Hurricane Harvey 2017/Emergency Disaster Services Team in Port Lavaca

2018 Hurricane Season Begins June 1 – The Salvation Army Stands Prepared for Active Season

MEDIA RELEASE

6/1/2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jan Gunter, Communications Director, 512-634-5910

2018 Hurricane Season Begins June 1 – The Salvation Army Stands Prepared for Active Season

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services is preparing for the possibility of an active 2018 hurricane season, officially beginning on June 1 and running through November 30.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive and catastrophic season, featuring 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes – ranking it alongside 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851. The first disaster response by The Salvation Army took place in 1900 when a devastating hurricane destroyed Galveston, Texas, killing more than 5,000 people. The devastation was so significant that the National Commander at the time, Frederick Booth-Tucker, ordered Salvation Army Officers from across the country to proceed to the disaster site to provide spiritual and practical assistance. At that time, there were no mobile kitchens, so the officers walked the streets giving people water and coffee.

Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall along the Texas coastline on the evening of August 24, 2017, prompted the largest Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) relief efforts seen since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Salvation Army EDS teams responded immediately providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders. At the peak of service 103 Salvation Army mobile feeding units were working in affected areas delivering more than 950,000 meals, 33,000 food boxes, 92,000 comfort kits and 15,000 cleanup kits in the months that followed. Relief efforts continue in affected areas and have transitioned from response to recovery with families and individuals meeting with regional Salvation Army case workers in the effort to put their lives back together.

Salvation Army EDS teams throughout Texas stand prepared and ready to respond once again. Statewide, the organization operates a fleet of 31 mobile kitchens, five rapid response vehicles, two field kitchens with the combined capacity to produce 25,000 meals per day, one communications unit, and a command unit. “One of the strengths of The Salvation Army EDS structure is that it is rapidly scalable in times of disaster,” said Alvin Migues, EDS Director for The Salvation Army, Texas Division. “Our mobile kitchens are assigned to Salvation Army units around the state and can be mobilized very quickly to respond to an event. Additionally, The Salvation Army has its own disaster training curriculum and we have fully trained teams ready to deploy literally at a moment’s notice.”

“The work of The Salvation Army touches every zip code in Texas,” said Migues. “With the generous support of donors and committed partners our trained staff and volunteers stand prepared to meet the challenges and resulting needs of the 2018 hurricane season.”

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services, visit: www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org

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AUSTIN—Today the Travis County Commissioners unanimously approved the sale of 7.5 acres of surplus, county-owned land on Tannehill Lane to the sole bidder, Mr. Dick Rathgeber. Rathgeber, who is Chairman of The Salvation Army of Austin’s Capital Campaign, has committed to donating the land to The Salvation Army for construction of a new women and children’s shelter. The land is adjacent to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, which is operated by The Salvation Army and funded by the City of Austin. Following the vote, The Salvation Army released the following statement from Lt. Col. Henry Gonzalez, Salvation Army Area Commander:

“There is an invisible crisis of family homelessness in Austin, and today’s vote will help us address this challenge for our great city. We are deeply grateful for and humbled by Mr. Rathgeber’s generosity and vision to care for the most vulnerable of our citizens. We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the Travis County Commissioners to see this vote come to fruition. Not only will the location of the new shelter contribute to the welcoming, campus-like environment we have cultivated for the existing shelter, this vote will also allow us to gain up to 35 percent efficiency by co-locating the facilities. Tens of thousands of women and children will eventually have access to services customized to meet their needs in a nurturing environment to help them move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Today’s vote is a win for Travis County, the City of Austin, The Salvation Army, and most of all, for the women and children who will find safe haven and a fresh start in this new facility.”

On October 14, 2015, The Salvation Army of Austin launched the public phase of its first capital campaign in 27 years by announcing it had raised $10 million of a $14 million goal. That announcement kicked off a six-week awareness campaign, Invisible Austin, to draw attention to the crisis of family homelessness in Austin. Frost Bank has agreed to support a social media campaign designed to raise public awareness of and engagement with the capital campaign. Every time the hashtag, #InvisibleAustin, is used on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and The Salvation Army Austin is tagged in the post, Frost Bank will give $10 to the capital campaign up to $50,000. For more information about the campaign or how you can get involved, visit www.InvisibleAustin.org and help solve the crisis of women and children experiencing homelessness.

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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 thousands of 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 www.SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org. Facebook.com/SalvationArmyAustin, Twitter.com/SalArmyAustin or Instagram.com/SalArmyAustin.