Spring Storms Wreak Havoc in Central US

May 23, 2019

A spate of storms throughout the Midwest over the past week, including more than 100 reported tornadoes, have kept The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services teams busy responding to the needs of survivors and first responders.

Jefferson City, Missouri – In the wake of tornadoes Wednesday night that damaged a three-square-mile area of the capital city, local Salvation Army staff and volunteers are providing hydration and snacks at several emergency shelters as well as meals for Cole County Emergency Medical Services. During the storm, Army staff activated their community cot program and offered 40 flood relief kits through a partnership with Jefferson City West Rotary Club. "Our shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Lieutenant Christopher White told a local news station about the Center of Hope shelter. “We have the ability to open up at a split second. If we see severe weather coming, we can simply say we are admitting people with our cot program. We are here, we have the staff, we have the facilities." 

Abilene, Texas – After tornadoes caused significant damage over the May 18-19 weekend, Army staff and volunteers immediately deployed to affected neighborhoods to distribute drinks, snacks and clean-up kits. “We’ve been serving all weekend, checking on and praying with our neighbors and will continue to do so as long as we are needed,” said Shelley Futrelle, Community Relations and Development Coordinator in Abilene. On Sunday, the Army prepared more than 200 breakfast burritos and served more than 250 meals at lunch. Staff and volunteers also delivered meals to storm-damaged neighborhoods where debris made it impossible for the mobile kitchen to reach.

San Angelo, Texas – The San Angelo Salvation Army church building sustained damage, and power lines throughout the city were downed by the storm. Army staff has been working with city police and fire departments to provide aid to a severely damaged neighborhood, serving meals, snacks and drinks at Bradford Elementary School. “Being without power at the Corps building we canceled our church service on Sunday,” said Major Stan Carr, Commanding Officer in San Angelo. “Instead, members of our congregation gathered to make chicken salad sandwiches and hamburgers to serve from the mobile kitchen on Sunday.” Since that Saturday, Army staff and volunteers have provided 284 drinks, 361 meals and 358 snacks, and they have prayed with 26 people.

Arkansas and Oklahoma – The Salvation Army is closely monitoring flood conditions in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma as rivers continue to rise from recent torrential rains. Flooding is currently ongoing, and more flooding is forecast in the upcoming days as rivers continue to rise. “Several rivers are already at flood stage,” says Major Ben Lawrence, Divisional Secretary for The Arkansas-Oklahoma Salvation Army. “We are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to respond wherever needed." Nineteen Salvation Army mobile feeding kitchens (canteens) and catering trucks are on stand-by to provide meals, drinks and spiritual and emotional care to first responders and disaster survivors.

In times of disaster, the best way to help survivors and relief workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.

How to help:

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org 

Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail checks to: The Salvation Army, P.O. BOX 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate area of need on all checks (ex: Hamilton Tornado; Franklin, Texas; etc)

You can now use ALEXA to donate to The Salvation Army relief efforts. It’s easy! Just say, “Hey Alexa, make a donation to The Salvation Army!”

To support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org. For updates on The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster response efforts, visit Disaster.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Related Content: Media Alert / Press Release / News, Disasters / Emergencies, Housing / Shelter, Emergency Assistance

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