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While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and needs, there are several basic services The Salvation Army offers in most major disasters. These services form the core of the Armyís disaster services program. However, our services are not limited to these listed here. They may be modified or expanded, depending on the magnitude of the disaster and the needs of disaster victims.
- Mass Feeding
Often, the most visible Salvation Army disaster service is the hot meals and drinks served to disaster victims and emergency workers. This food may be prepared and served at congregate feeding sites, such as a corps building, camp or shelter or from one of the Armyís mobile canteens, which are essentially kitchens on wheels. In addition to disaster sites, the Army also provides food at other types of events, such as search and rescue operations, law-enforcement activities, school violence incidents, disaster drills, training exercises and special events.
- Cleanup and Recovery
After a disaster, The Salvation Army supports people cleaning up and rebuilding by distributing cleanup supplies. These supplies can include items such as mops, brooms, buckets, shovels, detergents and tarps. During catastrophic events, The Salvation Army may also coordinate volunteer rebuilding teams and warehouses to distribute reconstruction supplies, such as lumber and sheetrock.
- Donations Management
The Salvation Army is one of the nationís leaders in collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. During a disaster, the Army may open warehouses to receive and sort donations and establish distribution centers to dispense these goods directly to disaster victims. Donations may also be used to support other disaster programs, such as mass feeding and cleanup.
- Spiritual Ministry
The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional support to disaster victims and emergency workers coping with the stress of a disaster. This support may include comforting the injured and bereaved, conducting funeral and memorial services and providing chaplainry services to disaster workers and emergency management personnel.
- Victims Assistance
The Salvation Army provides direct financial assistance to disaster victims through a system of trained caseworkers. Financial assistance may be provided for essential living supplies, such as food, clothing, medicine, bedding or baby products. Financial assistance may also be available to assist disaster victims with emergency housing needs or to cover disaster-related medical or funeral expenses.
- Emergency Communications
Through the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and other amateur radio groups, The Salvation Army helps provide emergency communications when more traditional networks, such as telephones, are inoperative. In addition to relaying critical information about the disaster, the Army also transmits welfare inquiries from friends and family members who are otherwise unable to reach loved ones in the disaster area. These disaster welfare inquiries may be filled online at www.satern.org.