The Importance of Corporate Partners to Salvation Army Disaster Response

April 18, 2024
Michelle Hartfield |

The Importance of Corporate Partners to Salvation Army Disaster Response

Severe weather capable of inflicting devastation in mere seconds can happen with little warning. The importance of preparation before disaster response cannot be understated, especially when dealing with unpredictable weather events. The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services teams are always striving to improve their response efforts with updated training, strategic storage of supplies for quick mobilization, and by keeping their fleet of specialized equipment up-to-date and in good working order. 


Support from donors and community partners is often vital in these efforts. This importance was recently highlighted when an EF-2 Tornado ripped through Slidell, LA in early April, destroying several properties including an apartment complex that was home to over 50 families. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Alabama Louisiana Mississippi had several new units available for a fast response. In 2022, Community Coffee sponsored the purchase of four VRU (van response units) for the Salvation Army fleet. Two of these units were placed in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  Shortly thereafter, Albertsons sponsored the purchase of an additional Disaster Response Unit (DRU-2) to be placed in Baton Rouge. 


In addition to the Community Coffee VRU, the New Orleans Area Command was already in possession of a DRU-2 donated by FedEx as part of their “Delivering for Good” initiative. As part of this initiative, 23 specially equipped vehicles were distributed to The Salvation Army across the globe. 


When the April tornadoes had passed and as soon as it was safe to enter the affected zones, Major Ed Binnix of the New Orleans Area Command deployed both the Community Coffee VRU and the FedEx DRU-2 for immediate response to serve first responders and work crews as they attempted to make the area safe for civilians to enter. 


The next day, Captain Brian Hicks with the Baton Rouge corps served with the Albertsons DRU-2 and their Community Coffee VRU as survivors began to return, search for belongings, and begin the cleanup process. The two teams coordinated efforts for the remainder of the response, offering meals, snacks, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care for those affected. 


“We are very blessed to have had such a robust response to this event. Our local Officers came to the aid of both those in need as well as each other, said William Trueblood, Divisional Disaster Director for the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division. “God was good to us as this event could have been significantly worse, but it was wonderful to see that if it had been, we were ready and able to answer the call. We remain grateful to our community partners who help enable these responses.”


About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 30 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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