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As we saw with the devastating Flood of 2019 that impacted eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, natural disasters are increasing in intensity and frequency and can result in billions of dollars in losses each year.
The Salvation Army of Omaha is here to help survivors of natural and personal disasters by providing food and hydration, emergency shelter, material assistance and emotional and spiritual support.
During the Flood of 2019, The Salvation Army of Omaha provided more than 44,000 meals to survivors in the weeks and months after the flooding hit. Food and water are usually the greatest need for survivors and relief workers impacted by a disaster. Food is prepared and served at a nearby Salvation Army worship or service center or on location via one of our mobile kitchens. We also set up meal stations near busy work sites or in community buildings where neighbors and volunteers gather for counseling and support.
We provide clean, safe shelter for survivors in our worship and service centers, as well as in local churches, schools and other temporary facilities. When the best option is a short-term hotel stay, we cover the bill. Individuals and families can rest and be cared for as they figure out their next steps.
During the Flood of 2019, The Salvation Army of Omaha opened three Disaster Resource Centers, distributed more than 100,000 items such as flood-relief kits and offered financial assistance to those who needed help. We help meet the physical needs of people who have lost virtually everything by providing clothing, personal hygiene items, household goods and more. We also aid the cleanup and long-term restoration process by distributing cleanup kits and supplies, coordinating volunteer rebuilding teams and establishing warehouses for the distribution of material goods.
Many who have been impacted by a disaster are comforted by prayer and spiritual counseling. Others simply need someone to listen. Our officers – most of whom are ordained clergy - offer a "ministry of presence" and are a source of solace and hope for those reeling from a tragedy. "If I was feeling desperate, confused or uneasy, there was always someone smiling there," said flood survivor Lisa Widman-Lemus, recalling her experience at The Salvation Army’s Disaster Resource Center in Bellevue.
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