“The Salvation Army was first on the scene, so we just asked what they needed”—In Joplin Missouri, Social Media Revolutionizes Disaster Relief

Joplin, MO — Solace, a music venue that is also a church, is located on Main St in Joplin. Here, you will find a diverse mix of self-described “rag tag” kids with tattoos and piercings. Much like The Salvation Army, they use arts and music to glorify God. A praise concert was planned there for Friday the 27th; then the storms hit Joplin. When the tornado came, they took shelter in the back of their building, when the skies cleared, they came out and surveyed the destruction.

Amber “Zon” Gleeson, coordinator of their Joplin Relief effort recalls, “The people that were here walked outside, saw people wandering the streets and went out to help. 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—utilizing social media—put the call out for any and all supplies The Salvation Army needed. “We needed a trailer for the canteen on 20th Street, and we had one within 2 minutes of putting the call out there.” Another church member put out a call for sports drinks, and a semi-full was sent.

The donations Solace received are substantial. The Salvation Army has served nearly 20,000 meals to survivors and rescue workers to date, and would not have been able to meet those needs as efficiently without the quick response and support the team at Solace has provided.

The church partnered with the Pittsburg, Kansas canteen crew to take hygiene kits and food out to those still living in the wreckage, and continue to deliver supplies and minister to them daily.
“It’s been incredible how quick people are able and willing to give. Facebook and Twitter have made this all possible,” Gleeson says, as she glances around their facility, now completely stocked with every needed supply. 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.

Solace is not only providing for immediate needs, but it hopes to lift the spirits of survivors in the days to come. On Saturday, they will hold a Memorial Weekend Community Block Party, where they will have live Christian music, games for kids and free hot food, all situated on the edge of the destruction. The Salvation Army will have a canteen on site providing refreshments and support to their new friends at Solace.

Monetary donations:
The best way to help Joplin now is to call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org to make a donation by credit card. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, PO Box 21787, St. Louis, MO 63109-0787. Please designate the gift “Joplin Tornado.” Cell phone users may also text the word JOPLIN to 80888 to make a $10 donation charged to their cell phone bill (text and/or messaging charges may apply).

Donations of used Household Goods and Clothing:
Due to the high expense and time demands associated with delivering your gently-used household goods and clothing (gifts-in-kind), The Salvation cannot guarantee that any individual gifts-in-kind donated now will be sent to the disaster area. In time of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. By continuing to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store, you not only help your community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to www.satruck.org.