Continuing to Serve in Camden, AR

The El Dorado Salvation Army continues to respond in Camden, Arkansas after severe weather impacted the region on Thursday evening.    Power outages continue with street lights and stop lights out in the entire area causing danger to drivers and residents in the impacted area.   The City estimates power should be restored by late Sunday evening.

Reports estimate 13 homes were destroyed, five homes received major damage with the high school sustaining tremendous damage.   Teachers, students, members of the baseball and football teams are just a sample of the persons receiving meals and hydration from The Salvation Army.

Captain NaKisha Carr, El Dorado Corps Officer, reports there is a tremendous team effort at work this weekend.   The Salvation Army’s Youth Councils are being held at Camp Heart O’Hills in Tahlequah taking part of the El Dorado staff.   In the meantime, numerous employees, key volunteers, and soldiers from the El Dorado Corps (church) are helping to keep the daily operations going in El Dorado while 24 hour around the clock disaster response continues in Camden.

shot of canteensThe El Dorado Salvation Army is extremely grateful to Pine Bluff Salvation Army for the loan of their larger mobile feeding unit.   With both the El Dorado and Pine Bluff canteens available, the Pine Bluff canteen is now parked at thecorner of Cash and California providing service 24 hours a day.   Hot meals are being served three times a day with a special feeding after midnight to the service providers working around the clock to restore electricity to the area.   The El Dorado unit is roving in the affected areas beginning approximately 6 AM until 6 PM so as to adhere to the enforced curfew.

Incidentally, emergency disaster response training was held at Camp Heart O’Hills a couple of weeks ago.   Captain Carr reports three of the four who attended the training are actively using the skills and lessons learned during the recent training.

Over 400 meals, drinks and snacks have been served in addition to 200 sack lunches.  The Salvation Army will continue to provide food and hydration as long as there is a need.

Central Oklahoma Finds Record Generosity

Central Oklahomans gave more each day in the The Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle than ever before. The average daily income for The Salvation Army Red Kettles in 2013 was more than $22,000 up from $17,000 in 2012.

“We are so grateful for Oklahomans who stepped up and gave during this season when we needed it the most,” says Captain Carlyle Gargis, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command. “With less bell ringing days due to weather and a late Thanksgiving, we were praying for a miracle.”

2013 The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign
Central Oklahoma Area Command
Canadian County $29,327.44
Cleveland County $131,068.73
Oklahoma County $313,375.96
Paycom Donation $56,100.00 $3,330.00
Gold Coin and Trinkets $1,805.00
GRAND TOTAL $535,007.13

Last year, The Salvation Army had a total of 38 full bell ringing days. This year, only 24 full bell ringing days were available due to the harsh wintery weather conditions and a late Thanksgiving calendar date.

“The total raised for this year’s Central Oklahoma Area Command’s Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign is $535,007, and we are so grateful,” said Captain Gargis. “If we had the same time as last year to ring bells, we would have met, and even surpassed last year’s record-breaking campaign income of more than $600,000. Oklahomans were more generous than ever this Christmas!   These funds help us stock the organization’s food pantry, youth programs, outreach ministries, and other emergency needs.”

Oklahomans not only gave of their resources this year, they also gave of their time.   To provide Christmas assistance in 2013, the total number of volunteer hours required was 11,948, fulfilled by 4,553 volunteers.

Christmas Volunteers 2013
Volunteers 4,553
Volunteer Hours 11,948

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program was able to assist more than 2,000 households, and 9,052 individuals.   Donations and funds raised were used to provide area families with a Christmas food box and gifts for children and seniors.

“This year, Oklahomans provided the finest, quality gifts ever,” said Captain Charlotte Gargis, Associate Area Commander.   “We have received an abundance of ‘thanks yous’ and hugs from families who experienced the joy of Christmas by your generosity.   Because of Oklahomans generosity this Christmas season, these funds will continue to meet on-going needs thoughout the year.   As we say, ‘Need knows no season. Please know that your giving was appreciated and truly made a difference this Christmas and beyond.   Thank you for remembering those who are lost, lonely and sometimes forgotten.”

Nearly 100 Red Kettle locations were set up at various Central Oklahoma area businesses to collect donations though December 24. Those locations included Homeland, Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, Bass Pro Shops and more.

The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma provides services in three counties, including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County and Canadian County.

“The Salvation Army in Central Oklahoma is helping those in need, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day,” said Captain Carlyle Gargis.   “There are more demands than we can meet, but with the community’s continued support year round, we are able to provide relief from suffering and set a course for transformed lives.”

Relief for Van Buren County

AR041513The Salvation Army returned to Botkinburg, Arkansas on Friday to continue meal service to first responders, volunteers and those affected by the tornado that struck the small town on Wednesday evening. Initial assessments indicate 33 homes were damaged, while leaving many homes and businesses without power due to multiple downed power lines in the rural community.

The Salvation Army provided 404 meals, 270 drinks and 348 snacks on Thursday and Friday. The Salvation Army feeding efforts are supported in part by a gift from our partners at Southwest Energy. Lt. Russell Clay reports he served a family who watched the home in front of them and behind them receive heavy damage while their home remained unscathed. Although the family was without power, they were out to help their neighbors as soon as the roads became passable.

2AR041513Another volunteer reports he was out with some first responders out on Hardy Hill (an area heavily hit) where they visited with a 97 year old lady outraking her yard while waiting on assistance for a large downed tree over her well. They were able to provide lunch and pray with her as additional assistance arrived.

Local Emergency Management released The Salvation Army crew on Friday afternoon after a surge of community support from fellow neighbors.