Salvation Army Teams Serve Irene First Responders

As Hurricane Irene heads for the eastern seaboard, The Salvation Army is moving personnel and vehicles into strategic staging locations in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. From these locations The Salvation Army will dispatch mobile feeding units to provide food, drinks and spiritual and emotional care to emergency responders and those affected by the storm. Disaster response teams are already on the ground from Florida to Maine, serving first responders, assisting the evacuation of low lying areas, feeding at shelters and providing a broad range of support before Hurricane Irene makes landfall.

“We are taking this hurricane extremely seriously and are working closely with partner agencies to ensure we can provide a strong response to any impacts of the storm,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army in the U.S. “Our personnel will be working overnight and throughout the weekend to guarantee we can meet the needs.”

In total, The Salvation Army has 370 canteens and five mobile feeding kitchens throughout the region. Collectively, these stations can provide several hundred thousand meals per day when operating at full capacity.  Also, The Salvation Army is standing up a broad range of services, in coordination with local, state and federal governments, including supporting shelter operations and evacuations.

The Salvation Army has already begun to serve those impacted by Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico by providing support to the homeless, sick and disabled. Several hundred thousand residents of Puerto Rico are currently without power and Salvation Army shelters continue to be available in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix . In the Bahamas, an emergency operations center has been established in Kingston. The Salvation Army has begun initial distribution of food and water supplies. There is also a plan in place to ship Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and bottled water to the Turks and Caicos later this week. In addition, representatives of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service Team have been asked to partner with the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to survey and assess the damage on the islands of Acklins and Mayaguana.

Yesterday, Commissioner William Roberts, the National Commander of The Salvation Army, declared Hurricane Irene a national disaster, which puts all units on alert status throughout the United States.  All divisions of The Salvation Army stand ready to assist by preparing staff, equipment and supplies to support impacted areas along the East Coast. The Salvation Army is asking residents of the entire East Coast, from the Carolinas to New England, to be prepared with an emergency disaster plan and heed all evacuation orders from public officials. Critical decisions need to be made ahead of time, before the storm makes landfall.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Irene, please visit http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/, www.facebook.com/salvationarmyindiana or www.twitter.com/SAIndiana.

Monetary donations:
The best way to help now is to call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or go to donate.salvationarmyusa.org/Irene to make a donation by credit card. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army Disaster Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Donations should be designated: “2011 Hurricane Season” Cell phone users may also text the word STORM to 80888. A one-time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill**.
**Messaging and date rates may apply. Donations are collected for The Salvation Army by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 80888 to stop. Reply HELP to 80888 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.
Donations of used Household Goods and Clothing:
Due to the high expense and time demands associated with delivering your gently-used household goods and clothing (gifts-in-kind), The Salvation cannot guarantee that any individual gifts-in-kind donated now will be sent to the disaster area. In time of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. By continuing to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store, you not only help your community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to www.satruck.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 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 spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.