and spiritual care connections.
- 124 individuals helped with lodging.
The Salvation Army disaster personnel are working with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies and other social services organizations in all locations to monitor ongoing impacts and adjust response efforts if necessary.