Williamson County, Texas, Volunteers Take the Wheel for The Salvation Army

A group of highly motivated volunteers from Williamson County have stepped up to take responsibility for a Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Canteen (mobile kitchen). This is a unique situation and The Salvation Army is excited about this opportunity to better serve the community.

Randy O’Dell, a Realtor in Williamson County, located just north of Austin, has been appointed Volunteer Coordinator and has been the driving force behind this partnership. “I had been giving to The Salvation Army for many years and decided to get involved about a year ago. I wanted to expand my service outside of my own church and look at the bigger picture,” explains Randy. “I like that they are a Christian organization and have always admired all the good that is done by The Salvation Army.”

After several months of conversations and meetings with Salvation Army Officers in Killeen and Austin the idea of assigning a Salvation Army Disaster Canteen was suggested to Randy. “I met with the leaders of The Salvation Army in Austin to discuss how we could get a Salvation Army presence in Williamson County. I was thinking we could maybe open a Family Store or establish some kind of partnership with a local organization,” said Randy. “When they suggested the Disaster Canteen I loved the idea! This is just the kind of project I was looking for.”

The Salvation Army canteen is a full service “kitchen-on-wheels” that can prepare and serve approximately 1,500 meals per day. The canteen has been placed in Williamson County on school board property, along with school transportation vehicles, in which The Salvation Army will have access 24/7.

So far, Randy has recruited 45 volunteers who have committed to being part of the project which includes attending Salvation Army Disaster Training sessions. “We had 32 volunteers attend the first ‘Introduction to The Salvation Army’ session and have scheduled our next class, ‘Food Services’ training, for July. The volunteers are excited about the project and we received a lot of good feedback about the training,” said Randy.

Major John Carter, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in Austin, commented, “This is a great opportunity for The Salvation Army to expand our volunteer base for Disaster work and at the same time provide a Salvation Army presence in Williamson County. I believe this project may be the first of its kind; a Salvation Army Disaster Canteen being turned over to a group of volunteers outside of any local Salvation Army church affiliation. I am delighted about this partnership and thoroughly expect that the volunteers will be responsive, not only to the needs of the local communities, but will be deployable to other regions as well.”

Randy and The Salvation have an exciting vision for the future of this partnership. “I expect this will turn into much more than simply a kitchen-on-wheels,” concluded Randy. “I can imagine running lunch programs for the needy, breakfast for school children during the summer, and so much more. I believe this is a start to a great future for The Salvation Army in Williamson County.”

For more information or to get involved with The Salvation Army in the Austin area please contact (512) 476-111. For current information about The Salvation Army in Texas please visit www.salvationarmytexas.org and for Emergency Disaster Services information go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 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. 83 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Volunteers Make a Difference in Killeen

By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald

More than 17,000 volunteers helped make a difference in Killeen during the 17th annual Make a Difference Day Saturday.

There were about 127 projects submitted for Make a Difference Day and 97 of those projects were adopted by the mass of volunteers, Killeen’s Director of Volunteer Services Wilfred Brewster said.

“This is a lot higher than in the past,” Brewster said. “We have about 4,000 more people this year than last. This is indicative of the volunteerism we are seeing around the nation.”

Projects ranged from feeding the elderly, hosting food drives for the hungry and homeless, cleaning graffiti, doing some maintenance for some local nonprofits, digging drainage ditches and much more, Brewster said.

Activities also were held in other Central Texas cities, including Copperas Cove.

About 18 volunteers from Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, provided manual labor for the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 801 E. Rancier Ave.

“It is good to give back,” said Staff Sgt. Arthur Harrison. “Sometimes you don’t see what people give to you but you feel good for giving back.”

Several members showed up at the doors of the Salvation Army early and were eager to volunteer their services Saturday, Store Manager Norris Dorsey said.

They helped clean the floors, wash the windows, organize the warehouse, unload a large truck and do some yard work, Dorsey said.

“It made a really big difference in the things that we can get done,” Salvation Army Lt. Jason Moore said. “Just having a helping hand … makes a huge difference.”

Because of the work Fox Troop is doing, the Salvation Army staff can spend less time working on those duties and more time attempting to sell the items at the thrift store, which means more money going right back into the community to help programs feed and clothe the homeless and more, Moore said.

Some members of Fox Troop made the day more meaningful by bringing their children along, including Pfc. Matthew Fejeran and his daughters, Triana Flores, 8; and Brianna Fejeran, 5.

“This brings back good memories,” Fejeran said while cleaning shelves with his daughters.

The three of them are used to doing volunteer work and have done activities in the past, including filling about 4,000 bags of food for people in Haiti, he said.

“We love giving back to our community,” Fejeran said. “It is almost like second nature.”

“It is nice to be doing something,” Triana said.

The day started with an opening ceremony at the Killeen Volunteer Center, 215 W. Ave. D, where Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison spoke to many volunteers before they started to change someone’s world for the better.

The city will honor those who volunteered their services on Nov. 15 with a banquet at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Respond To Flooding In Texas Communities, Continue To Monitor The Situation Across Texas

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) office has released the following update on the effects of TS Hermine’s trek across Texas as of 11 a.m., 9/8/2010:

  • Temple, Texas: Flooding has been reported in the area, and The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit (canteen) has responded flooding in Belton, which has affected approximately 25 homes. The unit and personnel are currently serving meals to victims and first responders and providing clean-up kits; further details of services provided and numbers served will be released later in the day.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas: The mobile feeding unit and EDS personnel traversed local flooded areas yesterday evening, but found no one in need of emergency service. No major damage has been reported in the wake of local flooding. Salvation Army EDS personnel and the mobile feeding unit are monitoring the situation, maintaining contact with local Emergency Management (EM) personnel, and remain on standby.
  • Killeen, Texas: Locally, a trailer park was evacuated and two shelters were open. The Salvation Army administrator, Lt. Jason Moore, contacted Emergency Management and offered assistance; EM personnel reported assistance was not needed at the present time.
  • Freeport, Texas: Reports of local flooding, but no reports of damage. Salvation Army EDS personnel are maintaining contact with the local Emergency Management office. The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit, staff, and volunteers remain on standby.
  • Kerrville, Texas: Local flooding has not caused major damage. Salvation Army EDS staff, volunteers, and the mobile feeding unit remain on standby and are ready to serve in any area, as needed. Maintaining contact with local Emergency Management office.
  • McAllen: No major damage caused by local incidents of flooding. In contact with local Emergency Management, and Salvation Army mobile feeding unit and EDS personnel are maintaining standby status.
  • Waco, Texas: Completed morning conference call with local Emergency Management personnel. Local flooding has been reported, but there are no reports of damage or a need for EDS assistance. Highway 35 was closed due to flooding and high winds on Sept. 7th; vehicles were reported to have been blown off of the highway (no reported injuries).
  • San Antonio, Texas: There have been reports of local flooding, trees downed by high winds, and power outages to homes in the area, but the Emergency Management office has not requested EDS response at this time. Salvation Army personnel and equipment are maintaining standby status.

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services personnel are monitoring the weather conditions across Texas. Widespread, sustained rain and high winds in some areas are concerns, as they may lead to flash floods, power outages, downed trees, property damage or loss, and injury.

Salvation Army EDS personnel and mobile feeding units stationed across Texas  stand ready to deploy within minutes of a request for assistance from their local Emergency Management office and will remain on standby as long as necessary. Additional Salvation Army EDS units and personnel can be called in from neighboring states, if necessary.

The Salvation Army will continue to monitor the situation and respond with Emergency Disaster Services as necessary.

For more information about The Salvation Army emergency disaster services program or to support The Salvation Army’s emergency relief efforts please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org, call1-800-SAL-ARMY, or contact your local Salvation Army Corps.  For current information on Salvation Army disaster activities, follow on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.

Back To School

Needy students receive school supplies from The Salvation Army

Brand-new pencils, colorful erasers, pristine notebooks—even new uniforms, backpacks, and shoes: These are the things that delight most Texas schoolchildren about returning to school. But for those children whose families can’t afford their back-to-school supplies, the start of a new year can be an uncomfortable experience.

“Everyone notices when your shoes have holes and when the teacher has to give you pencils and stuff,” one youngster tells us.

The list of required school supplies seems to be ever growing and can be a real financial concern for families, particularly those with multiple school-age children. For example, a Kindergartener is expected to arrive on the first day with a backpack, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, an eraser, a box of tissues, broad-tip markers, a pair of scissors, pencil case, and a spiral bound notebook. A student entering the 12th Grade needs almost 30 items including binders, a scientific calculator, geometry set, pocket dictionary, a thesaurus, highlighter pens, and a stapler, to name but a few.

Salvation Army locations throughout Texas are “Doing the Most Good” by coming alongside families to help furnish these essential school supplies. A snapshot of assistance provided includes Salvation Army locations in Borger (40 children), Killeen (325), Freeport (200), Lufkin (1,000), and Big Spring (350).

Partners of The Salvation Army are also stepping up to the plate to provide back-to-school assistance. On Tuesday, Aug. 10, more than 12,000 students in need will have the opportunity to visit Target stores nationwide and purchase must-have supplies as part of the Target School Spree. Each child, selected by The Salvation Army, will be awarded an $80 Target Gift Card to purchase much-needed back-to-school supplies. Target awarded all 40 of The Salvation Army divisions nationwide a total of $960,000 worth of Target Gift Cards for the shopping sprees. Nearly 500 Target stores will participate in the one-day Target School Spree event in select regions across the country. All participants will be given a reusable Target shopping bag and be paired with a volunteer chaperone for their fun day of back-to-school shopping.

New shoes are another great need for the start of the school, and, thanks to the generosity of contributors to the Amarillo Globe News Empty Stocking Fund, the Amarillo Salvation Army anticipates providing shoe vouchers to 800 young people. Similar programs are in place in Abilene, where the Abilene Board of Realtors partner with The Salvation Army to provide more than 700 new pairs of shoes, and in Austin, the third annual Georgetown “Shoe-In,” which is underwritten by donors, expects to distribute 1,000 pairs of new tennis shoes.

Salvation Army locations throughout Texas will be delighted to accept your donations of school supplies. For more information about The Salvation Army please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org, call1-800-SAL-ARMY, or contact your local Salvation Army Corps.

Salvation Army Provides Pastoral Care at Fort Hood

The Salvation Army is responding this morning to an urgent request from the State of Texas to report to Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, site of the tragic shooting incident of Thursday afternoon, to provide pastoral care and counseling to first responders, family members and children affected by this horrific tragedy.

Salvation Army Officer from Waco, Texas, Captain Russell Czajkowski, a former United States Marine, will be overseeing The Salvation Army’s pastoral response efforts on site with direction from Major James Taylor, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Secretary for Texas.

The Salvation Army is answering the call immediately and will report to the base to provide spiritual care today and through the weekend from 9:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Salvation Army has a long history of meeting not only physical needs of people in the aftermath of tragic events, but also emotional and spiritual needs.

“We are honored to answer this call and to provide what comfort and counseling we can to our brothers and sisters during the aftermath of this horrific day,” said Major James Taylor.