The Salvation Army helps boost spirits in Hurricane Michael’s wake

Nov 29, 2018 | by Brad Rowland

The Salvation Army helps boost spirits in Hurricane Michael's wake

Hurricane Michael battered the Florida Panhandle and south Georgia on Oct. 10-11. More than a month after the storm, The Salvation Army continues to serve devastated communities. Here are some snapshots from the scene of disaster:

The Salvation Army of Panama City, Florida, and Bill Cramer Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC partnered for a special community celebration on Halloween, Oct. 31, to give local families a reprieve from the stress they've endured in the weeks following Hurricane Michael.

"Hurricane Michael destroyed homes. It destroyed businesses. But one thing it did not destroy is the caring spirit of this community," said Major Otis Childs, corps officer in Panama City. "That kind of spirit is what created this event today."

The free event, which took place at the car dealership, featured a cookout, trick-or-treating and giveaways such as backpacks, school supplies, food boxes, tarps and hygiene kits. Therapy dogs with Therapy Dogs International were on site to provide some hope and comfort to hurricane survivors.

Hundreds of families flocked to the party. Little ones decked out in creative and fun costumes stocked up on Halloween candy, notebooks and crayons at a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit (canteen). Salvation Army staff and volunteers loaded their parents' cars with much-needed supplies.

"You guys are doing great work in the community," said Danielle Pierce of Panama City. "I appreciate your work and for everybody rebuilding our community."

By: Alexandra Hackett Ferber

A Salvation Army truck towing a trailer with food boxes slowly weaved its way through Sandy Creek, Florida, a rural community on the outskirts of Panama City. Hurricane Michael's destructive force left no home untouched here. Some are beyond salvageable.

"It's very sad," said Stan Carr, a Salvation Army volunteer from New Jersey. "I'm grateful I'm in the position to help them even in the smallest way."

As electricity has been restored across the area, the need for hot meals has decreased, but food boxes from the Midwest Food Bank are in high demand.

"Maybe all of the food in their house was destroyed, stores are depleted," Stan said. "So we're going to give them a few days' worth of meals until the stores get stocked and they can get back on their feet a little."

Mary Carr (no relation to Stan,) her husband, daughter and three grandsons rode out the storm at a church a few miles away. Mary is grateful for The Salvation Army's support providing hot meals while they coped with no power for nearly three weeks. "You've been absolutely wonderful," she said.

By: Alexandra Hackett Ferber

The Salvation Army serves south Georgia residents impacted by Hurricane Michael as they continue rebuilding their homes and communities. In late October, the Georgia Division focused its operations on bulk distribution of supplies in the Albany and Bainbridge areas.

Hundreds of cars snaked through parking lots and along roadsides, guided by Salvation Army personnel and local police, to secure supplies.

"Many of these people will experience unanticipated financial hardships because of the hurricane," said Lanita Lloyd, director of Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services in Georgia. "These supplies will help people restock their pantries and allow them to use their money for personal recovery."

At a point-of-distribution set up at a middle school in Bainbridge, car after car with their doors and trunks open drove by a well-coordinated line of trucks and stacked supplies as Salvation Army personnel and volunteers filled the vehicles with cases of water, food boxes, boxes of snack foods, brooms and mops, cleaning kits, frozen beef and chicken, health and beauty kits and paper products.

"Thank you!" said one woman with a backseat filled with young children. "I don't know what I'd do without The Salvation Army."

In the weeks ahead, The Salvation Army's disaster relief operation will transition toward long-term relief efforts, and activities will be consolidated back to the local Salvation Army corps and service centers.

By: Don Felice

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