Canteen Community Care

It was a humid Wednesday evening as the McAlester, Oklahoma canteen roamed the streets of Moore, Oklahoma. Hot barbeque sandwiches and cold beverages were being served from the window of the truck, as volunteers walked the streets, searching for people who looked like they were in need of hydration.

In the neighborhood where the canteen slowly rolled forward, there is a house that is standing on the edge of total destruction. Its roof’s shingles have been destroyed, windows are shattered, small craters in the brick can be seen from the driveway, but the house is still standing. Inside is a woman who has not left since the storms rolled through Moore on Monday. Because she has terminal cancer and her mobility is limited, she has chosen to stay inside of her home.

This woman was brought to the attention of Sargent Rob Daniels, via a concerned neighbor who knew of the situation. Immediately, Sargent Daniels stopped the canteen in front of her house, and approached the woman. Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours as the woman recounted story after story of her survival.

So often during disaster, the image of The Salvation Army is a box of warm food in a styrofoam box being delivered to an affected family, but The Salvation Army finds so much more depth in the delivery of a product. We find hope in hopeless situations. We find strength in the fragile. We find opportunities to spread the power that is the gospel of Jesus Christ to the very people he came to save.

Pillars of Strength

In the midst of horrific tragedy, stories of survival, strength and compassion are emerging. The Salvation Army is on the grounds, amongst the chaotic pile of rubble that once were homes and schools. There is no doubt, mourning is taking place in staggering numbers on the streets of Moore, Oklahoma tonight. The Salvation Army, known for its on-site food and hydration services, is quietly serving those who have been deeply affected by the storms with a team of trained stress management persons.

About two hours after the tornado hit, Major Steve Morris, Divisional Commander, was checking on The Salvation Army’s local church members. Upon entering the disaster site, he remembered that a soldier of the Oklahoma City Corps lived in the affected area. Concerned, he made his way to their residence to check on their health and welfare. Upon knowing all were okay, he prayed.

On Wednesday, Emotional and Spiritual Care teams had the opportunity to pray with 604 individuals while making contact with many others. Providing hope and compassion, be it a bottle of water and encouraging smile, or simply an open ear to hear stories of survival, The Salvation Army is a pillar of strength for those whose walls have literally crumbled around them.

Even while volunteers, employees and officers are on the ground in Oklahoma helping both those who are responding and those affected, The Salvation Army leadership is in prayer for all. International Leader of The Salvation Army, General Linda Bond sent the following note to share with her teams in Oklahoma:

“You will know that the Army world will be praying tomorrow, and of course, the people of Moore, Oklahoma will be placed before our Salvationists for prayer. How grateful I am to Salvationists who immediately moved into action and will continue to give the kind of practical service that resonates with the heart of Jesus. We are honoured to be linked with your people. God bless you richly.”

Meeting Unique Needs in Oklahoma

May 22, 2013
by Will Hale

Having lost everything in the Moore, Oklahoma tornado on Monday, the woman in the above photo along with her husband and child had only the clothes on their backs. Major Steve Morris of The Salvation Army counseled and prayed with the family and coordinated material assistance to help them get back on their feet.

Since Monday’s devastating storm, The Salvation Army has been helping families and individuals like this with food, hydration, and other basic needs, in addition to spiritual and emotional counseling.

The ministry of The Salvation Army is a unique part of our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS), but is oftentimes the service that provides the most comfort to disaster survivors. In an effort to better meet the emotional needs of Moore residents, an additional 14 Salvation Army officers from Florida traveled to Oklahoma to assist the Emotional and Spiritual Personnel already serving on the ground.

Working with partner organizations like the Southern Baptist Association and the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army in Oklahoma and Arkansas has been preparing and distributing meals and snacks to those affected by the tornado. EDS crews are also prepared to provide clean-up kits, hygiene kits, shower units and first-aid supplies, among other material assistance, to Oklahoma residents in need. 

If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma, please visitwww.SalvationArmyUSA.org to donate. For other ways to give, click here.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for the continued support of the American people as we work to serve all of those impacted by this tragedy,” said Major Ron Busroe, National Community Relations & Development Secretary.

Deadly Tornadoes Strike Moore, OK

May 21, 2013 – 2:10 AM – Oklahoma City, OK – The Salvation Army is on the ground in Moore, Oklahoma with multiple canteens and personnel coordinating with Local and State Emergency Management to serve first responders and those affected by the tornado.    We continue to provide service to hard hit areas from yesterdays’ storms which include Shawnee – multiple sites, Carney area, and Cleveland County.

Meals and hydration are being provided for first responders and those affected.   Major Steve Morris, Arkansas-Oklahoma Divisional Commander has been driving around the affected area.    Major Morris states “The devastation is far reaching both in human life, property and livestock loss.  The Salvation Army is honored to serve and provide sustenance to first responders involved in search and rescue, coordination efforts and more.  And, of course, all survivors will be provided spiritual and emotional care.”

Canteens involved in the response from Oklahoma include Central Oklahoma Area Command (Oklahoma City), Ardmore, Enid, Lawton, McAlester and Muskogee.  Also, disaster response teams from Pine Bluff, Jonesboro and Hot Springs, Arkansas are en route to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area to assist in response.  Personnel from across the division are also traveling to the area to form a Divisional Incident Command Team (which helps coordinate the overall response for The Salvation Army).  Central Oklahoma Area Command has established a local Incident Command team for response.

The Salvation Army is ready to provide the services mentioned above for as long as we are needed.  Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.  Please follow us at www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOKEDS, www.twitter.com/CindyFullerOKC, www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOK and www.facebook.com/SalArmyAOK for additional information.

Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized.

  • Donors are encouraged to give online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
  • You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”*
  • Donations in the form of checks designated to Oklahoma Tornado Relief may also be mailed to:

The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 12600
Oklahoma City, OK 73157

 

Your donations make a real difference.

  • A $10 donation feeds a disaster survivor for one day.
  • A $30 donation provides one food box, containing staple foods for a family of four, or one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning supplies
  • A $100 donation can serve snacks and drinks for 125 survivors and emergency personnel at the scene of a disaster
  • A $250 donation can provide one hot meal to 100 people or keep a hydration station operational for 24 hours
  • A $500 donation keeps a Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) fully operational for one day