Our 48th Wedding Anniversary Was A Disaster!

Having made plans to go out for a nice, quiet dinner for two in their home town of Fort Worth, Texas, Frank and Bera Calvert were looking forward to celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary. However, Hurricane Alex had plans of its own as it surged towards the South Texas coastline.

Frank and Bera first volunteered with The Salvation Army as bell ringers while living in Daytona, Florida, and have always appreciated the ministry of the organization. Since moving to Texas they have been part of The Salvation Army Disaster Team for almost seven years. Married in Amarillo in 1962, the Calverts are responsible for The Salvation Army Disaster Canteen (mobile kitchen) that serves Tarrant County. On June 29, the eve of their anniversary, they received an emergency call for assistance. They were requested to be part of the State Task Force, meeting in Austin, preparing to be deployed to South Texas in anticipation of Hurricane Alex making landfall.

“It’s just another day to us and is the second time we’ve been called out on our anniversary,” says Frank. “We’re always together, and we have so much fun serving people every day.”

Since joining The Salvation Army Disaster Team the couple has responded to eight hurricanes and countless tornados, floods, fires, and other natural disasters. The Disaster Canteen is capable of serving up to 5,000 meals per day, catering to first responders, other relief workers, and those affected by the disaster.

“There are times, like when we helped with Hurricane Rita, that you see people who have lost everything. They don’t even have food. Then they drive up, you hand them food, and they have tears in their eyes,” Bera says. “That’s what keeps you going. With the help of God, we are able to help them and love doing it.”

ONE WEEK AFTER THE FLOOD, SALVATION ARMY EMERGENCY DISASTER SERVICES CONTINUE IN CORPUS CHRISTI

A week after heavy rains caused flooding in areas of Corpus Christi, Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) personnel report they are continuing to serve meals and drinks to displaced and affected residents from the mobile feeding unit (canteen) and to provide other types of assistance—cleaning kits, blankets, clothing, shelter, and financial assistance—as necessary.

In fact, says Major Daniel New, administrator of the Salvation Army in Corpus Christi, the number of meals served has increased slightly each day of service. “On Monday the 20th, we served lunch to 75 at the Ben Garza temporary shelter. The following day we provided lunch at the shelter to 50. On Wednesday we served dinner to 200. Thursday and Friday, we served dinner from the canteen, providing some 700 meals on those days. Over the weekend, we used our Shelter’s kitchen to make boxed lunches that were then distributed by The American Red Cross. We served dinner from our own canteen in the field to approximately 500 individuals.”

The Corpus Christi community has responded quickly and with compassion toward those affected by these floods, providing The Salvation Army with donations of a 48-foot cooler/freezer trailer, two trailers of donated items from the local food bank, and numerous other gifts of food and clothing from individuals. “We are proud of the way our neighbors have responded during this time of crisis,” says Major New. “We know that when we tell the community there is a need, Corpus Christi will help us meet that need.”

Major New and his EDS personnel will meet with representatives from the City of Corpus Christi today, the 27th, to determine how much longer Salvation Army assistance will be needed. “We are scheduled to continue EDS operations through Wednesday, the 29th,” Major New says, “but that date may change after we meet with the City. However, we are prepared and committed to serve our Corpus Christi neighbors for as long as they have a need.”

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.

SALVATION ARMY IN BERMUDA RESPONDS AFTER HURRICANE IGOR MOVES OFF THE ISLAND

Bermuda:- The Salvation Army continues its involvement in relief efforts at the Cedarbridge emergency shelter and on the streets as hurricane Igor now begins its movement away from Bermuda.  Over the past 48 hours individuals seeking shelter from the storm have increased to over 100, and volunteers have prepared and served over 450 meals.  For those individuals within the homeless community who decided to remain on the streets we have ensured team members are deployed to provide food and any assistance that might be required.

As the storm continues its northwest course and moves away from the island The Salvation Army stands ready to provide assistance as required or requested in coordination with government emergency management officials. As clean-up begins regional Salvation Army sites are ready to provide food to maintenance crews and other authorities who will be actively working to get the island back to a state of normalcy.

“It has been incredible to observe the cooperation and commitment of our volunteer and officer team in response to this event,” says Major Shawn Critch, Divisional Commander, Bbermuda.  “Our responsibility is to the homeless and our team has worked tirelessly over the past five days to ensure we were ready to serve ‘our’ people with dignity and respect.”

“This experience has been challenging, fulfilling, and enjoyable, says Carol McDowall, coordinator for our food services team.  “But most of all it has been very rewarding when you hear the ‘thank yous’ and see the smiling facing of those here at the shelter that we are here to serve.  We are, and have been, the Bible in action.”

Mr. Rudolph Hollis, volunteer Emergency Disaster Services coordinator, has played a vital part in the relief effort.  “Our focus has been, and will continue to be, the people of Bermuda.”

The Emergency Management Organization will be meeting later this morning to determine next steps for Bermuda and her people.  The government liaison with The Salvation Army, Mr. Alfred Maybury, will provide further direction later today as to the expectations for the Army as we now enter the post-storm stage.

The Bermuda division is grateful for the prayerful support from many throughout the Canada and Bermuda Territory and indeed around the world.

SALVATION ARMY EMERGENCY DISASTER SERVICES TEAM PROVIDING FOOD, DRINKS TO CORPUS CHRISTI RESIDENTS DISPLACED BY FLOODING

Corpus Christi, Texas –  After more than 7 inches of rain fell over the course of two days, areas of Corpus Christi experienced severe flooding on September 20, 2010. Displaced residents were sheltered in the Ben Garza Gym at 1815 Howard Street overnight.

Trained Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) personnel and a stocked mobile feeding unit (canteen) were immediately dispatched to the temporary shelter. The canteen allows Salvation Army staff to provide hot food and drinks to the flood victims as well as shelter and emergency personnel on-site. At any EDS response site, trained Salvation Army personnel are always available to provide emotional and spiritual counseling to crisis victims and emergency workers.

“We were told last night to expect 70 to 100 individuals in the temporary shelter,” says Major Daniel New, administrator of The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi. “And we were able to provide a hot dinner including chopped brisket sandwiches, and drinks—coffee, cocoa, and water— to those individuals.”

In addition to the meals and drinks served at the shelter yesterday, the canteen patrolled the city streets in low-lying and flood-prone areas, distributing another 100 drinks and 50 hot meals. “We were also able to provide a number of blankets and jackets to people in need,” Major reports. “We’re also seeing increased numbers in our own, permanent shelter.”

As rain continues to fall on Tuesday, September 21, the expectation is that more residents may be displaced and require temporary shelter. Salvation Army EDS personnel and the canteen will return to the Ben Garza Gym today to provide a hot lunch (beef stew over rice) and drinks to the evacuees before beginning another 3-hour patrol of the city, serving anyone in need.

“With rain continuing today, and perhaps for the rest of the week,” says Major New, “we are preparing for increased numbers today. We are prepared to serve lunch to 150 at the temporary shelter today and perhaps another 100 meals while on patrol.”

The Salvation Army can also provide the flood evacuees with clean-up kits to be used once they are allowed to re-enter their residences. Clean-up kits provide brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies to displaced residents.

With permanent operations located in Corpus Christi, The Salvation Army will continue to provide follow-up assistance to evacuees as necessary after they are able to return to their homes.

“The Salvation Army has been called to serve several times in the last week,” Major New says. “And we remain ready, in the face of any local crisis and its aftermath, to provide not only for our neighbors’ physical needs for food and hydration, but also their spiritual and emotional needs for counseling and comfort.”

Salvation Army EDS personnel and the canteen will remain on standby and prepared to serve while the forecast continues to predict rain.

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, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or contact your local Salvation Army Corps. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days and provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit.

For current information on Salvation Army disaster activities, follow on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.

SALVATION ARMY EMERGENCY DISASTER SERVICES TEAM RESPONDED TO EXPLOSION IN NORTH BEACH AREA OF CORPUS CHRISTI

Corpus Christi, Texas – Approximately five hours after an explosion in the North Beach area of Corpus Christi yesterday, The Salvation Army was requested to provide Emergency Disaster Services on-site to victims displaced by the explosion as well as emergency responders in the area.


Major Daniel New, administrator of The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi, Texas, reports that trained Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) personnel and a stocked mobile feeding unit (canteen) were immediately dispatched and arrived on-site approximately 30 minutes after the request was made. “We were not contacted until emergency personnel were sure our equipment and personnel could enter the area safely,” Major New explains. “As soon as it was clear the danger had passed, we were requested to mobilize.”


The canteen allows Salvation Army staff to provide food and drinks to victims and emergency personnel. At any EDS response site, trained Salvation Army personnel are always available to provide emotional and spiritual counseling to victims as well as witnesses and emergency workers. “We stand ready to serve our community in any crisis situation,” Major reports. “We are equipped to meet not only their physical needs for food and hydration, but also their spiritual and emotional needs for counseling and comfort.”


Salvation Army EDS personnel and the canteen remained on-site and in service through the night, serving 200 beverages and 28 meals to victims and first responders.


The canteen and EDS returned to their Salvation Army home base in Corpus Christi after 9 this morning, once all victims and emergency personnel were clear.

SALVATION ARMY ESTABLISHES NEW RECOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE IN HAITI TO BRING TOGETHER INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE AND LOCAL NEED

After eight months of emergency response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country of Haiti, The Salvation Army is moving to a new phase of recovery and long-term development that will address continuing humanitarian needs.

This week, with the encouragement and support of The Salvation Army’s international leadership and the leaders of its Caribbean Territory, a new Haiti Recovery and Development Office has been inaugurated in Port-au-Prince. Under the leadership of Major Lucien Lamartiniere (Divisional Commander, Haiti), Major Ron Busroe, as director of the new office, will coordinate a team of five Salvation Army officers whose mandate is to direct all post-earthquake recovery and development initiatives carried out in Haiti in the months to come, through one streamlined implementation plan.

Major Ron Busroe is from The Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territory but has experience of working on Haiti where he was divisional commander from 2001-2007.

Major Busroe and the other team members – Major Carol Busroe (USA Southern Territory), Majors Robert and Rae Doliber (USA Central Territory) and Majors Jean and Christine Volet (Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory) – are committed to working closely with donors and other non-government organizations to ensure that all projects incorporate both the needs of the community and the mission of The Salvation Army in Haiti. It is intended that the rest of the team will be made up of local Haitians who will be appointed in due course.

The changes in Haiti follow the appointment of Lt. Colonel Heidi Bailey as International Haiti Earthquake Response Director at International Headquarters. Lt. Colonel Bailey is directing and coordinating all Haiti earthquake support to the Caribbean Territory. She will liaise with local Salvation Army leadership in Haiti and donor offices around the world.

PRIME MINISTER LENDS A HAND AS SALVATION ARMY IN NEW ZEALAND MOVES INTO SECOND PHASE OF QUAKE RELIEF

As The Salvation Army responds to the earthquake and aftershocks that hit New Zealand on 4 September, spirits were buoyed on the evening of 7 September when New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited a large welfare centre at the Addington Raceway. Mr. Key took his turn serving dinner alongside the Salvation Army catering crew.

The response is now moving from initial emergency relief into a second phase. Ten counselors and social workers have been sent to Christchurch to help residents traumatized by the disaster. Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross says the Army has also secured warehousing and refrigeration facilities to step up its provision of food parcels to those in urgent need.

Salvation Army Community Ministries Secretary Ian Hutson says the counselors and social workers will be located at the emergency welfare centers at Addington and Linwood, where The Salvation Army is already working. Some may also be used to bolster social workers already working at Salvation Army Community Ministries centers. They will work in conjunction with Christchurch mental health services.

‘Some people will simply want to vent their emotions but for many the full emotional impact may not surface for weeks or months,’ Major Hutson says. The first group of counselors will be in the city for a week.

‘Once we’ve assessed the need for these services, we will know what other resources will have to be added,’ adds Major Hutson. Counselors and social workers from Salvation Army centers across New Zealand and Australia will be available if demand dictates, he says.

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army is starting to channel food and goods provided by New Zealand companies to its food banks, as demand for food and personal care products climbs. Major Ross says distribution will be through The Salvation Army’s network of Community Ministry centers.

The Salvation Army is feeding around 2,000 people a day at two Christchurch welfare centers, 400 of whom have been staying at the centers overnight. The Salvation Army is also feeding people in the outer Christchurch suburb of Rangiora.

Local emergency services coordinator Major Rex Cross says those coming to the welfare centers have been frightened and need constant reassurance for the first hour or so. Children are particularly scared and want their parents close at all times.

In setting out logistics and protocols around the provision of aid, The Salvation Army in New Zealand is utilizing expertise from the experience of the Australian Salvation Army, gained during that country’s devastating 2009 bushfires.