LOUISIANA — Natural disasters, especially Hurricanes, can cast a large shadow over the emotional and spiritual health of survivors and first responders. The unexpected nature of a storm coupled with the stresses of evacuation, financial needs, and rebuilding can leave many not only physically drained, but also emotionally and spiritually drained as well.
The Salvation Army is well aware that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is all too real with many along the coastal communities as both Tropical Storm Isaac and the Anniversary of Katrina approaches. The Salvation Army is making necessary preparations to have additional personnel on the front lines that are trained in emotional and spiritual care.
Additional stressors like separation from home and family, loss of living space, and loss of employment due to storms can only serve to extenuate the emotional and spiritual stress of survivors.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Gustav in 2008, The Salvation Army recognized the need to train and mobilize Emotional and Spiritual care teams to accompany Mobile Feeding units into affected areas following a storm.
Beyond caring for the physical needs of survivors, The Salvation Army’s ministry of presence provides compassionate care to residents looking for hope and compassion in the midst of turmoil. Pastoral care is available for disaster survivors, but it is by no means a prerequisite for receiving assistance from The Salvation Army.
“The Salvation Army provides more than just the physical needs of storm survivors and emergency workers, we also provide emotional and spiritual care through our disaster relief efforts,” states Major Ronnie Raymer, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “The Salvation Army serves in most of these communities along the coast 365 days a year with local social and spiritual services. These folks are our neighbors and that is why we have been preparing our communities for this storm.”
Salvation Army offices in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have prepared to deploy 24 mobile feeding units as early as Monday evening to stage for response in Hattiesburg, Miss. Current feeding capacity for Mobile feeding units is 22,000 meals per day. Additionally, a 54’ field kitchen capable of up to 10,000 meals per day is being prepared to respond following the storm.
In addition to feeding, The Salvation Army is prepared to provide:
Clean-up kits containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies
The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to prepare an Emergency supply kit and stay informed to all warnings. Disaster response professionals recommend having a three to five day supply of food and water for each individual of your family as well as flashlights, medication, and battery powered radio.
For more information regarding The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Service program please visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org .
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by the 2012 Hurricane Season to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org  or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
Donors may also contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word “Storm” to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word,“Yes.”
Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate “2012 Hurricane Season” on all checks.