Within an hour of a tornado touchdown in St. Louis April 10, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services was on-scene to lend support to first-responders and those affected by the severe weather throughout the area.
At 8:05 p.m., a tornado touched down in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, leaving thousands without power, damaging several homes, and bringing down trees and power lines throughout the area. By 9 p.m., two EDS canteens were on-hand at Armstrong Elementary School with several volunteers. The EDS team also responded in Sullivan, MO where a trailer park was affected by the storms.
Over the course of the next 4 days following the tornado, EDS staff and volunteers served 290 meals, 970 beverages, 1,235 snacks, and distributed some tarps as well.
According to St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, The Salvation Army’s canteen support is a blessing.
“They serve coffee and water, which may not seem like a big deal, but it certainly is,” Jenkerson said during the Army’s recent canteen dedication. “The canteens give people a chance to step back, take a breath, and regroup. Someone asks them if they’re OK and offers them a cup of coffee. That little break allows them to regroup and focus on the task at hand. I think firefighters drink more Salvation Army coffee than any other coffees combined.”
In addition to The Salvation Army’s response in Hazelwood, EDS volunteers were also dispatched to Sullivan, Union, and Arnold, where severe weather and strong winds caused damage as well.
No serious injuries were reported.
To learn how you can be the most prepared for inclement weather, visit our blog at http://salvationarmystlouis.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/we-wouldnt-kid-about-this-ever/.
The Salvation Army’s EDS canteens respond to more than just severe weather, serving more than 200,000 meals, drinks, and snacks each year to those who are hungry and responding to traffic accidents, missing child cases, and fires. The canteens are regularly used to provide meals, water, and clothing to St. Louis’ homeless community.
If you are interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army’s EDS team, contact volunteer coordinator Larry Pleimann at (314) 646-3188 to begin the application process.