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July 14, 2016

Relief for First-responders, Victims, Communities Enduring Shootings, Floods, Fire

Serving In Downtown Dallas

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Units have provided meals, drinks and refreshments throughout the night and early hours to law enforcement personnel and firefighters following the shooting of police officers in downtown Dallas earlier this month.

At the request of the Dallas Fire Department The Salvation Army Box 4 Canteen, operated by retired firefighters, was deployed and arrived on the scene at 10 p.m. In addition to providing hydration services and snacks, the custom design of this unit also offers bathroom facilities to first responders. The Box 4 team continued to serve until 7 a.m. when they were relieved by The Salvation Army Tarrant County/Lancaster disaster response team, which distributed 150 meals provided by a local partner. A third Salvation Army unit, the Dallas County Canteen, operated by the Dallas Temple Irving team, was deployed the next morning. The unit remained throughout the prayer vigil at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas, along with a team of Salvation Army officers, before returning to the Dallas Fire Department staging area. “The Salvation Army has been on the scene of the shooting all night and this morning providing meals and support,” said Major Jonathan Rich, The Army’s Dallas Fort Worth area commander. “We are in prayer for the families affected by this tragedy.”

Helping Neighbor Help Neighbors

On June 28, disaster relief personnel in West Virginia informed the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team that raging flood waters destroyed the main road and bridges surrounding the community of Newton, making it almost impossible to provide aid for the 100 people left without food, water, and electricity on Grannies Creek Road.

West Virginia experiences historic flooding.

The EDS team delivered food to those in need by utilizing Newton resident Wilbert’s pick-up truck. Wilbert, who lost everything but one box of valuables in the flood, utilized his vehicle to deliver the goods for his neighbors. The team loaded his truck with enough bread, meat, fruit, fresh produce, drinks, plates and silverware to provide each person with two full meals for flood survivors.

Due to the severity of the flood damage, Salvation Army EDS continues to provide essential goods for Newton’s residents and emotional and spiritual care as well. Emotional and Spiritual Care teams are made up of Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers trained to meet the needs of disaster responders and those affected by the flooding. 

So far, the teams have provided emotional and spiritual care to more than 500 flood survivors and first responders.

The Salvation Army provided spiritual care to more than 500 in wake of West Virginia flood.

Frank, one of the residents reached by responders, told them what the flood had already taken from him. “When the water came up, I picked up my dog and we went upstairs. The next morning, I went downstairs and found everything was gone, even the photos of my wife.” Franks wife had passed away not long before the floods. The loss of her photos was a heavy emotional blow beyond the damage to his property. “I lost all of her memories this week,” Frank says, “I'm thankful we made it out alive, but I miss my wife and I don't have anything to remember her by.”

Frank is the fourth generation to live on his family’s land. His house was built years ago by his great-grandfather. He had heard family stories of floods in the late 1800’s, but nothing like the flood of June 2016. The Salvation Army’s Disaster response will continue in the days, weeks, and months ahead, lending a helping hand and a listening ear. We can offer this aid in a time of crisis because of your support. Thank you from The Salvation Army and on behalf of the many survivors we are serving.

Support for Erskine Fire Victims

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster teams continue to help survivors of the Erskine, California Fire, a swift-moving blaze that began on June 23 in the Kern River Valley. The fire has destroyed 285 homes and 48,019 acres of natural forest.

The Army managed feeding operations at the designated Red Cross shelters in Kernville and Wofford Heights, providing three hearty meals per day to survivors who lost their homes to the blaze. In addition, a Disaster Services Canteen (mobile kitchen) visited several affected communities, providing meals, cold water and emotional support. This includes neighborhoods untouched by fire but left without power for almost a week due to the blaze.

Emergency workers provided 4,452 meals and 6,420 snacks to survivors. Several local groups and businesses have donated supplies and support to the response effort, including Sikh Riders of America, The Sandu Family, McNalley’s Fairview Lodge, Kern River Brewing Company, The Ridge Project, Michalangelo’s Pizza, Panda Express, Subway and Vons, among others.

Disaster response volunteers from Weldon, Tehachapi, Lake Isabella, Ridgecrest, Bakersfield and additional communities around California logged more than 1,000 hours of service.

When not deployed to large disaster events or taking part in ongoing disaster training, EDS professionals serve in communities all over the country in exercises and community events. Just a few examples of EDS service include funerals of police officers. fire house open houses, Law enforcement events, parades, Homeless veteran feeding programs and Summer Food Service (SFSP) programs. EDS professionals also engage in regular rigorous training and maintain emergency equipment so response teams are always well-prepared to help.

Support for First Responders in Orlando

Salvation Army disaster response teams from the Orlando and Sanford Corps in Florida supported first responders and families at Pulse nightclub, providing food, drinks and emotional and spiritual care following the armed attack that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded on June 12. 

Florida Governor Rick Scott visits with a Salvation Army disaster worker serving law-enforcement personnel near Pulse nightclub.

"Yesterday was a day of transition as we worked with the local, state and federal teams to ensure the safety of the personnel on the ground," said Major Ted Morris, Salvation Army Orlando area commander. "With the heat index reaching triple digits yesterday, people need to stay hydrated. Heat exhaustion is a serious concern."

In addition to its mobile canteens, The Salvation Army has also mobilized three Polaris utility task vehicles (UTVs) to distribute water and sports drinks to responder personnel throughout the secure area.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster response efforts visit our website at


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