(Alexandria, VA) Agust 29, 2012 – As Tropical Storm Isaac slowly moves northward through Louisiana, Salvation Army personnel are in the early stages of deployment efforts throughout impacted regions along the Gulf Coast. The storm, which made landfall as a hurricane last night, has already caused significant flooding throughout the region including in Plaquemines Parish, about 50 miles southeast of New Orleans. The Salvation Army has been providing food and hydration to residents of Florida and will begin deployment of mobile kitchens along the Gulf Coast today.
The Salvation Army currently has 60 personnel, 24 mobile feeding units, and a fully equipped 54-foot field kitchen stationed along the coast in Hattiesburg, MS; Baton Rouge, LA and Gulfport, MS – all staged for quick response. In Gulfport, The Salvation Army deployed a mobile kitchen to a shelter at West Harrison High School to provide food to survivors there. These units have a combined feeding capacity of more than 31,000 meals per day.
“With the amount of rain and flooding that Tropical Storm Isaac has produced in Gulf Coast communities, we expect there to be a high level of need throughout the region,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army in the United States. “Our mobile kitchens and staff are strategically positioned and already beginning to move into impacted regions.”
In coastal communities, The Salvation Army is also seeing an increase of homeless people in the area looking for a safe place to sleep due to Isaac. In New Orleans, Pascagoula, MS and Mobile, AL, Salvation Army homeless shelters are filled to maximum capacity. For many of the homeless, the threat of Isaac brings with it memories of previous storms, including Hurricane Katrina.
For the homeless filling shelters and other community members in need of support, The Salvation Army has personnel onsite, trained to provide spiritual and emotional care on the front lines during and after the storm. The Salvation Army’s ministry of presence provides compassionate care to residents looking for hope in the midst of turmoil. Pastoral care is available for all those impacted, but is not a prerequisite for receiving assistance.
“During a hurricane or other disaster, residents are often looking for someone to talk to or even a shoulder to cry on,” said Major Hood. “We know that our role is not only to meet the needs of the individual physically, but also the emotional and spiritual needs that can come with stressful times.”
Through combined efforts in the state of Florida, The Salvation Army has already provided 560 instances of spiritual and emotional care, as well as 3,000 meals, 20,000 drinks, 4,000 snacks and 8,000 cases of bottled water. The Salvation Army has a mobile kitchen and truck unit providing material, emotional, and spiritual assistance to survivors in West Palm Beach.
Additionally, two mobile feeding are providing hot meals and cold bottled water in the Wellington and Lake Worth communities after Isaac left the areas with flooding and power outages. The Salvation Army is also supporting first responders and survivors with hydration in downtown Tampa and surrounding areas.
In addition to food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care, The Salvation Army is also prepared to provide:
• Clean-up kits containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies
• Hygiene kits
• Shower units
• First-aid supplies
• Communications support
The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to prepare an emergency supply kit and stay informed of all warnings and evacuation orders. Disaster response professionals recommend having a three to five day supply of food and water for each member of your family as well as flashlights, medication and battery powered radios.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by this disaster to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Donors may also contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate "2012 Hurricane Relief" on all checks.
At this point, in-kind donations, such as used clothing and used furniture, are not being accepted for hurricane relief. However, these items are vital to supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Store or dial 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).
For more information on The Salvation Army’s preparation and response to Tropical Storm Isaac, please visit http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/, www.facebook.com/salvationarmyusa or www.twitter.com/salvationarmyus.
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.