Volunteers: The Army Behind The Salvation Army In Tuscaloosa
Laine J. Hendricks
Tuscaloosa, AL - May 20, 2011 - Three weeks after the devastating outbreak of tornados that evicted thousands of Alabama families from their homes and turned normal, everyday life in Tuscaloosa completely upside-down, The Salvation Army remains focused on serving tornado survivors who need a hand-up. Though the local Salvation Army is recovering from the loss of its two main facilities, the Tuscaloosa Corps and The Center of Hope, it remains focused on fulfilling the organization's mission: meeting human need . . . without discrimination.
The biggest factor that affects The Salvation Army's ability to serve in times of disaster is its large network of friends -- officers, staff and volunteers -- who travel from far reaches of the country to respond to urgent need in communities like Tuscaloosa.
"Currently, we have individuals from Florida, West Virginia, New York, California, Arizona and beyond, sharing their energy and expertise to help those in need right here in Tuscaloosa," said Major Steve Morris, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services operations in Tuscaloosa. "They're serving food, sharing stories, or simply offering a prayer or listening ear to those who have no one, or nowhere, else to turn to. They all have different backgrounds, but they all are here for one purpose -- to help the healing process begin."
To date, The Salvation Army has distributed over 30,000 meals (in Tuscaloosa alone) since the April 27 tornado outbreak, due in large part to volunteer support. Additionally, four locations around The Salvation Army's Southern Territory loaned their Emergency Response Canteens to the Tuscaloosa Corps, since the local canteen was too badly damaged to operate after the storm. These mobile kitchens have allowed The Salvation Army to reach survivors who have returned to their neighborhoods to sift through the remains of their homes or connect with surviving neighbors. The Salvation Army has also provided cold drinks to emergency personnel and construction crews working to remove the weathered rubble.
In addition, local volunteer support from the Tuscaloosa community-at large has been helpful in sorting donations, preparing food and serving meals.
"The support from the Tuscaloosa community has been incredible," said Major David Craddock, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army in Tuscaloosa. "We're indebted to the many volunteers from Tuscaloosa and beyond that have allowed The Salvation Army to aid our neighbors in the same manner we would if our facilities had not been left inoperable."
The Salvation Army has been operating in Tuscaloosa for over 100 years and remains committed to serving the community through this recovery process and in the years to come. An interim corps location has been established at 661-B McFarland Boulevard in Northport and has resumed Sunday worship services. This donated space will serve as the primary Salvation Army operating location until plans for rebuilding are confirmed.
Meal Distribution Within Tuscaloosa, AL:
The Salvation Army continues to serve the survivors of the April 27 tornado outbreak with food and emotional support. Two mobile canteens will be serving fresh meals, snacks, water and other drinks, as well as providing emotional and spiritual care to survivors in some of the most devastated neighborhoods around Tuscaloosa. Canteens begin service around 9:30a.m. and remain until 5:00p.m.
Canteen service locations for Friday, May 20, include:
The Salvation Army Center of Hope (adjacent lot)
Greensboro & 29th
Crescent Ridge Road & First Street (former Lucky Dollar Gas Station)
Donation Options for the Public:
The best way to help tornado survivors and rescue workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors. There are a variety of ways public can support The Salvation Army's tornado disaster relief efforts:
- Online: Visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org
- Text: Text "GIVE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation
- Phone: Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY - Designate gift "April 2011 Tornado Outbreak"
- Mail: Designate "April 2011 Tornado Outbreak" on check/money order, mail to: The Salvation Army Disaster Relief P.O. Box 100339 Atlanta, GA 30384-0339