As a Neighbors for Good member, your monthly donation enables The Salvation Army to provide care for at-risk children, compassion for struggling families, comfort for vulnerable adults and relief for disaster victims.
Drawing from Past Experiences
Last year, while serving with our Emergency Disaster Services team, Captain Gabriela Rangel of the Westport Temple Corps received news of the devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake near her hometown of Mexico City. The earthquake happened 32 years to the day after the memorable 1985 earthquake that ravaged Mexico City, which Capt. Rangel experienced first-hand.
“That was painful to hear and more to watch,” Capt. Rangel says. “I never imagined that exactly 32 years later, on the same day, another horrible earthquake would wake up the memories. Now, I’m on the other side of the table.”
The 1985 quake led Capt. Rangel to her first contact with The Salvation Army, when she met an officer named Brad Bailey, of Chicago, who was there helping with the Emergency Disaster Services effort.
“My experience having been a victim in a disaster, far from breaking me, has empowered me,” Capt. Rangel says. “I am not a victim in need of the help and care [this time around], but an officer, trained and ready to respond to the call to serve those in need.”
Picking up the Pieces
Imagine losing everything. Your house, car, precious family heirlooms… all gone in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to Oak Grove and Smithville, Missouri residents last year.
On the evening of March 6, a tornado rated EF-3 destroyed nearly 500 homes and businesses and left several people injured. While disaster victims and first responders worked to pick up the pieces, Deb Abner, Assistant Divisional Director for Emergency Disaster Services, and her team were on site, providing relief wherever they were needed.
“Our hearts are determined to serve those who are hurting,” Deb says. “When the disaster happens, we see their faces… our team members work and train through the year to be prepared for moments like this.”
Through the Honk ‘n Holler outreach program, our Emergency Disaster Services team is able to provide food, blankets, warm clothing and other necessities to homeless individuals in Kansas City. These supplies are vital as people work to rebuild their lives following a disaster.
“I am so incredibly humbled to serve,” Deb says. “The Lord has prepared so many people and vessels to serve in times [of distress].”
Preparing for Disaster
For seven years, Paul has volunteered with our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team, helping with our weekly feeding programs, such as Honk ‘n Holler. In addition, he’s traveled around the country to help with disaster relief projects.
As an EDS volunteer, Paul offers emotional and spiritual care, basic medical assistance, water and food to survivors of disasters.
“I started volunteering with The Salvation Army after hearing about it from one of my buddies. We were trying to make some lifestyle changes at the time, and it was something that we’d do together as we tried to get down a different path,” says Paul. “I’ve been doing it off and on ever since.”
This week, Paul and our EDS canteen participated in a National Mass Care Exercise put on by the Missouri Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), where hundreds of volunteers came together to enact a disaster scenario. Each individual was assigned a role, demonstrating the importance of volunteer participation in a crisis.