The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services program (EDS) seeks to provide physical, emotional and spiritual comfort in times of disaster. Our disaster volunteers are trained to assist in all kinds of emergencies by providing food, clothing, shelter or financial resources to those affected by such calamity. Working with local emergency management and other community disaster organizations, The Salvation Army collaborates to provide the best possible services to those in need.
FOOD SERVICE: Often, the most visible Salvation Army disaster service is the hot meals and drinks served to disaster survivors and emergency workers. Food may be prepared and served at congregate feeding sites, such as Salvation Army facilities, shelters or mobile canteens. line
SHELTERING: During a disaster, The Salvation Army may open temporary shelters to provide emergency housing to evacuees or those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the disaster. A disaster shelter may be located in schools, churches, community buildings or Salvation Army facilities.
EMOTIONAL & SPIRITUAL CARE: The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional support to disaster survivors and emergency workers coping with the stress of a disaster. This support may include comforting the injured and bereaved, conducting memorial services, and providing chaplaincy services.
DONATIONS MANAGEMENT: The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in collecting, sorting, and distributing donated goods. During a disaster, The Salvation Army may open warehouses to receive and sort donations and establish distribution centers to dispense these goods directly to disaster survivors.
CLEANUP & RECONSTRUCTION: The Salvation Army may support cleanup and rebuilding activities after a disaster by distributing cleanup supplies; such as mops, brooms, buckets, shovels, detergents and tarps to disaster survivors or by deploying volunteer teams who can help residents clean up their damaged homes. During catastrophic events, The Salvation Army may also coordinate volunteer rebuilding teams and warehouses to distribute reconstruction supplies, such as lumber and sheetrock.
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: The Salvation Army provides direct financial assistance to disaster survivors through a system of trained caseworkers. In the early phases of a disaster event, emergency financial assistance is focused on survivor’s essential needs: food, clothing, and shelter. Additional assistance may be provided through vouchers, checks, or debit/gift cards.
CASE MANAGEMENT: Once immediate needs have been met, The Salvation Army transitions its financial assistance program into long-term recovery assistance, and participates in community based “unmet” needs committees.
HISTORY OF THE SALVATION ARMY’S EMERGENCY DISASTER SERVICES
The Salvation Army’s Disaster Services program officially began on Sept. 8, 1900 when a hurricane devastated Galveston, TX, leaving more than 5000 people dead. Salvationists went on to serve alongside the military in WWI, where “Donut Lassies” supplied fresh donuts and coffee to men on the fighting lines, helping to create the USO and Red Shield Clubs of WWII. More recently, The Salvation Army served at Ground Zero following 9/11 (remaining at the scene for nearly two years), in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, in Haiti and Chile after the 2010 earthquakes. Often, the most visible Salvation Army disaster service is the hot meals and drinks served to disaster survivors and emergency workers. Food may be prepared and served at congregate feeding sites, such as Salvation Army facilities, shelters or mobile.line
WHAT WE DO
The Salvation Army is a national first responder in times of disaster. Our responsibilities include, but are not limited to; dispatching mobile feeding units to provide food, water and other basic essentials on scene, set up comfort stations, transitional housing, and provide clean-up supplies, as well as trained support staff and emotional and spiritual counselors.
The Salvation Army has local, regional and national disaster services programs where staff and volunteers are first on the scene and last to depart, honoring a century-old commitment, “To serve those in need, at the time of need and at the place of need.”
WHY WE DO IT
Imagine that a hurricane, tornado, or fire completely destroys your home or your entire neighborhood. If you are one of the more fortunate ones you have resources to get you through until the insurance kicks in. But if you are one of the majorities of people who can barely make it from paycheck to paycheck an event like that could be devastating.
Where do you turn for basic needs like a roof over your head, clothing, medicine, or your next meal? Where do you go to start picking up the pieces of your life? That’s what we here at The Salvation Army do during and after a disaster.
Sometimes the need is as simple as a bottle of water to a fireman or a helping hand to clean up after a tornado or hurricane. Sometimes it might just be a shoulder to cry on or someone to pray for you. Whatever it is, we’re here for you. Look for our Emergency Disaster Services vehicle; know that we are on the job and we are here for you and your family in your time of need.
HOW TO HELP
Become a Member of a DERTeam!
DERTeams are teams of three people that can be deployed for two week tours of duty away from Panama City as disasters strike. These teams are trained in food preparation and canteen operations. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the Disaster Services ministry please contact Tom Williams @ 850-769-5259.
Trainings are scheduled throughout the year and many are hosted right here in Panama City. Tom Williams is certified in teaching the following:
· Introduction to Salvation Army Disaster Services
· Medic/First Aid
· ServeSafe Food Preparation
· Salvation Army Incident Command System
“We Combat Natural Disasters with Acts of God.”
***Disaster Services Determined by Individual Community Need***