DALLAS (May 17, 2013)—It was a typical Wednesday evening at The Salvation Army Service Center in Cleburne and church programs were in full swing. That was until the tornado sirens sounded as a powerful and destructive thunderstorm slowly passed through the city.
Elizabeth Aranguren, The Salvation Army Service Center Director in Cleburne, was leading the weekly women’s program when she realized the seriousness of what was happening outside. “There were about fifteen of us at the church last night when we heard the tornado sirens going off and could see the storm outside. Right then I knew that it was important for us all to stay calm and to take cover,” explained Elizabeth. Sandra Coffey, Elizabeth’s sister, was also in the building along with her four children. “The storm hit us at around 8:30 PM and after a couple of hours we loaded up the car so we could drive home,” said Sandra. “We live about twenty minutes away but as I pulled out the fire department made me turn around as the roads were closed because of all of the flooding.”
Ten people, including Elizabeth and Sandra and their families, ended up spending the night at The Salvation Army Service Center in Cleburne. After only a couple of hours of restless sleep, either on the floor or on the chapel pews, the group organized themselves and began to make sandwiches and gather supplies for the day ahead.
The Salvation Army served refreshments, meals and drinks in Cleburne and Granbury on Thursday out of three mobile disaster kitchens. More than 80 homes have been completely destroyed in the two communities and several hundred more damaged.
Noah Coffey, seven years old, said, “I got to help people today who lost their houses from the tornado. They have been getting water and sandwiches and rice krispie treats. This is way better than going to school!” Elizabeth added, “At this stage The Salvation Army is able to help with a number of practical needs for people who have been affected by the storm. The shelter in town is already full and so we are able to provide up to three nights emergency shelter at a hotel. As well as food, drinks, and of course prayer, we hope to be able to give gift cards to those who come to us for assistance.”
“I recently experienced Disaster work for the first time with The Salvation Army when I spent a week in West, Texas, following the explosion down there,” continued Elizabeth. “I never imagined I’d be putting that training to the test in my own community only a few weeks later.”
Financial donations can be made in the following ways to support The Salvation Army’s response to the North Texas tornadoes:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at donate.salvationarmyusa.org/uss/disaster
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.