“I’ll never forget the utter devastation of Charleston and surrounding areas and the desperation of the people in the communities,” said Major Thomas Louden of The Salvation Army.
Louden described the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo which made landfall in South Carolina 25 years ago. Its 15-day journey covered thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean and left widespread damage throughout Puerto Rico and the Southeast United States. The storm claimed the lives of 61 people, 27 in South Carolina alone.
“The Salvation Army stormed in to bring help and hope to those who needed it,” Louden said.
Canteens (mobile feeding units) and personnel were immediately sent to a safe location, one hour from the South Carolina coast. During the first two weeks, the organization worked continuously, 24 hours a day. Across 30 locations, The Salvation Army provided food, clothing, furniture and other personal items. Supplies were also sent to additional locations using the organization’s partner agencies.
The Salvation Army followed its principle of service: dedicated to God, the will to serve others, and supported by donors and friends. The numbers were daunting. Over 500,000 meals and 338,000 food boxes were provided. All in all, over 4,000 volunteers and organization employees provided almost 60,000 hours of service to over 600,000 people affected by Hurricane Hugo.
“The Salvation Army has been a hurricane of hope,” said one resident after receiving assistance.
The Salvation Army serves people affected by disasters worldwide. Disasters could be anything from a house fire, plant explosion, tornado, hurricane, tsunami to an earthquake. The organization provides short-term relief such as food assistance, shelter, emotional and spiritual care and clean up kits. The Salvation Army goes beyond immediate assistance to provide long-term relief including financial assistance and comprehensive case management.
The annual hurricane season is still underway. The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to prepare an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready campaign features a checklist and other helpful tips on its website, www.ready.gov.About The Salvation Army