Salvation Army Offers Relief After Irma

September 2017

The Salvation Army in Martin and St. Lucie counties was busy after Hurricane Irma, activating its disaster teams and deploying its mobile kitchen (canteen) trucks to serve food where needed. Their efforts were part of a massive, coordinated deployment of resources and disaster teams from Salvation Army corps across Florida and from as far away as Canada.

Captain Samuel Kim, local officer for Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties explained. “During disasters, we are in regular contact with our divisional disaster services team and acting at their direction. We also have liaisons at the local Emergency Operations Centers. The goal is to provide food and hydration as quickly as possible after the storm to first responders and victims in the areas most in need.”

After Irma passed through, the local corps was immediately asked to deploy its two canteen trucks to Ft. Lauderdale to serve in its hardest hit neighborhoods. Trained disaster volunteers left the next morning. Meanwhile, the local EOC asked the Army for meals for local firehouses and a shelter in Martin County.

“We always have food and supplies stored ahead of time so we’re ready to go when called,” said Captain Kim. “But it was still pretty hectic. We are fortunate to have very dedicated volunteers.”

After the canteens were deployed, the Salvation Army continued to serve locally, serving meals and water daily out of their van in neighborhoods in Ft. Pierce and Okeechobee.

A bright spot during the frenzied week occurred four days after the storm, when the corps’ brand new state-of-the-art canteen was delivered. Last year, the Martin County corps ran a campaign to raise funds to replace their worn, 23-year-old canteen. The truck’s arrival sparked additional activity, as the Army’s divisional disaster team wanted to utilize it immediately.

“We felt we needed to train our disaster volunteers because this new canteen is so different from the old one,” said Captain Kim. “We held a brief training and gathered a team to take it Ft. Lauderdale to relieve the old truck.”

The two canteens in Ft. Lauderdale were then directed to travel to Key West, where they both served thousands of meals daily. In the meantime, local volunteers used the old canteen to continue to serve in Ft. Pierce. Ten days after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, Salvation Army disaster volunteers had served 1950 meals locally.

“It makes such a difference in the community,” said volunteer Andrea Heitfeld. She says she was especially moved by the gratitude of the people in the some of the flooded neighborhoods they visited. “A little came up to us on his little skateboard and he touched me on the arm and he said, ‘thank you for your service.’ That was touching.”

The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major disaster since 1900. It does not place administrative fees on disaster donations. During disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support relief efforts. To donate, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit helpsalvationarmy.org.
Salvation Army Disaster Workers

Salvation Army Opens Food Pantry in Okeechobee

September 2017

In a push to expand the services it provides to local families in need, the Salvation Army is opening a food pantry in Okeechobee. Its service office, which is currently located in the New Horizons building at 1500 SW 2nd Avenue, is scheduled to have food available for pick-up beginning September 19th. Thanks to a contract with the Treasure Coast Food Bank, the office will be able to provide a variety of staples as well as frozen meats, and families will able to receive a week’s worth of food once a month.

The new service comes as a result of a recent merger of the Salvation Army in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties. The Stuart office is the new administrator for all three counties and will be gradually expanding its services and programs when feasible to meet the need in each of the communities.

“I am so grateful that we have an opportunity to serve the Okeechobee community with our food pantry,” said Captain Christine Kim, Corps Officer. “We know that there are a lot of people in need in this county and we look forward to working with other agencies to help them as much as we can.”

The service office is currently open Tuesdays from 9 am to 2 pm. Residents seeking food assistance will initially need to bring a photo ID, proof of residence and birth certificates of their minor children to complete the required paperwork. The office also offers assistance with electric bills in collaboration with Florida Power & Light’s Care to Share program.

For more information, call the service center on Tuesdays at 863-763-6020 or visit www.salvationarmyflorida.org/martincounty.
Okee Food Pantry

Salvation Army Hosts Vacation Bible School

June 2017

Music and laughter filled the air as over 80 children and teens recently enjoyed a week of Vacation Bible School at the Salvation Army of Martin County. The free program provided many fun activities, including games, crafts, experiments, songs and Bible lessons.

“It was a very exciting week,” said Captain Christine Kim, Corps Officer for the Salvation Army of Martin County. “We were so happy to be able to serve such a large group of kids. I think they will remember the experience for years to come.”

Several area businesses and donors contributed to the success of this year’s program. Ace Hardware, Flooring USA, Joann Fabrics and JD Parker Elementary donated materials which were used to create the stage backdrop and decorations. Lunch was provided to the participants with donations from Chick-fil-A, Little Caesar’s Pizza, McArthur Dairy, and supporter Bob Renna of Palm City. Much of remaining expenses were paid with a generous donation from the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.

“We are so grateful to our donors for helping us put together such a quality program,” said Captain Kim. “We simply couldn’t do it without their help.”
VBS 2017

The Salvation Army of Martin County named Non-profit Organization of the Year

May 2017

On May 18, nearly 200 community-minded individuals including nonprofit organizations, their leaders, board members, and volunteers joined together at the Santa Lucia River Club for 211 HelpLine’s Non-Profit Awards, Jewels of the Treasure Coast Luncheon. The event served as an opportunity to honor and reward organizations and individuals who work tirelessly to help those in need in the community.

The event was emcee’d by WPTV NewChannel 5’s Michael Williams and was sponsored by Publix SuperMarket, PNC Bank, Florida Power & Light, Guardians Credit Union, Florida Community Bank, KE Insurance Agency and Magellan Complete Care. Guests were also treated with a dynamic keynote speech by Andrew Treadwell, the administrative director of Legislative & Executive Communications at Indian River State College.

After guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, the winners were announced in nine categories.
  • Indian River County, Organization of the Year: Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • St. Lucie County, Organization of the Year: Hibiscus Children’s Center
  • Okeechobee County, Organization of the Year: Martha’s House
  • Martin County, Organization of the Year: The Salvation Army of Martin County
  • Rising Star of the Year: Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative
  • Animal Welfare Organization of the Year: Humane Society of St. Lucie County
  • Non-Profit Volunteer of the Year: Cindy Davenhall, American Cancer Society
  • Non-Profit Board Member of the Year: Richard Del Toro, Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie
  • Non-Profit Leader of the Year: Jeffrey Shearer, Tykes & Teens

The applications were rated by a panel of judges – Terissa Aronson (St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce), Vicki Davis (Martin County Supervisor of Elections), Darcy Flierl (Counselor & Consultant), Eric Flowers (Indian River County’s Sheriff’s Office), Jessica Parish (United Way of St. Lucie County), and Brady Talley (Indian River State College).

211 HelpLine is the Treasure Coast’s centralized access point for information and guidance, referrals, advocacy, crisis de-escalation and suicide prevention. As the go-to place for health & human service information, 211 HelpLine understands that they are only as good as the organizations they refer to, and because of that, they feel it is important to recognize all the good work being done to help those in need – hence the “Jewels of the Treasure Coast Luncheon.” 211 HelpLine is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by simply calling 2-1-1 or by texting your zip code to 898211. CHAT options are also available through the website at www.211treasurecoast.org.
211 Award Winners

Salvation Army Family Store Gets Facelift

May 2017

The Salvation Army’s Family Store in Stuart recently received a facelift with fresh paint on its exterior and new flooring throughout the building. The Army is hoping the changes will attract more customers.

“It’s been a difficult renovation because we had to close the store while the floors were being refinished,” says Captain Samuel Kim, local corps officer. “But we think our customers and volunteers will be happy with the results.”

The thrift store, located at 1860 SE Federal Highway in Stuart, accepts and sells a wide variety of gently-used clothing, furnishings, books, and many other items. Proceeds from the store support The Salvation Army’s programs and services, including Compassion House, its transitional shelter for homeless women and children.

For more information about the Family Store, or to arrange for a pick-up of your furniture donations, please call 772-223-1815 or visit www.salvationarmyflorida.org/martincounty.
Family Store