Charlotte, NC — In the third full day of storm response, Salvation Army teams of caseworkers and spiritual counselors are deploying in hard hit areas of central and eastern North Carolina. With each passing day the focus transitions slightly from response to recovery, and The Salvation Army knows that being in the impacted neighborhood to serve those affected is essential. Unfortunately, the passing of days has also seen an increase in the death toll, with an additional fatality reported in Bladen County, the loss of life stands at 23 for North Carolina.
From its Raleigh command, a team of Salvation Army caseworkers will arrive today in Holly Springs to meet with and assess needs of individuals and families. “I wish I could tell our team what they will find when arriving in Holly Springs, but the damage is so spotty that you have to turn a corner to see what’s next” stated Major Pete Costas, Corps Officer for Wake County. “We have to serve just as the storm struck, spotty, one person at a time – one family at a time.” The Salvation Army’s Raleigh command has been serving since Saturday evening in the Stonybrook neighborhood, one of Raleigh’s hardest hit areas. To date, more than 1,200 meals have been provided to residents, first responders and utility crews.
In Smithfield, the Johnston County command of The Salvation Army has been active distributing comfort hygiene kits and bottled water. Personnel arrived in the town of Micro just fifteen minutes after the storm passed to begin response services. The command has also opened its gymnasium shower facilities in Smithfield for those displaced by the storm. “It’s normal to think of material goods when we think of need, but for those who have lost everything a hot shower can be the bright spot in a day”, shares Lt. Kevin Justice, Salvation Army officer for Johnston and Harnett Counties.
Bertie County, the hardest hit area with 11 confirmed deaths, is being served by The Salvation Army’s Washington, North Carolina and Greenville commands. With its mobile feeding unit canteen, more than 300 individuals have been served with food and water. Lt. Chris Lyles, Salvation Army officer, reports “With our mobile unit we have been able to reach far into the devastated areas. As much as people are in need of essentials, they are desperate for prayer and spiritual care. People have lost everything, including family and friends, and are hurting.” The Washington unit of The Salvation Army is partnering with the Askeville Assembly of God for meal preparation and distribution as well as provisions of material goods.
Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores across eastern North Carolina have opened their doors to assist the displaced with furniture, clothing and household essentials. Through a partnership referral system, material goods are available to those presenting a Red Cross voucher. In Sanford, Salvation Army personnel are working to save furniture items and household basics in anticipation of need. “As long as there is a need, The Salvation Army will be here” states Major Sue Jervis, Salvation Army officer for Lee County.
Salvation Army units throughout the Carolinas are partnering with local agencies like the American Red Cross, Baptist Men and United Way to reduce duplication and maximize availability and impact of response and recovery resources. To date, with its partnerships, The Salvation Army has assisted more than 3,000 individuals with food and water.
This week will also see a variety of local and regional drives for financial and material donations, strictly for use in storm response. Wednesday will see a united agency telethon with WRAL-TV5 (Raleigh) and a united broadcast network telethon in Fayetteville through Beasley Broadcasting and partners. The Curtis Media Group (Raleigh) will devote the Thursday lunchtime hour to “Care on Air” in partnership with Triangle area Wal-Mart stores. While material goods are an essential component of The Salvation Army’s collective response, monetary contributions are encouraged as they allow for immediate investment into services and greater effectiveness.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by the April 16 Tornados and Severe Weather to visit http://www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/ or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations will be used to meet immediate needs of those impacted. The Salvation Army encourages you to continue to support your local Salvation Army Family Store and the much needed local programs your in-kind gifts support.
Mr. Ashley Delamar, Public Information Officer
For: The Salvation Army
Email : Ashley.Delamar@uss.salvationarmy.org