Alexandria, Virginia (August 26, 2011) – In advance of Hurricane Irene, Commissioner William Roberts, the National Commander of The Salvation Army, today declared a national disaster, which puts all units on alert status throughout the United States. All divisions of The Salvation Army stand ready to assist by preparing staff, equipment and supplies to support impacted areas along the East Coast. The Salvation Army will provide food, drinks and spiritual and emotional care to emergency responders and survivors in impacted areas between the Carolinas and New England. “While it is customary to declare such an event a ‘national’ disaster after the hurricane has reached land, I am taking the step to make that declaration today in consideration of various logistical decisions that must be made,” said Commissioner Roberts. “As The Salvation Army now moves into strategic positions that will put us directly at the point of need, we are praying for God’s mercy upon all of those who will be caught in the direct path of this very large storm.”
The Salvation Army has already begun to serve those affected by Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico by providing support to the homeless, sick and disabled. Nearly 800,000 residents of Puerto Rico are without power and Salvation Army shelters continue to be available in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix . In the Bahamas, an emergency operations center has been established in Kingston. The Salvation Army has begun initial distribution of food and water supplies. There is also a plan in place to ship Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and bottled water to the Turks and Caicos later this week.
Salvation Army locations across the United States have mobile feeding units on standby – these units are able to provide hundreds of thousands of meals per day if needed. In the Carolinas specifically, the Army has 30 mobile canteens able to provide in excess of 45,000 meals when operating at full capacity. An Incident Command Team has been established in Charlotte, NC and will deploy to the Carolina coast once the storm passes.
The Salvation Army is asking residents of the entire East Coast, from the Carolinas to New England, to be prepared with an emergency disaster plan and heed all evacuation orders from public officials. Critical decisions need to be made ahead of time, before the storm makes landfall.
For more information on The Salvation Army’s preparation and response to Hurricane Irene, please visit http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/, www.facebook.com/salvationarmyindiana or www.twitter.com/SAIndiana.
The best way to help now is to call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or go to donate.salvationarmyusa.org/Irene to make a donation by credit card. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army Disaster Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Donations should be designated: “2011 Hurricane Season” Cell phone users may also text the word STORM to 80888. A one-time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill**.
**Messaging and date rates may apply. Donations are collected for The Salvation Army by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 80888 to stop. Reply HELP to 80888 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.
Donations of used Household Goods and Clothing:
Due to the high expense and time demands associated with delivering your gently-used household goods and clothing (gifts-in-kind), The Salvation cannot guarantee that any individual gifts-in-kind donated now will be sent to the disaster area. In time of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. By continuing to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store, you not only help your community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to www.satruck.org.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.