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Jun3FriThe Salvation Army is serving meals and water, helping to locate loved ones and providing financial aid to victims of the deadly central U.S.A. tornadoes. Update June 3 June 3, 2011
The use of social media has proved beneficial to The Salvation Army's tornado response in Joplin, Missouri, U.S.A. Members of Solace – a church and music venue – formed a partnership with The Salvation Army which ensured assistance could be provided as quickly as possible.
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Amber 'Zon' Gleeson, co-ordinator of Solace's relief effort, says that a praise concert was being held at the church when the tornado struck on May 22. People at the concert took shelter in the back of the building and, when the skies cleared, they came out and surveyed the destruction. 'The people that were here walked outside, saw people wandering the streets and went out to help.' she says. 'The Salvation Army was the first relief agency on the scene so we just went to them and asked what they needed.'
The church quickly gathered cases of water and – utilising social media including Twitter and Facebook – put the call out for supplies. 'We needed a trailer for the canteen on 20th Street and we had one within two minutes of putting the call out there,' says Amber. Another church member managed to obtain sports drinks.
The donations Solace received are substantial. Since the disaster The Salvation Army has served more than 23,000 meals to survivors and rescue workers. It would not have been able to meet needs as efficiently without the quick response and support of the the team at Solace.
The aid doesn't stop with food, clothing and supplies. One church member, Priscilla, was able to use her connections to provide a family in need with an electrician to help them make home repairs.
The Salvation Army has received remarkable support as it helps the people of Joplin to deal with the worst single-tornado disaster for more than 50 years.
Wal-Mart donated 36,000 bottles of water for Joplin relief efforts; Sprint gave 1,500 prepaid cell phones which were distributed to survivors; a Kansas City Salvation Army Advisory Board member secured several generous donations from Sam's Club including eight pallets of Gatorade drink, plus gloves and shopping carts that will be used at the Emergency Disaster Services store, where people affected by the tornado can buy everyday items with vouchers.
Sam's Club also provided one freezer truck and one 45-foot refrigerator truck. Folsom Distributing of Wood River, Illinois, has offered more than 100 cases of Gatorade, apple juice, orange juice and water. The Loading Dock, a restaurant in Grafton, Illinois, is collecting cases of water in exchange for its handmade salsa. Con-way Freight will pick up the cases of water and deliver them to The Salvation Army in Joplin.
A water bottle drive organised by the Kansas City Chiefs American football team brought in 200,000 bottles. The team will also be sending more than 100 volunteers on June 24 to assist The Salvation Army.
Monetary donations have also been flooding in, with almost $800,000 already received – including $150,000 from Wal-Mart and an astonishing half-million-dollar donation from Joplin residents Debra and David Humphreys.
Salvation Army Responds To Central U.S.A. Tornadoes
Update May 25
The Salvation Army in the U.S.A. is responding to tornadoes that brought devastation across the country's central states. Communities in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin were particularly badly hit.
Residents of Joplin, Missouri, are recovering from a tornado that hit on Sunday, May 22, killing at least 122 people. A further 750 people were injured by the deadliest single tornado to hit the region in 60 years. The Salvation Army has sent four mobile feeding kitchens to Joplin, each capable of serving several thousand meals to residents and first responders. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network has also arrived in Joplin to assist survivors in locating loved ones through a ham radio network.
A fundraising drive by the Kansas City Chiefs American football team included a request for people to donate crates of bottled water that will be distributed by The Salvation Army in Joplin.
In the neighbouring state of Kansas, one person is known to have been killed by a tornado that tore through Reading on the night of Saturday, May 21. The next day, two Salvation Army feeding kitchens – one stationary and one roaming – served meals, snacks and cold drinks to more than 250 people. The kitchens will continue to serve hundreds of meals each day through the rest of the week.
Salvation Army caseworkers are providing financial aid to tornado survivors to help with immediate needs such as food, clothing, medicine, shelter, bedding and baby products.
More than a dozen members of a Kansas motorcycle club have volunteered their services to The Salvation Army to help with clean-up efforts in Reading.
The Salvation Army's work in both Joplin and Reading is being boosted by support from the KSHB-TV, Kansas City's NBC Action News Station. All this week phonelines, manned by Salvation Army volunteers, will be open every day from 5-7 pm to accept donations. On Monday, May 23 alone, NBC Action News viewers generously donated US$59,300.
Mike Vrabac, vice president and general manager for KSHB/KMCI-TV, says: 'The station was pleased to partner with The Salvation Army and provide a vehicle for our loyal viewers in the Kansas City area to help our neighbours in Joplin and Reading. We'll be working together all week with The Salvation Army to raise funds and help anyway we can.'
In Minnesota, tornadoes brought devastation to northern Minneapolis, Fridley and St Louis Park. Damage caused by uprooted trees is making travel difficult but three Salvation Army mobile kitchens and crews are assisting families and emergency workers.
Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams also responded in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where a tornado on Sunday, May 22 damaged more than 200 homes and businesses. A mobile feeding unit was deployed and clean-up kits and vouchers for emergency lodging and clothing were provided to families impacted by the tornado and storm.
'Our teams will be here providing food, emergency shelter and cleaning supplies until recovery is complete,' says Terri Leece, Salvation Army Director of Disaster Services in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.