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Hurricane Ike

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SALVATION ARMY CONTINUES DISTRIBUTION OF CLEAN-UP KITS, MEALS

October 13, 2008

A month after Hurricane Ike made landfall, The Salvation Army remains in areas hardest hit by the storm. While many are well on there way to getting their lives back to normal, others remain in critical need, and The Salvation Army continues to assist them.

Disaster recovery teams based out of the Beaumont Incident Command began serving residents in Crystal Beach after being requested for assistance by the city at the end of last week. Other teams from Beaumont remain in High Island, Sabine Pass and Bridge City.

In Galveston, clean-up kits are being distributed in the worst hit areas, including Jamaica Beach. Some Canteens also are beginning to serve lunch only.

Canteen services and distribution of clean-up kits and food boxes will begin phasing out in the Pasadena area today, with all services concluding by the end of tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 14.

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EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CARE: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE SALVATION ARMY’S DISASTER RESPONSE

October 8, 2008

ON THE ISLAND

They left the Island in a rush, carrying with them their most treasured possessions stuffed into large black trash bags or other bags large enough to hold as many belongings as possible. Putting their animals in carrying cages or on leashes, they stood in line for a seat on the bus that would take them away from the looming Hurricane Ike to a safe haven in San Antonio.

But some waited until the last minute, watching as the waves grew larger and the sky got darker. As their homes began to fill with water, they hoped that it wasn’t too late to get out, and they were rescued by emergency workers still on the Island evacuating hundreds of others who thought they could ride out the storm.

Some were prepared for what they might see when returning to Galveston Island. Others feared for the worst but hoped for the best, knowing only what they had seen on the television sets at the shelter in San Antonio.

All waited anxiously during the five hour ride from San Antonio to Galveston on buses filled with people, their pets anxious to get out and run free, their children just as anxious to be outside playing. The first sight of the Island was not encouraging – yacht, sail and shrimp boats piled atop each other lined the roadsides, pushed well away from their proper places in the harbors by Ike’s forceful winds.

Despite the wreckage, imagine the relief each returning evacuee felt when the bus carrying them slowed at its final stop. Imagine the overwhelming sense of comfort upon seeing chaplains from the Victims Relief group and Spiritual Care Officers from The Salvation Army, waiting with wide smiles and open arms. After being requested by the Victims Relief organization to assist in providing emotional support to Galveston residents returning to the Island for the first time last week, Officers of The Salvation Army from all over the United States, Mexico and Canada were at the ready.

“We were blessed with the opportunity to help a number of people off the buses and onto the shuttles that took them back to their homes,” said Captain Mike Ramsey, a Salvation Army Officer from Canada. “There were a number of people with a fair amount of difficulty of course since they had brought so many of their personal items along. There was one older lady in particular who we were able to get all her possessions off the bus and escort her right to her house. “She was so grateful and it was a real blessing.”

As bus after bus arrived, hundreds of people made their way out, tired and still unsure of what exactly awaited them. However, their joy upon returning home was obvious and contagious to The Salvation Army Officers, who were surrounded by and a part of many hugs, smiles and laughter. There were sighs of relief and furrowed brows of uncertainty, but also laughing children and dogs pulling at their leashes, reveling in their freedom.

For the many Salvation Army Officers able to be the first people the residents saw when stepping off the bus, it was a huge honor. To lend a caring and loving ear and heart to those who needed to share their stories or to just be hugged was exactly what the Officers were there to do. No two experiences with the residents were alike, yet each was an opportunity, a privilege and a blessing.

“It was really fun being on the canteens going down the streets,” said Captain Tracey Czajkowski, Commanding Officer in Waco. “People would come out of their homes and run to catch us like the ice cream truck, and they would line up and we’d help them take food into their homes and talk to them.

“To be in the neighborhoods with the people in their homes was really a blessing to me.” Evacuees returning home are not the only recipients of such emotional and spiritual care. Migrant workers shuttled daily from Houston and based at the University of Texas Medical Branch on Galveston Island have been part of a twice daily revival put on by The Salvation Army at the hospital.

Every day at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., thousands of workers come running when they hear the sound of a guitar playing and a song sung in their native language. “It is amazing to see the thousands of people running to stand in line for a warm meal,” said one of the Salvation Army Officers from Mexico. Officers from Mexico have been leading the revivals, and workers receive food for both the body and soul.

It is an incredible site to see the people reading through the Bibles distributed by The Salvation Army as they wait in line, and to see the workers participating in worship – sometimes even leading it through either a song or a scripture reading.

According to Major James Taylor, Divisional Secretary for The Salvation Army of Texas, more and more agencies, including non-religious agencies, are realizing the need for emotional care following a disaster.

“As far as disaster services, we realize the first thing people react to is their physical condition,” he said. “‘I’ve lost everything.’ ‘My house is destroyed.’” But The Salvation Army knows that once the initial shock has worn off, it becomes emotional and spiritual – ‘Why did God let this happen to me?’

“It is then that we are there to reassure them that God is always with them, He never left them and never will leave them, and that they have a hope in Him,” Major Taylor said. “God is there to hold us up and restore us.”

PART OF ARMY HISTORY

The Salvation Army’s providing of emotional and spiritual care dates back to its founding in 1865 by William Booth in the poverty-stricken area of London’s East End. Booth took a holistic approach to the organization’s ministry – looking at the whole of a person rather than just their physical, emotional, or spiritual needs as separate entities. He realized that first people’s physical needs must be met, and then the door is opened to providing for a person’s emotional and spiritual needs.

One hundred and forty-three years later, things have not changed. Salvation Army Canteens are deployed to areas of disaster to provide victims with needed nourishment. Sheltering is provided if they have lost their homes, and clean-up kits are supplied if their homes are salvageable. Clothing vouchers and hygiene products also are distributed.

But once all the immediate needs are taken care of, The Salvation Army Officers and disaster workers are able to do what they are called to do – to bring spiritual and emotional healing to disaster victims.

“As we help people recover emotionally and spiritually, then they can begin to look to the future,” Major Taylor said.

And it is during disaster times that The Salvation Army has the opportunity to live out its mission in its truest form – to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY RECOVERY EFFORTS CONTINUE

October 5, 2008

Beaumont, TX: The Salvation Army continues to stay in the Galveston area until every need on the Island is met. On Friday, Oct. 3 alone, more than 16,000 meals were served from 22 Canteens. In addition, The Army’s mission is being fulfilled as seen in the number of first-time seekers of Christ – close to 200.

Elsewhere, in the Beaumont area, today, Sunday, Oct. 5 will be the last day for Canteens serving in West Orange. High Island also has gotten power recently, and efforts will continue there for only as long as needed. The Salvation Army has been requested by Sabine Pass and Bridge City to remain for at least one more week.

In the Houston area, the distribution of supplies finished yesterday (Saturday).

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY RECOVERY EFFORTS REMAIN CONCENTRATED IN HARDEST HIT AREAS

October 3, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army continues to provide services to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ike, including the Golden Triangle area and especially Galveston. Efforts in the Houston area are beginning to scale back as the city slowly starts to return to normal. Distribution of clean-up kits, hygiene kits and food boxes will continue through Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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UPDATE OF SALVATION ARMY ACTIVITY FROM SOUTH TEXAS

October 3, 2008

Galveston, TX: The Salvation Army continues to provide disaster relief services in areas of Texas hardest hit by Hurricane Ike, including the greater Houston metro-area; Galveston Island; and the Golden Triangle area of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. Efforts in the Houston and Golden Triangle area are beginning to scale back as power is restored and the cities return to normal. However, coastal areas impacted by Ike continue to need support and the Army is focusing its activities in these areas.

On Thursday (October 2), The Salvation Army has re-deployed personnel and resources out of its Texas City incident command post and base camp to Galveston Island. The transition included moving the Army mobile command center, canteens, sleeping tents, and other equipment over to the island. The Salvation Army, in cooperation with the Southern Baptists and the American Red Cross, has positioned field kitchens at the Lone Star Air Museum on Galveston Island and the three nonprofit organizations are working together to provide food to hurricane survivors and rescue workers. The Salvation Army is supporting 20 feeding sites -- some stationary, some mobile -- on Galveston Island and in Texas City that are providing approximately 15,000 meals per day.

The Salvation Army continues to support an Incident Command Post in Pasadena/Houston. The command has down-sized, but is still supporting six feeding sites, most notably in Seabrook, TX, where a field kitchen, staffed by Southern Baptists, has been deployed. The Incident Command operating in Beaumont is also scaling back and has relocated back to Beaumont disaster warehouse. Three canteens, operating out of Beaumont, will continue to serve coastal communities in the Golden Triangle. Both commands are distributing clean-up kits and food boxes.

Since Ike made landfall, the Salvation Army has served more than 1.7 million meals.

Emotional and Spiritual Care teams are deployed with team members hailing from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico territories.

This weekend marks the start of another rotation of disaster personnel. Staff from the FLA division will be deployed to Beaumont, AOK personnel will be headed to Pasadena, and an Incident Management Assistance Team from the Eastern Territory will be deployed to Galveston island. More than 60 canteens workers from the Eastern Territory, Central Territory, AOK Division, FLA Division, NSC Division, and Kiwanis International are being deployed.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY RECOVERY EFFORTS REMAIN CONCENTRATED IN HARDEST HIT AREAS

October 2, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army continues to provide services to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ike, including the Golden Triangle area and especially Galveston. Efforts in the Houston area are beginning to scale back as the city slowly starts to return to normal. Distribution of clean-up kits, hygiene kits and food boxes will continue through Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY EMOTIONAL & SPIRITUAL CARE TEAMS COMFORT EVACUEES

October 1, 2008

Galveston, TX: The Galveston team will began moving the staging area currently in Texas City to Galveston Island today, where The Salvation Army’s largest Ike recovery operation is still underway.

Eight evacuee buses arriving on Galveston Island yesterday from San Antonio were met with Salvation Army Emotional and Spiritual care teams. These Salvation Army teams accompanied Ike victims to their homes, and provided support to the evacuees seeing their homes for the first time since Ike hit. Many arrived with hopeful hearts only to have it replaced with devastation upon finding their homes beyond repair.

Captain Edward Alonzo, Incident Commander in Pasadena reported that the emotional and spiritual care teams from the U.S.A, Canada and Mexico are doing excellent ministry wherever they go. Victims in responding to the teams are appreciative of the support.

In Beaumont and Pasadena, plans are being finalized for the demobilization of surplus canteens still staged in the area. Beaumont will continue feeding at the same locations listed yesterday and until the needs change.

Pasadena will continue distributing cleanup kits, food boxes and hygiene kits to people needing those supplies as we move towards the weekend. They have ordered another trailer of cleaning kits to restock supplies at the warehouse.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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THE SALVATION ARMY SERVES CLOSE TO 1.7 MILLION MEALS IN RESPONSE TO IKE

September 30, 2008

Houston, TX: Today, Tuesday, September 30th, The Salvation Army Mobile Feeding Units (Canteens) continued to canvas the Hurricane Ike-affected areas, providing food and water to first responders and victims of Hurricane Ike. To date, The Salvation Army has provided close to 1.8 million meals and more than 2 million snacks to victims and first responders.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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THE SALVATION ARMY TO PROVIDE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT TO EVACUEES OF GALVESTON ISLAND

September 30, 2008

Galveston, TX: As 12 buses, carrying residents of Galveston Island who evacuated during Hurricane Ike set off from San Antonio back to the Island, Salvation Army personnel will be waiting for their arrival. The Victims Relief group requested that The Salvation Army assist in providing emotional support to these Galveston residents as they return to the Island and see their devastated homes for the first time.

Approximately 1,200 people will be returning on the San Antonio buses, with 12 more bus loads arriving on the Island Wednesday. The Salvation Army is prepared to meet evacuees with not only words of encouragement, but also clean-up kits and a warm meal.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Pasadena and the surrounding Houston area, clean-up kits, hygiene kits and clothing vouchers are being distributed to Ike victims. Social services also are being provided during normal business hours.

In the Beaumont area, recovery efforts remain concentrated in the areas of West Orange, High Island, Sabine Pass and Bridge City. These cities are in desperate need of hygiene items, clean-up kits, bottled water and other supplies, and The Salvation Army is receiving such items from the Incident Command Post of The Salvation Army in Pasadena. The needs remain dire as electricity is not expected to return until the end of October.

We are still currently

accepting monetary donations:
The Salvation Army
Texas 2008 Hurricane Relief Fund
PO Box 36627
Dallas, TX 75235

Online
www.salvationarmytexas.org

Telephone
1-800-SAL-ARMY

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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FREE CLEANING KITS COURTESY OF THE SALVATION ARMY NOW BEING DISTRIBUTED

September 29, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army has begun distributing free cleaning kits to those who have been affected by Hurricane IKE. These cleaning kits contain scrubbing brushes, a large and small broom, one mop, latex gloves, work gloves, a 32 ounce Clorox container and a 28 ounce liquid deodorizer, among other items. These cleaning kits are being distributed in conjunction with The Salvation Army’s ongoing disaster relief efforts, which include meal distributions and emotional and spiritual support. To date, The Salvation Army has served some 1.8 million meals in the Southeast Texas region.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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THE SALVATION ARMY FEEDING REMOTE AREAS OF GOLDEN TRIANGLE

High Island, Sabine Pass, West Orange still in need of food, water, ice

September 29, 2008

Beaumont, TX: The Salvation Army continues to provide food and water to the remote areas in The Golden Triangle affected by Hurricane Ike.

On Sunday, The Salvation Army Volunteers served 3,251 meals, 6,337 snacks and 4,586 drinks as well as 356 instances of emotional and spiritual care. As the Salvation Army scales back its disaster relief services to the main cities of the Golden Triangle, its relief work in the affected remote regions, continues. Many areas outside the larger city limits have been completely devastated and are still without power and basic services. The Salvation Army is committed to serve these people as they continue the recovery process.

“The severity of the devastation in the remote regions of the area is horrendous,” said Incident Commander Capt. Chad Williams. “People have lost everything and are in dire need of assistance. The Salvation Army will continue to be there helping residents recover by meeting their needs both physically and spiritually.”

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY IN GALVESTION ISLAND AS RESIDENTS RETURN: A “CAMP BLESSING” STORY

September 28, 2008

Galveston, TX: God reminds us that He is caring for us in the most unlikely places and at the most unlikely times.

At the Wal-Mart, on the highway, or in the parking lot of where ever we might be. I spoke to a lady today who came by the base camp (nicknamed “Camp Blessing”) to see about getting some food and water. She told of how she had left Galveston Island before the storm, and that she had to leave her two parakeets behind. While she was staying in the shelter she was unsure of their condition, but was not optimistic about the condition that she would find them in when she got home.

When she was able to return to her apartment she found that she had lost everything. She walked into her apartment to find mold growing and it was slippery to walk through. She made her way to the bathroom where her two parakeets had been in the dark for the past 12 days. As she opened the door she peered through the dark to find them alive and slumped on their perch. When she left them they had only enough food and water for four days. As she told her story I could see the joy in her face at the survival of her two birds, she even went to her car and brought them back for me to see.

I was reminded of Jesus words from Matthew 6:25-27...

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "

In a time when so much has happened and there is still so much that is unknown, God reminds us that He cares for all his creation. And that even in times of great storms, be they literal storms or those storms that come to us and have nothing to do with the weather outside, we have a God who loves us and will provide for all that we need. Time and time again he proves that in our lives. And today I was reminded again, that if He cares for two parakeets, locked in a bathroom, with only four days worth of food, then how much more does He care for us. And that just as he provided for them in the dark, He will provide for us.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY SERVES GALVESTON ISLAND RETURNING RESIDENTS

September 28, 2008

Galveston, TX: As residents return to Galveston Island The Salvation Army and The American Red Cross was there to greet them, with hot meals cooked by the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team. The Salvation Army distributed 8,132 meals and 10,045 cold drinks to people throughout Galveston Island. Major Dan Ford, Incident Commander Texas City/Galveston IC, “I am excited about the partnership that we have been able to forge to help reach the people on Galveston Island.”

The Salvation Army’s work in Alvin was recognized in the Alvin Advertiser for serving the community as it is recovering. Carolyn Key from Montgomery, Alabama shared with us that a Day Care came by the canteen and dropped off a poster that the children made expressing their thanks for the meals that they received. The children put pictures of food on the poster, each child wrote their name, and called them their heroes.

Melissa Langham, volunteer from Randolph, Massachusetts, shared that Captain Mary Johnson of the Galveston Sherriff’s Department and Liaison with Texas City and Clear Creek Independent School District, said “This is the first time that hot food has been provided.” She was very thankful and commented that the food was really good.

Even as things begin to return to normal in some parts of south Texas, people are still relying on The Salvation Army for help.

Sallie Stewart, serving on the Beckley, WV canteen said, “People are really thankful. Some people have told me that without The Salvation Army they would have nothing to eat.”

Courtney Carter, disaster volunteer from Milford, Massachusetts shared that a lady came to the canteen and got meals for the nine members of her family. She took the food to her car and came back to the canteen and said, “Thank you for the food. Without you we would have nothing to eat.”

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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STORIES FROM SALVATION ARMY BASE CAMP

September 28, 2008

Texas City, TX: Last night at the Base Camp in Texas City we decided to show a movie to the canteen workers and IC staff to give them a break from all of the hard work that they have been doing. Captain Tom Guilliams and Juan Kruger set up a projector, sound system and screen to show the movie on. Everyone was gathering together when a man and his daughter came over to where we were. They started talking to Major Dan Ford and Captain Guilliams about their situation. The little girl had been living on Galveston Island with her mother, but after the storm she went to stay with her father who is a truck driver. Traveling with her dad was the best option that they had. The little girl told Captain Tom Guilliams that she was happy because the water that came into their house did come up high enough to mess up her Hannah Montana poster.

On their last day the crew on the Beckley, WV canteen were given a special honor for the work that they had done in the community of Tiki Island. While they were working in the community they developed a great relationship with many, including the police and fire department. While they were there the Police Chief was having a birthday and the canteen crew went and bought him a cake. When they took it to him they told him they couldn’t make him a special birthday dinner but that they could get him a cake. Before they left the area on their last day each member of the crew, Lt. Denise Stewart, Chris Peck, Matt Piceiotto, and Paul Slack, from the Maryland-West Virginia Division were presented with Police and Fire Department patches.

Major Jim Parrish reported from Galveston Island that one of the canteens had been out serving meals in their area. They were done serving and they still had food left. They were worried about bringing the food back unused, so they stopped and prayed about the situation and then headed back to the Galveston Island base camp. As they turned the corner they found about 70 workers who needed food, and they were able to feed them. While they were serving them 48 asked for prayer and there was one seeker.

Yesterday we were able to provide hot meals to 14,906 people and cold drinks to 16,997 people in Galveston County and the City of Freeport. Our emotional and spiritual care officers were able to pray with 465 people, and administer Critical Incident Stress Management to 22 people. God is continuing to work through The Salvation Army as we minister to both body and soul.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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UPDATE OF SALVATION ARMY ACTIVITY FROM SOUTH TEXAS

September 28, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army's disaster operation for Hurricane Ike is now focused in three locations with incident commands headquartered in Beaumont, Pasadena/Houston, and Texas City, Texas. Corps in Conroe, Lufkin, and Freeport are also conducting emergency relief operations and mass care services in cooperation with the Houston Area Command.

The busiest command remains the Texas City operation, which has relocated from a local high school to the Mall of the Mainland, in a Dillard’s parking lot. The island was reopened to residents yesterday, and the Army joined with the Red Cross and Southern Baptists to deploy a fleet of feeding units and kitchens to the island to provide food for returning residents.

As a whole, mass care feeding has begun to decline, particularly in inland areas where power has been restored within communities. Approximately 100 canteens remain deployed in the area, but that number is expected to reduce to about half by the end of this weekend.

The Salvation Army's focus remains on mass care and feeding, particularly in the Galveston Area. This also includes the bulk distribution of commodities, particularly food boxes and clean-up kits. Additional Emotional and Spiritual Care teams are being deployed, some of which are coming from the Canadian and Mexican Salvation Army territories. The Army has secured warehouse space in Texas City, Beaumont, and Houston and is exploring the opportunity to work with Feeding America to build some 35,000 food boxes for distribution.

Despite the decline in mass care needs, the Hurricane Ike relief operation is still a very large disaster operation.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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GALVESTON RESIDENTS RETURN TO DEVASTATION & HEARTACHE

September 27, 2008

Galveston, TX: “Where are you from, Salvation Army lady?” asked the elderly man while sipping on his coffee from the recently reopened Starbucks Coffee on Galveston Island.

“Dallas,” I answered back.

“Well welcome to my home,” he said. “It’s pretty dirty, and not really the same as it was, but give it a year and it will be back.”

This elderly man was not the only Galveston resident who returned to a devastated Island where many homes and businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

“Can you film me?” asked another Ike survivor as I walked by filming the extra-long feeding line that stretched around The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit (Canteen) across from the Galveston seawall.

When I told her of course I could, she lifted her hands up in the air and said in broken English, “I say ‘Thank you Lord for the food and for The Salvation Army.’ I am here with my family, and we lose everything…we lose everything. I say thank you for the food – thank you so much. God bless you.”

Since the day when the first strike team made their way onto the Island until now, The Salvation Army continues to provide not only meals to those who rode out the storm, first responders and now residents returning back to their community, but also emotional and spiritual support, a smiling face, a listening ear and words of encouragement.

After surveying Ike’s aftermath on Galveston Island, it is clear that the place and people are in great need. Even so, it is amazing to see how quickly teams are working to restore the Island back to its normal state. Within just a week, the piles of more than 10 feet of rumble along the seawall are nowhere to be found, and slowly businesses are beginning to reopen, like the Starbucks located in the Kroger along the seawall where the elderly man was able to enjoy his first cup of coffee in weeks.

It will be a long road to recovery, however. Those homes left standing on the Island and surrounding areas are inhabitable, and residents will be cleaning up the destruction for weeks to come. The Salvation Army is coming alongside Galveston residents and assisting them by providing clean-up kits – buckets filled with cleaning supplies – for their destroyed homes. The Salvation Army is also still feeling the affects of Hurricane Ike’s wrath. After the Galveston Salvation Army Corps building was filled with close to 5 feet of water, workers have now completely emptied the building of its contents and have stripped the building’s walls down to its studs. The Galveston Salvation Army is now without a home, and its future is currently unknown.

“The Salvation Army has no intention of leaving the Island anytime soon,” said Major Henry Gonzalez, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Texas. “As long as there are people wading through the destruction, picking up the pieces of their once intact homes, The Salvation Army will be there with them, reminding them that there is a God who loves them very much and who will provide the way to make their lives whole once again.”

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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NOURISHING THE SPIRIT

September 27, 2008

High Island, TX: Marty Boddie of High Island, Texas, strides up to The Salvation Army Mobile Kitchen in faded blue jeans and tennis shoes to talk to the residents of the small town that have gathered to get a hot meal.

He looks like a high school coach, and in a way, he is the town’s coach through the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. As Pastor of the St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in High Island, Boddie has had to push his flock away from despair and into resilience.

“There are some folks here with not a single memento left from their home,” said Boddie. “All they have are vacant lots. Those folks will have a hard time coping with this.”

As the residents along Texas’ Gulf Coast begin sifting through the remains of lives and homes this week, emergency and disaster response organizations like The Salvation Army move also into spiritual and emotional care. The bodies have been fed. Water has been given. Now, the spirit needs nourishment. For residents, leaders and volunteers alike, keeping strong and positive is the new goal.

“THAT’S WHAT GOT TO ME”

For this tiny town that sits mere miles from the decimated town of Gilchrist on Boliver Peninsula, God and community spirit keeps its citizens strong. Salvation Army Volunteer Debora Acord of Savannah, Ga., said she is amazed by how the neighbors come together for themselves and for The Salvation Army workers in their town.

“People come up and give you hugs. These kids with their big brown eyes come up and thank you,” said Acord. “They are very appreciative.” Acord has had a hard time with the horrors she’s heard. On Thursday night, she returned to The Salvation Army Disaster Incident Command in Beaumont visibly shaken. She didn’t smile; she didn’t rush upstairs to eat.

“We went out on the coast, and it’s like a war zone,” Acord said. “All the houses… all gone. Nothing is left of these people’s lives. You see a car buried in the field, a chair sitting out alone… a child’s toy.”

Acord didn’t know about the deaths on Boliver Peninsula. Working on a Salvation Army canteen all day means missing the news. As her canteen pulled into Boliver Peninsula, hearing about the deaths slammed something inside her. “We didn’t know at the time that not everyone evacuated from Gilchrist or Crystal Beach,” said Acord. “The officers told us that there were people still on the island when the hurricane hit. They are still trying to recover bodies.”

Acord stops talking. She’s beginning to cry.

“You see that island with all the debris piled up, and they are looking for bodies. That’s what got to me. It makes you think of your own people, and then you think about the children there who didn’t evacuate.”

Even the volunteer relief workers feel the destruction of what has happened. Knowing that both victims and relief workers will feel the emotional burden of what they witness, the emotional and spiritual counselors from The Salvation Army have a big job of prayer and comfort ahead of them.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Bucky Faggard of High Island crouched inside his house with a dozen of his neighbors as Hurricane Ike crashed into the Texas gulf. An experienced missionary, Foggard had called ministers and missionaries worldwide to pray for the residents of High Island. They had been told to evacuate, but by the time they tried, the storm surge had already flooded the streets.

“I called everyone and told them we needed prayer because we couldn’t get out,” said Faggard. “At about 1:25 a.m., Ike hit. We had about 12 people in my house and we were all in a circle praying.”

As prayer continued, the balcony ripped off the house and debris battered the walls. The house shook with a big bang before the winds began to slow down. “We heard a big bang, and just prayed some more,” Faggard said. “The next morning, we had some water in the house. We went out to look at the house.” There were no injuries. There was no serious damage. There was, however, a cross on top of the house where the townspeople prayed. Somehow, the beams of Faggard’s balcony lodged itself in the roof in the perfect shape of the symbol of hope.

“When I saw that, we knew God looked out for us. We knew God listened to our prayers and God answered our prayers,” said Faggard. “It’s only by God’s good grace that we survived.” The homes with people seeking shelter were not damaged. The homes that were empty were destroyed. “Through the strength of the Lord, He watched over us.”

GOD AND COMMUNITY

That’s not an unusual belief in this tiny, damaged town. God and community keep the people together, said St. Matthew’s Boddie. “I believe God will make something good from this,” he said. “We may not know now what that good will be, but He will make it good. My family begged us to evacuate, but I felt that we needed to be here. When the storm surge came in, I said, ‘God, are you sure you want me here?’ But I think we need police, fire and emergency, but we also need spiritual presence during a disaster.”

The Salvation Army volunteers agreed. “They come together and help each other,” said Acord. “They are here for each other.”

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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WITH A SPIRIT OF HELPING

"I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink..."

September 27, 2008

Galveston, TX: They walked toward the window of the canteen slowly, a mother and her three young children. “Four please,” she said holding up four fingers when her turn came at the window. “It feels like days since we’ve had a hot meal, thank you so much!”

You could tell they had been through a lot since Ike made landfall, but they were gracious with each other and not too tired to smile encouragingly at us and the surrounding crowd.

Those of us working the canteen filled the food trays with hot lasagna and corn, preparing them in to-go boxes for the mother and children, and located three fruit roll-ups as a treat for the kids. It was my turn at the service window when the food came down the line, and as I leaned out the window to serve the family their meals, I was deeply touched by what I saw.

To the right of the window stood a cooler, filled with ice and bottles of water. Beside the cooler was a case of water waiting to be cooled in the freezing bucket. Our canteen was short staffed that afternoon and in our haste to feed the long line waiting for their meals at the Academy on Galveston Island, we had failed to notice that the cooler was down to its last few bottles of chilling water.

The three children, while their mother waited for the food, had noticed. They looked at the line behind them then back to the case of water resting beside the cooler. The two younger children watched as their older brother kneeled down beside the cooler, and began carefully opening the case of water and re-stocking the contents so that those behind them would have cold drinks too. Almost instantaneously, the younger two were at their brother’s side filling the cooler with him.

We thanked them for their help and sent another round of fruit roll-ups down the line to their wet little hands. We were met with four beaming smiles, waving hands and a mother whose swimming eyes were filled with pride at the gesture made by her children.

They had lost everything they owned when Ike swept into Galveston, but were holding on tight to a spirit of helping by doing whatever they could to reach out to their own neighbors in need.

Major Henry Gonzalez, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in Texas following his recent visit to the recovery areas in Galveston said, “The community of Galveston has a long road of recovery ahead of them, but they are a strong people, determined to rebuild their homes and lives and help each other out along the way. The Salvation Army is prepared to stand beside them as they put the pieces back together, build new foundations and move forward stronger than ever before.”

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY SERVES OVER 1.6 MILLION MEALS IN WAKE OF HURRICANE IKE

September 27, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army has been hard at work this week, continuing to assist those suffering from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Ike. To date, The Salvation Army has served over 1.6 million hot meals to first responders and victims across 22,000 sq. miles of affected areas.

The Texas City Incident Command location is welcoming a new team over the weekend. They will be taking over operations after being briefed by the initial team over the next few days.

Teams working the operation on Galveston Island continue to serve thousands daily. Today four canteens will be sent from Texas City to serve, while six remain on the mainland to serve areas in need there.

The large Salvation Army kitchen is closing up shop, packing up today and moving out on Tuesday. Upon its departure all cooking will take place on the canteens stationed in the area. In addition, the warehouse location secured by the team in Texas City is ready for distribution to begin. Details for beginning the distribution will be determined over the next few days.

The Salvation Army Galveston team is looking for a building to use as a temporary Corps or staging area on the Island throughout the weekend or until a location is found.

Pasadena canteens and crews served 4,500 meals yesterday, and have also begun welcoming and briefing new workers. Distribution of cleanup kits has begun at the Pasadena Corps, and will be distributed next week from four additional Corps within the Houston area.

The Pasadena crew are saying goodbye to the Southern Baptist crews who have been manning the large kitchen this weekend. They will be leaving their kitchen behind for Salvation Army crews to continue to prepare meals.

Major Marshall Gesner, Unified Commander for the recovery efforts, announced that the Baptist kitchen may be moved to Seabrook in order to more conveniently service a larger area of needs and bring them closer to areas such as Kema, Bayshore, Eagle Point and others.

The Salvation Army also will be distributing food boxes and cleanup kits in Stafford during the coming week.

In Freeport yesterday more than 900 meals were served from three canteens. Power is beginning to be restored across the area. The most seriously affected areas will continue to be served by The Salvation Army. Freeport also has been working to prepare a distribution site in a donated store. Food boxes and cleanup kits will be sent to the location for distribution. The location will be released when service begins.

In Conroe, over 4,000 meals were served yesterday and they continue to receive phone calls from communities surrounding Conroe needing help. They will continue serving for as long as needed.

At the Beaumont Incident Command location, a new team from Georgia has taken the reigns and served more than 10,000 meals yesterday alone. They are sending a group of canteens to Texas City today to assist with the demands there.

Since arriving on Sept. 14, The Salvation Army is now scaling back from immediate disaster response and into long-term disaster recovery. As the lights and services return to residents in the Golden Triangle, the need has begun to drop for Salvation Army feeding and water locations. The Beaumont EOC (Emergency Operations Center) closed down Friday and is asking its residents to move back into normality.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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SALVATION ARMY SENDS NEW TEAMS TO REFRESH IKE RECOVERY EFFORTS

September 26, 2008

Houston, TX: The Salvation Army has been hard at work this week, continuing to assist those suffering from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Ike. To date, The Salvation Army has served over 1.6 million hot meals to first responders and victims across 22,000 sq. miles of affected areas.

Major Henry Gonzalez, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Texas, said, “We are thankful to our teams for serving with endurance and great dedication during these first weeks of recovery, and thankful for the refreshment and energy our new teams are bringing with them.”

In Conroe, new disaster personnel have arrived to provide relief to weary teams and people in need in the Conroe area. It is projected that Canteen stations in the Conroe will be demobilized over the weekend, provided the communities being served are no longer in need of emergency support.

In Freeport, The Salvation Army is opening a warehouse at a former retail location near Kroger and will be distributing clean up kits and food boxes during the coming days. Food boxes are being provided by LDS and the Houston Food bank. Two canteens are based in Freeport serving, while a third canteen is sent in daily from the Texas City operation to assist with needs. Freeport has been serving close to 700 meals daily and will continue feeding as long as is necessary.

In Beaumont, a new Incident Command Team has arrived and cleanup kits will be distributed from three locations today. The Salvation Army continues to feed more than 15,000 meals daily to Ike victims and first responders in Beaumont and will soon be transitioning to long-term rather than emergency services as the needs change. Teams in Beaumont continue to support feeding on High Island and Bridge City and anticipate serving on High Island for another two to three weeks.

Teams staging from Pasadena served 4,000 meals across the area yesterday, and welcomed new crews last night to continue efforts. Around 400 first-aid kits were sent to Seabrook today along with cleanup kits. Food boxes will be available for distribution next week and power is expected to be restored in Seabrook either today or tomorrow. Upon this restoration, The Salvation Army will be transitioning services to meet the current needs, distributing cleanup kits and food boxes.

Texas City and Galveston are still in the midst of a full scale feeding operation. This incredible recovery operation has teams from The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, World First Mission and AmeriCorps workers all working together. The Salvation Army has 16 canteens going out today and is expecting another six Canteens with crews to arrive over the next two days. In conjunction with the 16 Island canteens, The Salvation Army has seven canteens serving meals on the mainland.

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ike to contribute on-line HERE or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies. The Salvation Army is currently not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims, please forward these donations to The Salvation Army Family Store nearest you.

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LILLY ENDOWMENT GIVES $10 MILLION



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