Disaster Relief Takes on Local Flair In Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg, MS (February 14, 2013)—On Wednesday, as the sun broke through the clouds for the first time since before Sunday’s tornado, hundreds of volunteers emerged like bears from their hibernation to begin en masse the clean-up of Hattiesburg.

Across Hattiesburg, residents and strangers worked side by side to remove debris and trees from property ravaged by the EF4 Tornado. Supplementing these efforts were The Salvation Army’s feeding units filled with grilled chicken sandwiches and the fixings from the generous staff of Outback Steakhouse in Hattiesburg. For eight hours Wednesday the Outback team grilled over 2,000 fresh chicken breasts for their neighbors and the strangers arriving to clean up.

Demand for the sandwiches was so brisk that one feeding unit ran out of 200 meals in thirty minutes and was forced to restock with another 200 meals. Most recipients simply remarked that “this was the best meal that they had in days.”

In all over 2,250 meals were served by The Salvation Army on Wednesday.

Why would one spend eight hours cooking and delivering to people they did not even know? Why take so much care to prepare high quality food?

The answer reflects the passion that The Salvation Army and its partners have for providing for the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of storm survivors. Each hot meal not only provides the physical nourishment needed following a disaster, but also reflects the need of each survivor and first responder to know that they are important and deserving of dignity.

“Each hot meal and bottle of water reflects the love of Christ and the passion that The Salvation Army has for helping Hattiesburg recover,” stated Captain Andy Gilliam of The Salvation Army.

Thursday, The Salvation Army will be serving up Valentine’s treats to residents thanks to the generosity of Newk’s, Neal House Catering, and the Keg & Barrel.

The Salvation Army’s response to disasters is dependent upon the generosity of our donors.. Many times that support comes in the form of cash donations made through our website or generously mailed to one of our many locations. Other times, it comes in the form of support from businesses partnering with The Salvation Army to meet human needs in times of disaster.

Six Mobile feeding units will be working throughout the day on Thursday providing for the needs of residents.

Units will be positioned at the following locations:

  • Hattiesburg Unit: Petal, East 5th Avenue and James Street
  • Jackson Unit: CVS Pharmacy, Intersection of US Highway 49 and Hardy Street, Hattiesburg, MS
  • Mississippi Coast Unit: Neighborhoods East of USM
  • McComb Unit: Oak Grove, Roving Lake Serene, Bellewood, and Lakeshore Areas
  • Laurel Unit: Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, 900 East 8th Street, Hattiesburg, MS
  • Jackson Unit 2:Neighborhoods West and South of USM Roving

Units will also be distributing comfort/hygiene kits to residents recovering from the storm. Emotional and spiritual care officers will be available to provide support to residents.

Financial donations are still needed to support disaster relief efforts. The Salvation Army asks those who want to help to visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate Disaster Relief. Donors may text “GIVE” to 80888. Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339. Monetary donations will ensure The Salvation Army can meet the most immediate needs of those impacted by disaster.

About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year. The Salvation Army provides food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, and outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing, shelter and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 9,000 communities nationwide. For more information go to www.salvationarmyusa.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or send a check to your local Salvation Army earmarked for disaster relief.