When disaster strikes around the world, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services is always among the first to respond. Deploying trained officers, staff and volunteers, The Salvation Army emerges within the heart of disaster, providing food, water, spiritual and emotional care along with practical assistance to address the immediate and long-term needs of those who are affected.
While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.
Disaster Services At Work
Soon after the category EF5 tornado that devastated much of the Joplin community, The Salvation Army spent approximately $2.5 million on aid to the survivors. This aid included emergency food and shelter in the hours and days immediately after the tornado, and continuing ever since with assistance in restoring homes, securing mortgages, renting apartments and anything else to get lives back on track.
Most recently, The Salvation Army has provided an additional $2.55MM in discretionary grants to fund Joplin recovery projects. The Salvation Army’s funding will help move the community closer to recovery, particularly the goal of restoring housing for residents who experienced residential destruction or damage from the tornado.
Using monies donated for Joplin’s tornado recovery efforts, The Salvation Army provided $1.75 million to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) / Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc., (CFSWMO) to advance housing improvements, counseling and case management to serve individuals and families affected by the May 2011 tornado.
In addition, The Salvation Army announced a separate grant of $800,000 to Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity to continue its housing recovery work.
The CFSWMO has approved several specific recovery projects using The Salvation Army funds:
- $350,000 for Rebuild Joplin, which is working to complete its remaining caseload. Rebuild has focused on homeowners who needed additional assistance for rebuilding or restoring their homes;
- $441,000 for Catholic Charities, to continue home repairs for homeowners affected by the tornado;
- $262,000 for Project Hope, which will continue to provide mental-health counseling services for Joplin Public Schools’ students affected by the tornado;
- $140,000 for Leffen Center for Autism, for expenses incurred by tornado damage that were not covered by insurance or gifts;
- $40,000 for the United Way of Southwest Missouri, for their Circles Program, which provides counseling; and
- $40,000 for Crosslines for supplying food for families still in need.
The remaining $477,000 is in the Joplin Recovery Fund, which accepts applications on a rolling basis for tornado recovery projects and programs. To date, the Joplin Recovery Fund has made 89 grants totaling $5.46 million since September 2011. For more information about the fund or the grant application process, visit: joplinrecoveryfund.org. The Grant Review Committee considers grant proposals on a rolling basis.
Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity announced specific plans for using The Salvation Army funds:
In December, The Salvation Army and Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity announced plans to construct seven (7) Habitat houses for partner families in need who were affected by the May 2011 tornado. The partnership with The Salvation Army begins with houses being constructed for the DuRossette family at 2314 Connor and the Martin family at 2117 Pearl. The next five (5) houses to be constructed will begin in this year’s construction season. The Salvation Army has provided the funds for these houses for partner families, and Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity is taking applications for this home ownership opportunity.
The Salvation Army Midland Division continues its assistance and spiritual support in Ferguson, Missouri, preceding and following the civil unrest that has occurred. In December, the Salvation Army distributed hundreds of toys through its Toy Town program. Some 387 Ferguson children whose parents cannot afford Christmas presents will receive them through this program. The program is being funded through The Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights campaign, which runs through January 31.
Toy Town also provides families with a voucher redeemable at local grocery stores to purchase the basics for a holiday meal. Through Toy Town and its General Assistance program, which serves low income households without children, The Salvation Army is issuing over 4,600 food vouchers this season.
Earlier in December, The Salvation Army took 70 children from Ferguson, Missouri, Christmas shopping at Walmart. The children were provided with $100 gift cards to purchase toys, clothing, personal care items and other must-have items just in time for the holidays. This effort was made possible by support from individual and corporate donors such as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Subway, Maplewood Commons and Ferguson Walmart Supercenters and Emerson.
Additionally, The Salvation Army regularly participates in multi-agency response centers directed at providing short-term emergency assistance to residents and employees in the Ferguson area, who were impacted by ongoing incidents of civil unrest. Assistance is offered to prevent loss of shelter and utilities, and access to crisis and mental health services in order to execute the emergency relief grants provided by St. Louis County.
Since mid-August, The Salvation Army has served thousands of Ferguson-area residents, who had needs that were exacerbated by the events in their neighborhood. This assistance included working with 323 households to provide $74,036.16 in utility assistance, and serving 710 hot meals, 1,134 drinks and 1,639 healthful snacks. Related to these efforts, The Salvation Army has provided support to law enforcement officers and the National Guard responding to incidents in Ferguson. In addition, The St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) requested The Salvation Army support the Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) Command Center with donations management.
With temperatures expected to plummet to 20 degrees or colder, The Salvation Army joined forces with the City of St. Louis and other social service agencies to provide assistance to unsheltered homeless men, women and children.
The Salvation Army provided all evening meals as well as cots and blankets to individuals seeking assistance and shelter at the Emergency Cold Weather Overflow Shelter opened by the City of St. Louis. The shelter, located at the 12th and Park Rec Center, will be open Tuesday, December 30th and Wednesday, December 31st from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to accommodate unsheltered homeless men, women, and children.
In addition, Salvation Army Community Centers, also known as Corps, will serve as warming stations when wind chill is expected to -15 degrees or less or the air temperature is 15 degrees. The list includes, but is not limited to Salvation Army Corps located in St. Louis (Temple Corps, Family Haven) Alton, Granite City, East St. Louis, Arnold, Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Jefferson City, Columbia, Branson and Springfield.
St. Louis City officials, accompanied by the fire department and The Salvation Army, came to the rescue of the residents of the Penrose Apartments in mid-January after it was discovered they were living with the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning and no running water. The Salvation Army provided hot lunches, warm beverages including coffee and hot chocolate and bottled water to displaced residents.