Salvation Army emergency service crews are on hand in fire-affected areas of New South Wales, Australia, manning evacuation centres and serving meals to emergency services personnel and residents forced out of their homes by bushfires. One person is known to have died because of the fires, with hundreds of homes destroyed and many hundreds of people forced to evacuate. As well as providing meals, The Salvation Army is giving pillows, blankets and immediate aid to affected individuals and communities.

The Salvation Army has emergency services volunteers and personnel at various evacuation centres across New South Wales, including: Central Coast, Raymond Terrace, Lithgow, Blue Mountains and Picton. At Raymond Terrace, crews continue to serve 1,200 meals a day to firefighters and expect to remain in service until at least Tuesday.

A Salvation Army emergency vehicle provides meals to 80 residents in the Blue Mountains area west of Sydney A Salvation Army emergency vehicle provides meals to 80 residents in the Blue Mountains area west of Sydney

A Bushfire Relief Appeal was launched on Friday, October 18, in response to the devastation, with more than AU$500,000 released by The Salvation Army on Sunday to aid the bushfire relief and recovery effort. The Salvation Army continues to provide care and support to people affected by the fires.

Major Jeff Winterburn has thanked Australians for their tremendous generosity and offers of support. "We've been overwhelmed by the level of support for The Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal, which has already raised more than $300,000," he says. "We'd like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who's donated." The major says the best way to support is through financial donations, which can be immediately distributed to communities in the form of vouchers and material aid.

The Salvation Army is grateful to Woolworths, Westpac and Target for their generous support of the Bushfire Appeal. Woolworths have pledged to match dollar-for-dollar all donations made at checkouts nationwide over the next two weeks. Target has donated $100,000 to the Bushfire Appeal and has so far raised an additional $34,000 from in-store customer donations. Contributions can also be made at Westpac Bank branches across Australia.

For more information and to make a donation, go to:

See more photos showing the Salvation Army's response at

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