Hurricane Katrina

Remembering Katrina – 10 Years After


Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane season in 2005 was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. The most devastating of all storms to hit the Gulf Coast that year was Hurricane Katrina. Katrina strengthened to a category five hurricane and weakened to a category three as it made landfall in southwest Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina wiped out and destroyed so much in a matter of hours:

  • 1,836 lives lost
  • $81 billion in property damage
  • 80% of New Orleans was catastrophically flooded

The Salvation Army emergency disaster workers and volunteers were on hand to deliver relief in the form of shelter, food and hydration, and emotional and spiritual care. $382M was generously given and entrusted to The Salvation Army to provide immediate and long-term support for survivors of the hurricanes. A total of $157 million was spent on immediate response efforts that included:

  • 178 canteen feeding units and 11 field kitchens brought in from across the country
  • More than 5.6 million hot meals and 8.2 million sandwiches, snacks and drinks
  • 178,313 cleaning kits and 235,229 food boxes (groceries)
  • 282,000 emergency disaster assistance cases registered
  • Emotional and spiritual care for more than 275,000 individuals
  • Direct financial aid, in the form of gift cards and housing/utility assistance
  • Equipment and transportation for Salvation Army disaster personnel
  • Assistance to more than 2.6 million survivors in the affected region
Hurricane Katrina survivors line up at The Salvation Army food canteens for meals.

Hurricane Katrina survivors line up at The Salvation Army food canteens for meals.

In Austin, Texas, under the Katrina Aid Today program, The Salvation Army Austin was able to provide long-term case management and emergency assistance in a number of ways:

  • Provided long-term case management to 262 families
  • Helped people maintain their housing or obtain housing by paying for deposits and rent
  • Provided referrals for counseling, therapy and spiritual care
  • Met weekly to collaborate with other local providers to ensure that needs were being met and services were not being duplicated
  • Helped families enroll their children in school
  • Worked closely with the school districts to get their children up to grade level through education and tutoring
  • Worked with the Red Cross and other disaster aid networks to help families find their loved ones
  • Provided vouchers for furniture from local Salvation Army Family Stores
  • Helped evacuees access job retraining to prepare them for tech jobs and other jobs relevant to the Austin economy
  • Helped families access housing and childcare and find employment


New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast were completely flooded and in ruin which forced many families to relocate to other cities and even other states. 25,000 survivors from the New Orleans Superdome were transferred to the Astrodome in Houston. The Salvation Army staff united with hundreds of pastors, church members and volunteers to help. Six to eight mobile feeding canteens were brought in from around the United States.

“What started as a possibility, became a probability, and concluded as a horrid reality. Buildings were obliterated, bridges broken, levees split asunder. It was in so many ways, ‘the worst of times.’ And yet The Salvation Army responded with promptness, competence, determination, daring and Christian love. The results were amazing. People were encourages, homes built, communities kept together, lives literally saved. Hurricane Katrina did indeed represent ‘the worst of times,’ yet in terms of serving hurting people in their time of greatest need and in the name of Jesus Christ, Katrina and its aftermath was also ‘the best of times.’ Never have I been prouder to be a Salvationist!”

-Major John Jordan, former Community Relations & Development Secretary

 Did we help you? Tell us your story.




Ice Cold Water

Texas Heat

Ice Cold Water

Austinites are used to the heat, but the last few weeks were especially hot with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. With a surplus of bottled water, thanks to I Am Water’s generous donation, we were able to go out to provide cold clean water to those that may not have access.

On Wednesday, Salvation Army staff and volunteers stood outside the front of the downtown shelter offering cold bottled water to clients leaving the shelter on their way to work, to those coming into the shelter seeking assistance, and to others on the street enduring the heat.

Being outside in the Texas heat for only one hour can be draining and exhausting and for those who are experiencing homelessness, this unfortunately is something they bear every day. Offering cold water outside the shelter gave volunteers and staff the opportunity to lend an ear and listen to the people’s stories and struggles. It gave us a chance to bring in families of volunteers and watch them share the act of kindness and giving to strangers. Offering bottled water for one afternoon may not seem like a big deal, but on this hot scorching day, there was a sense of community and sharing.

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Laura-Spradlin-construction worker

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We would like to thank our volunteers who came out to help distribute water. We would also like to thank I Am Waters again for their support.

Jennifer-Oconner-Jamie-McKenney    Ben-Brummett-client  Volunteer with client

socks image

Sock Drive


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The Salvation Army Austin has partnered with Round Rock Express and Chick-Fil-A to hold sock drives around Travis and Williamson counties benefiting local children through the 2015 Shoe-In.

The Salvation Army works with partners in the community to identify elementary school age children who are the most in need -those who live in poverty or are experiencing homelessness- so that we can provide them with shoes for the new school year.

This year we are raising funds and working with Academy to provide shoes to local children in need. But we can’t stop there. What would make a new pair of shoes even better? Socks! We are working with local businesses to acquire new pairs of socks. Our goal is to give two new pairs of socks to every child.

A new pair of socks and shoes is so much more that what we think it is because children who are experiencing poverty may not have everything they need to get through the school year. A new pair of socks and shoes can restore hope, elevate confidence and provide comfort. Having a good pair of shoes also helps with health and overall well-being. Shoes not only support our feet, but can affect our back and spine. Having good shoes and new socks is so important during a child’s growing years.

How can you help?

Donate here to help provide a pair of shoes to a local child in need. Or stop by any one of the following locations and donate a new pair of socks:

August 11-14th – Dell Diamond: 3400 East Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, Texas 78665. Donate two pairs of new socks and receive 2

tickets to an upcoming Round Rock Express game.

 August 17-22nd – Chick-Fil-A: 12501 N. MoPac Expy. Donate a new pair of socks and receive one free Icedream.

 September 24thChick-Fil-A: Georgetown, TX. Donate a pair of new socks and receive a free Chick-Fil-A Sandwich.

 We would like to thank Round Rock Express, Chick-fil-a and EZCORP for holding sock drives benefiting children in need in our communities through the 2015 Shoe-In.






Entercom’s Vice President and General Manager, Stephanie Callihan with Dave Munoz and Blanca Deen


Thursday, July 23, 2015, The Salvation Army Austin had the pleasure of hosting a tour for our friends from Entercom, the parent company of several local radio stations including Majic 95.5.  The dedicated team at Entercom spreads the word about The Salvation Army events year round. Their support on air during the Angel Tree each year, helps the community know how to get involved in providing Christmas gifts for thousands of local children in need. Entercom also hosts The Salvation Army volunteers of the month.

Our tour began with lunch in the chapel of the Downtown Shelter and Social Service Center.  During our meal Lt. Colonel Dorris Gonzalez, Associate Area Commander, spoke about how important the Angel Tree event is to children and families in need in our community. We watched a compelling Angel Tree video showing testimonials and the process of the Angel Tree program. Social Services Director, Kathy Ridings spoke about the families in shelter. She described how we do our best to provide children in shelter with an environment of normalcy, acceptance and hope. Jan Gunter, our Communications Director, spoke about other ways The Salvation Army serves the community. She gave a short quiz with prizes to our Entercom guests on Salvation Army facts.

Kathy Riding giving tour of family dorms.

Social Services Director, Kathy Ridings giving our friends at Entercom a tour of family dorms.

Stephanie Callahan, Entercom’s Vice President and General Manager, spontaneously shared a beautiful story of how The Salvation Army had a significant impact on her grandfather when he immigrated to the United States from Ireland. The Salvation Army assisted him and his family when they first arrived and had very little. He passed down his stories of The Salvation Army and those memories hold dear to Stephanie’s heart and influenced her own desire to support those in greatest need.

The tour proceeded with a walk through our family dorm. Next was a tour of the Learning Center which was recently renovated by our friends at EZCORP. Kaeyla Boyd, Case Manager, explained that the learning center is used during the summer and school year where children can do their homework, create science fair projects, and use computers. The Salvation Army is currently holding a school supply drive for children in our shelter. During the day while the children are at school, the Learning Center is open to adults to give them the opportunity to use computers for job searches and resume building.

The tour continued to the Safe Sleep area then concluded back in the Chapel. Employees at Entercom expressed their gratitude for the tour and how they learned so much more about The Salvation Army.

We are thankful to have partnerships like Entercom!  Their support is truly Doing The Most Good in our community, and it is through support like theirs that we are able to continue to serve those in greatest need.

Entercom team with Amanda McCarty of The Salvation Army receiving a tour of the Learning Center

Entercom team with Amanda McCarty of The Salvation Army

Back-to-School Drive

Back-To-School Drive

Visit our current Back to School drive here.


Can you imagine not having the proper clothes or supplies to start school? That’s the case for more than 100 children living in our shelters in Austin every day. Unlike most kids, the children living in Salvation Army shelters many times do not have what they need. We work to raise the funds to get all the school supplies and uniforms kids need to start school off – a backpack, USB flash drives, binders, notebooks, pencils and sharpies.

Would you like to help them get off to a good start to school? It’s easy to help!

Beginning Monday July 13 through Friday August 14, The Salvation Army Austin is holding its Back-to-School Drive. Simply stop by a Salvation Army Family Store location or The Salvation Army office on Burnet Road (see below) and drop off school supplies or clothing. Donations of new school clothes for ALL school-age children ages 5-18 are welcome, and the greatest need is for elementary school children. These children need both uniforms and regular clothing. The following school supplies are needed:

Most Needed Items: USB Flash Drives 1” and 2” Binders Sharpies, Pencils Colored Folders Kleenex Clorox Wipes Hand Sanitizer Spiral Notebooks Composition Notebooks

Other Items Needed: 

Pens #2 Pencils Pink erasers Pencil Sharpeners Thick and thin tipped colored markers Highlighters Crayons Notebook Paper – Wide and College RuledMap Pencils Glue Sticks Safety Scissors Gallon and Quart Sized Ziploc Bags New Backpacks Basic CalculatorsBracketed 2 –pocket Folders (orange, blue, purple, red, yellow, green) Pencil bags

Monetary donations can be made on our website.

You can also shop our Wal-Mart registry. If you shop today July 15, you can take advantage of Wal-Mart’s huge sale that has been in the news.

We will deliver all clothing and supply donations to The Salvation Army emergency shelters for the children before they head back to school. The Salvation Army is committed to ensuring that our children living in emergency shelters are able to start school with the same excitement and readiness as all other children.

We would like to thank you for your support in helping our local children have a great start to the school year!

Drop-off Locations

  • Austin Area Command: 107 Burnet Rd., Ste. 231, 78758

The Salvation Army Family Store Locations

  • South Congress: 4216 S. Congress Avenue, 78745
  • North Austin: 8801 B Research Boulevard, 78758
  • Round Rock: 601 W. Louis Henna Boulevard, Round Rock, 78728
  • Northwest Austin: 13530 N Hwy 183, 78750
I Am Waters

I Am Waters

Elena Davis, President and Founder and Angela Henderson, Chief of Staff

Angela Henderson, Chief of Staff (left) and Elena Davis, President and Founder (right)



Texas summers are hot! Unfortunately not everyone is fortunate enough to have the basic necessity to survive the heat: water. Elena Davis, President and Founder of I Am Waters, saw a need of clean water for those that are experiencing homelessness and decided to do something about it. In 2009, Elena Davis started the I Am Waters Foundation.

The I Am Waters Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas dedicated to providing fresh, clean water to the homeless.”

Last week, The Salvation Army was blessed with a large donation of bottled water from the I Am Waters Foundation for those in our emergency shelters this summer. I Am Waters donated 22 pallets (38,016) bottles of water. They will donate water again to The Salvation Army Emergency Shelters in August.

These water bottles will help keep the children in our shelters hydrated while at summer camp and while playing at our shelters, and will also keep the women in our shelters hydrated on their way back and forth from school or work.

I Am Waters carry inspirational messages on each of their bottles knowing that the person drinking from the bottle may need a little inspiration.

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 “I am so impressed and inspired by the many great organizations that help the homeless with housing, job skills and food. I Am Waters compliments these groups with our straight-forward mission to provide clean water to the homeless on the streets… I Am Waters provides our inspirational water bottles to homeless organizations for free to distribute to their clients in ways they deem best.”

We are thankful to I Am Waters for providing not only hydration to those living in our emergency shelters, but also love, compassion and hope as well.

Purchasing a bottle of water from I Am Waters at your local Whole Foods, supports the I Am Waters Foundation.

(photos of bottles above from I Am Water website)


Water delivery to The Salvation Army

Water delivery to The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Austin - Recovery Story

Shop and Help Save a Life

The Salvation Army Austin - Success Story of Clayton

Clayton, Jessica and Michael W. Smith – Doing The Most Good Luncheon 2015

You have probably seen a Salvation Army Family Store in your area or have maybe even shopped at one; but did you know the good you are doing when you shop with us?

Sales from The Salvation Army Family Stores support our Adult Rehabilitation Center. The Rehabilitation Center provides spiritual, social and emotional assistance for men who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves.

Each center offers residential housing, work, group and individual therapy, all in a clean, wholesome environment. The physical and spiritual care that program participants receive prepares them to re-enter society and return to gainful employment. Many of those who have been rehabilitated are reunited with their families and resume a normal life. Anytime you shop or donate to our Family Stores, you are helping someone have a new start to their life.

Clayton is one of our amazing True Stories of Recovery. His story was featured at The Salvation Army’s 2015 Doing The Most Good Luncheon. Read his story here:

Clayton working at The Salvation ArmyClayton

“I was completely broken. No hope, despair, you name it. I was fighting a long term drug addiction of alcohol, opiates and crack cocaine …. I basically lost everything. I lost the place I was staying … my job and my car, and the mother of my child left me.”

Clayton was homeless and living out of a crack house when he heard about the Salvation Army. Clayton knew the Salvation Army as the folks who “stand out front of Walmart and ring bells at Christmas time.” He soon learned that The Salvation Army does that and so much more.

When Clayton first walked into our Adult Rehabilitation Center, he met a young man who would become his bible study partner. What began as the two of them quickly grew into a weekly small group of men studying the word … and reading the Purpose Driven Life.

For Clayton, God’s word made the difference.

Clayton has been living at the ARC for 16 months. He is actively involved in a local church and works for the Salvation Army. He hopes to soon be reunited full time with his wife and daughter.

Through the program Clayton says he has “learned how to be a father, to commit to things, to be a man of my word. I get to be the father that my father never was.”

He says, “I’d like to give back that hope that was given to me … when I see people on the street corner I can tell them I know what they’re going through and there is a place that can help.”

How can you help? Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (728-7825) to make a donation today. Or visit anyone of our four Austin locations to donate or shop:

4216 S. Congress Avenue, 78745

8801 B Research Boulevard, 78758

601 W. Louis Henna Boulevard, Round Rock, 78728

13530 N Hwy 183, 78750

Store Hours are M-T-Th-F 10-7 and Wed. & Sat. 10-8

*Click here for more information on our Rehabilitation Program and to read more True Stories of Recovery:

Shop at our Family Store today!

Dianna Thomas and Colonel Gonzalez - DTMG Award

Doing the Most Good Award


Dianna Thomas and Colonel Henry Gonzalez

Dianna Thomas and Colonel Henry Gonzalez

The Salvation Army Austin gave its quarterly Doing The Most Good Award last Thursday, June 12, 2015. The recipient of this award was Dianna Thomas.

Dianna Thomas has been with The Salvation Army for 11 wonderful years. She works at The Austin Shelter for Women and Children, operated by The Salvation Army. Performing her job well is important to Dianna. She is hard working and committed to the mission of the Army. Dianna is supportive, dependable, and always willing to help others.

She has spent countless hours sorting donations and organizing, cleaning and maintaining the clothing closet. Dianna knows the clothing closet is an important piece of how we serve those in our shelters, providing them a pleasant place to find clothing. When the department was understaffed Dianna filled in wherever needed, which included covering three different shifts in the same week.

Despite working so many hours, Dianna continued to serve clients with dignity and kindness. She volunteers to work Thanksgiving AND Christmas every year so her co-workers can spend time with family.

She enjoys serving all individuals in need…both human and animal…She spends her own money to buy food for the shelter mascot, a local cat named Blackjack.

For all of these reasons, we are proud to present Dianna Thomas as our Doing the Most Good Award recipient. Congratulations to you Dianna! We are truly blessed to have you with us.

Clothing Closet - Austin Shelter for Women and Children

Clothing Closet – Austin Shelter for Women and Children


River Rising on KXAN featuring Salvation Army Relief Efforts

River Rising – KXAN Special Report and Salvation Army Flood Relief Efforts

If you missed the KXAN “River Rising” Special, watch it here to learn more about one of the most historic weather events to hit Texas and how you can help your neighbors in need through The Salvation Army.

An in-depth look at the historical Memorial Weekend flood in Central Texas, including discussions with victims, a scientific explanation of how it happened from the KXAN weather team, and an investigative look at how to keep a similar level of destruction from happening again.

River Rising features Salvation Army flood relief efforts and invites the community to make a donation to support these efforts.

Salvation Army Flood Relief Efforts in Central Texas

The Salvation Army has been supporting flood relief efforts in San Marcos and Wimberley for fifteen consecutive days, providing meals, drinks and emotional support to first responders and survivors. See our flood relief press releases here for more details.

The Salvation Army staff and volunteers have served 20,097 meals, 32,893 drinks, 24,992 snacks, 2,418 comfort kits, 996 clean up kits and emotional support to survivors of the Texas Floods. Our multiple mobile feeding kitchens (canteens), allowed The Salvation Army staff and volunteers to deliver meals into a number of hard-hit neighborhoods. In addition, we provided hygiene kits and diapers for flood survivors.

A laundry unit was deployed into Wimberley, Texas, giving flood survivors the welcome opportunity to wash their clothes. Our furry friends were not forgotten. Even cat food and dog food was provided to pets in need.

Learn more at the How to Help or Get Help blog post.

These efforts are possible through the monetary donations of generous and concerned citizens in our communities who want to help. 100% of all donations to support the flood are allocated to this disaster relief effort.

TSA 2015.06 TSA Texas Flood Banner eMail-940x404

The Salvation Army has now transitioned into long-term support as we work with other disaster response agencies to determine how best to support the ongoing flood recovery which we know will take a long time. Salvation Army locations in these local communities will continue providing care with compassion to those in need.

The Salvation Army coordinates with local and State Emergency Management and with Volunteers Active in Disaster (VOAD) to serve first responders and survivors affected by the devastating flooding in Central Texas.

You can count on The Salvation Army to do the most good with your money.

Click here to make your secure donation to help families devastated by the floods.

Donations in the form of checks designated to Texas Storm Relief may also be mailed to: The Salvation Army PO Box 1000 Austin, Texas, 78767


Text “TXFLOODS” to 51555 to donate. Message and data rates may apply.

Every dollar counts. The Salvation Army thanks you for your support of the Texas Flood disaster relief efforts.

Emergency Exercise Disaster Drill Mock Plane Crash with Randy O'Dell

Local Volunteers Take the Wheel for The Salvation Army

Salvation Army Williamson County canteen - flood relief efforts

Williamson County Canteen Key Part of Flood Relief Efforts in San Marcos and Wimberley

Austin, Texas (June 1 , 2015) – The Salvation Army mobile kitchen from Williamson County (Austin Area Command) is currently serving in San Marcos, Texas, a community working to recover from the destruction caused by record flooding. This unit may look like any other Salvation Army canteen; however it is unique in the fact that it is operated year-round by a committed team of volunteers.

Randy O’Dell, a resident of Williamson County, heads up the volunteer team and has been the driving force behind this partnership. “I had been giving to The Salvation Army for many years and decided to get involved about three years ago. I wanted to expand my service outside of my own church and look at the bigger picture,” explains Randy. “I like that they are a Christian organization and have always admired all the good that is done by The Salvation Army.”

The Williamson County volunteer team was on the scene serving first responders and survivors Sunday morning and has continued to serve in San Marcos and Wimberley at the Red Cross shelter and in flooded neighborhoods. On Monday, June 1, the team served meals, snacks and drinks in several areas of San Marcos bringing sustenance and relief to many people working on their homes.

The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in San Marcos was open on Monday and The Salvation Army from San Antonio provided food, drinks, and encouragement to those seeking assistance. Service at this location is expected to continue through Wednesday.

The Salvation Army laundry unit, located at 100 Carney Lane in Wimberley (78676), continues to provide the opportunity for people to wash their clothes and belongings. Additional emergency assistance has been provided to affected residents along with case management by The Salvation Army at the Wimberley MARC.

The statistics below present a snapshot of ongoing Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service efforts across the state of Texas:

  • 28,720 Meals
  • 44,119 Drinks
  • 15,380 Snacks
  • 11 Mobile Feeding Units (Canteens)
  • 102 Persons Sheltered
  • Emotional & Spiritual Care to 716 individuals
  • 908 cleanup kits
  • 454 comfort kits
  • 4,339 hours of employee and volunteer service

Financial donations are the best way to support the ongoing relief operation. In-kind donations require sorting, boxing, palletizing, storage, and delivery to the disaster location. All of these activities can be costly and time consuming, and therefore may delay service delivery. Cash donations allow The Salvation Army to purchase product to quickly and efficiently meet the most urgent needs of disaster victims. Where possible, the purchases are made near the disaster site to stimulate the local economy and ensure quicker delivery.

Individuals can make a financial donation in support of The Salvation Army flood relief efforts:

  • By phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Online at
  • By texting TXFLOODS to 51555 (message and data rates may apply)
    Text HELP for help. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
  • By mail to The Salvation Army, PO Box 1000, Austin, TX 78767. Please note “Texas Flood Relief” on your check.

If you are interested in learning more about The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) in Texas, or to become a local disaster volunteer, please visit:

For the most up-to-date emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army flood relief, please visit: follow latest updates on Twitter and Facebook at

CONTACT: Jan Gunter, Communications and Community Relations Director, Cell: 512.944-0572;

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services:
“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.

About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 126 years in the Austin area. Locally more than 400,000 people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, to relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to stability. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson Counties. For more information, go to (, and