Delivering Help and Hope to Texas Wildfire Survivors

Austin, TX (September 22, 2011) – A truck loaded with items from The Salvation Army Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center in Austin will travel to Bastrop on Thursday, in an effort to deliver assistance to those individuals that need it most in the aftermath of the recent wildfires.

Beginning at 9:00 AM, Thursday, September 22, The Salvation Army will set up a distribution center, accompanied by a Salvation Army feeding unit, in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter located at 488 Highway 71 W, in Bastrop. Salvation Army personnel, including volunteers from the Bastrop Salvation Army Service Unit location, will be available to assist wildfire survivors by providing basic necessities such as toiletries, baby items, cleaning supplies, paper products, canned goods, water, pillows and towels. Proof of residence is required. The new mobile distribution center will be open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, beginning Thursday morning.

As of Thursday, assistance will no longer be provided from the location at 12317 Technology Blvd, Austin, because The Salvation Army understands the difficulty and challenges wildfire survivors may have in reaching Austin for assistance.

Items at the new mobile distribution center will be restocked regularly, and The Salvation Army is in communication with other agencies in Bastrop to help support recovery efforts that are already underway in the community.

The Salvation Army is no longer accepting in-kind donations but monetary contributions are requested to support the Central Texas Wildfire Relief. Financial contributions can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.

Salvation Army Providing Practical Assistance to Wildfire Survivors

Austin, TX (September 20, 2011) – The Salvation Army continues to provide practical assistance in Central Texas, more than two weeks after wildfires struck Bastrop County. The recovery process is going to be a long-term effort and The Salvation Army is committed to supporting the people of Bastrop and surrounding communities.

More than 2,000 meals have been served to responders and wildfire survivors by Salvation Army crews from mobile feeding units, as well as 24,994 drinks and 8,664 snacks.

Staff and volunteers have worked tremendously hard to first unload, and then sort, the massive amount of donations received through the KXAN “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign. The Salvation Army Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center, located at 12317 Technology Blvd. #300, Austin, first opened for distribution at 9:00 AM Friday, September 16, and assisted 32 individuals by the end of the day, Saturday. People who have lost their homes are able to freely select household items, clothes, non-perishable food, and baby supplies in addition to receiving a gift card to help off-set immediate expenses. Salvation Army staff is working with several agencies and groups in Bastrop County to promote the distribution effort to those in need.

One visitor to the relief center on Friday was a Youth Pastor from a church in Bastrop; reportedly the only church in the city destroyed by the wildfire. “Wow, you guys have got some tools, I could really use them”, he explained to Captain Mike Morton, The Salvation Army Officer responsible for relief center operations. As he came to the last row of the “store”, the young man came across a large sun shelter. “This is amazing! Do you know what this means?” he excitedly asked Captain Mike Morton. “This means that we’re going to be able to have church on Sunday. It’s truly an answer to prayer!”

Later that same evening Captain Morton shared this experience with other Salvation Army staff over dinner. On hearing this story Major Shannon Winters explained that only three days earlier she had spent a few moments talking, and praying, with a lady who had lost her home in Bastrop. Despite her own loss, the woman’s major concern was how her church, which was completely destroyed in the wildfire, would meet for services the following Sunday. Despite the loss of the church building, she continued to pray that that the Lord would provide a way for them to have church. Little did she know that it would be in the form of a sun shelter from The Salvation Army? Many people have shared wonderful stories of the love shown by others in their community, and the assistance they have received.

Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been privileged to talk with many people who have been directly affected by the wildfires. In addition to practical relief, Salvation Army pastors and staff are available to counsel, and pray, with wildfire survivors, at the Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center, Monday-Saturday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Please call (512) 476-1111 if you have questions regarding The Salvation Army distribution.

Volunteers are still needed at the facility to help sort the remaining donated items. The Salvation Army is no longer accepting in-kind donations but monetary contributions are requested to support the Central Texas Wildfire Relief. Financial contributions can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyTexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.

Out of the Ashes – Salvation Army Supporting Recovery

Austin, TX (September 15, 2011) – Communities throughout Central Texas have rallied to support one another in response to devastating wildfires while at the same time coming to terms with the long-term recovery ahead. The Salvation Army is committed to provide practical assistance, in addition to emotional and spiritual support, to those affected by the wildfires.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units ventured outside of Bastrop, Wednesday, and staff witnessed the absolute devastation caused by wildfires, while providing refreshment and comfort to those they encountered. Many residents, only recently allowed to re-enter their communities, were found sifting through the rubble where their homes stood only two weeks earlier. Drinks, snacks and sandwiches brought short but welcome relief from the tiring and emotional work of retrieving what was left of personal belongings. “I’m going to see what I can find in this mess”, one resident explained while digging through the ashes within the charred frame of her home. “We’re going to get through this and rebuild. We’ll be back.”

By the end of business on Wednesday, staff and volunteers at The Salvation Army Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center (12317 Technology Blvd. #300, Austin) had completed the two-day job of unloading seven truckloads of donations collected through the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” KXAN campaign. The task of sorting these items for distribution resumes when the doors to the center open at 8:30 AM, Thursday morning, and more volunteers are needed. “We are so grateful to the volunteers who have diligently worked at the relief center this week, and for the outpouring of love The Salvation Army has seen from the people of Austin for their neighbors affected by the wildfires,” said Major John Carter, Austin Area Commander for The Salvation Army.

The distribution of collected household items, toiletries, non-perishables and clothing to wildfire survivors will begin at 9:00 AM, Friday morning, September 16. The relief center will remain open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Assistance will be given to people whose homes were destroyed and proof of residence is required in order to qualify. The Salvation Army will also provide gift cards to those individuals and families who have lost their homes.

In-kind donations are no longer needed but monetary donations are requested to support The Salvation Army Texas Wildfire Relief. Financial contributions can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY

• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyTexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.

Neighbors Helping — Salvation Army Stepping Up To Meet Need

Dallas, TX (September 13, 2011) — The Salvation Army will open the doors of its Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center, located at 12317 Technology Blvd. #300, in Austin, as the distribution point for donated household items, toiletries, non-perishables and clothing to wildfire survivors, at 9:00 AM, Friday morning, September 16. The distribution center will remain open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.

With the continued help of hardworking local volunteers, The Salvation Army plans to be ready to supply donated items from the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign to those individuals who have been directly impacted by the wildfires in Central Texas. People who have lost their homes are asked to bring proof of residence in order to qualify for assistance.

Several truck loads of donations still need to be unloaded and sorted and The Salvation Army is appealing for volunteers to support their efforts. More than 20 individuals worked tirelessly on Tuesday afternoon and staff are hoping to recruit 100 volunteers on Wednesday. Volunteers are asked to report to 12317 Technology Boulevard #300, Austin, TX 78727, (http://g.co/maps/uqvj9) between 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units will again be active in Bastrop County, Wednesday, in addition to several other communities affected by wildfires. Three units will provide hydration and snacks to those in need, including roving support to people only recently allowed to re-enter their communities. Since the beginning of the wildfires in Central Texas, The Salvation Army has served 22,855 drinks, 5,765 snacks, and 1,473 meals to firefighters, responders and survivors.

Monetary donations to support The Salvation Army Texas Wildfire Relief can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyTexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.

First-Responders the Focus of Salvation Army Relief as Texas Wildfires Spread

Dallas, TX (9/6/11) – At least 57 wildfires continue to burn in 17 counties across Texas with ten new “large” fires being reported on Monday evening. The Salvation Army is serving at the site of the largest fire, in Bastrop County, about 30 miles east of Austin, and additional units are on standby throughout the State.

According to Major John Carter, Austin Area Commander for The Salvation Army and Incident Commander for the Central Texas wildfire operation, approximately 600 firefighters will be working to control the two major wildfires in and around the city of Bastrop by Tuesday evening. The Salvation Army’s main responsibility at this stage is to provide hydration, snacks and other needed items to the first-responders and firefighters.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units and crews have been mobilized from Kerrville, Waco, Temple and San Antonio, in addition to two units from the Austin area. Each mobile kitchen, with the capacity to feed up to 2,500 meals per day, will stay on alert as long as needed and will be re-located as necessary. The Salvation Army units are currently stationed at Camp Swift and at the City of Bastrop Convention Center. Working closely with the Baptist’s Men’s Association of Texas, The Salvation Army is making plans to ensure that they have the capacity to feed all of the firefighters.

As the wildfires continue to spread and threaten additional communities, Salvation Army locations currently beyond the immediate area are on full alert. “We’re talking about families that are being affected; in some cases people have already been displaced. It’s a very distressing situation and our role is to provide whatever assistance we can, for as long as we can,” says Major Chris Flanagan, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command. “Our primary goal is to provide assistance and support to first responders in the affected areas, as well as to the individuals and families that have directly been affected. We are prepared to operate our canteens as long as we are needed.”

The small community of Spicewood, Texas, with a population of only 1,200 people, lost 68 homes to a wildfire on Tuesday. The community has rallied and converted a church into a relief center and is providing shelter, food and assistance to those who have lost everything. On Tuesday afternoon, a request was received by The Salvation Army to help in Spicewood. However, the request was not for food or shelter, but for emotional and spiritual support. Salvation Army staff from the Austin Area Command will visit Spicewood, Wednesday, and spend time ministering to those whose lives have been turned upside down by this tragedy.

Monetary donations to support The Salvation Army Disaster Services can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyTexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.

The Salvation Army Providing 24/7 Support at Central Texas Wildfire

Dallas, TX (9/5/11) — Four Salvation Army mobile feeding units are providing 24/7 assistance to firefighters battling wildfires that are estimated to have torched more than 25,000 acres in Bastrop County, about 30 miles east of Austin. Since Sunday, 476 homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfires and 5,000 area residents evacuated, as conditions continue to worsen.

Salvation Army staff and disaster volunteers from Temple, Kerrville, and Austin have been supporting firefighters as they struggle to contain the wildfires. More Salvation Army units are expected to be called to Bastrop County in the coming days to assist in the growing response.

Another wildfire, in and around Possom Kingdom, only 90 miles West of Fort Worth, is now under control. Salvation Army units from Sherman, Fort Worth, Dallas and McKinney returned home on Sunday, having served since Friday.

Since the start of the wildfire season, Texas fire crews have responded to a record 20,900 fires that have destroyed more than 1,000 homes and burned 3.6 million acres. The Salvation Army is committed to providing refreshment, relief and counseling both to responders, and those directly affected by the devastating wildfires.

Monetary donations to support The Salvation Army Disaster Services can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org

For more information about The Salvation Army’s disaster response effort, please go to www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyTexas, www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or www.salvationarmytexas.org.