Released 14 March 2013
(Herkimer, N.Y., March 14, 2013) -- During the tragic shooting and standoff with police in Herkimer, the nearby Salvation Army Community Center opened its doors to the community for their normal Wednesday evening soup kitchen and sheltered evacuees, reported Captain Jon-Erik and Lieutenant Jessica Berkhoudt of the Herkimer Salvation Army.
“At first, our center was on lock down since we are located one block away from the standoff on Main Street. The police had evacuated all businesses and homes on Main Street, and those people had nowhere to go, they were walking the streets or gathering at Wal-Mart or Dunkin’ Donuts. A shelter was set up at Herkimer County Community College but many of the neighborhood residents don’t have cars to get to the shelter. We received permission to open in the afternoon to provide a place for them to be warm and safe. We were in contact with the Mayor and first responders came in for coffee and water during the afternoon and evening,” said Lt. Jessica Berkhoudt.
“We served 68 meals to displaced residents. As we visited each table during dinner, we invited them to stay at our center if they could not return home. We had 23 adults and seven children in our center for the evening. We were happy to provide a hot meal, a safe location and comfort our neighbors,” said Capt. Jon-Erik.
“Herkimer is a small community and something like this has such a ripple effect in the community; everyone is affected by this, we all know the businesses, and the car wash is the only one in town. Many are feeling afraid and unsafe. In the evening, the kids couldn’t settle down so we involved them with activities and games. We mourn the victims and families but we were comforted by God’s presence, grace and mercy,” said Lt. Jessica.
“At about 11:30 pm, police arrived and told everyone that they had to move to the shelter at the community college. According to the police, they were being moved to the college for safety reasons,” said Lt. Jessica.
Captain Evelyn Hopping from the Oneonta Salvation Army also assisted the Berkhoudts’ with feeding and sheltering area residents.
Lt. Jessica thanked community volunteers who cooked all evening, Wal-Mart for donating pillows and blankets for the children and Dunkin’ Donuts for donating coffee and doughnuts.
“While the initial incident has passed, The Salvation Army will continue to assist those affected by this tragedy,” Capt. Jon-Erik said.
The Salvation Army Community Center is located at 431 Prospect Street and The Salvation Army officers can be reached at (315) 866-1240.
As part of its Emergency Disaster Services, The Salvation Army helps to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of disaster victims.
About the Empire Division
The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.). Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 42 community and worship centers, service areas in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and 167 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.