How the Salvation Army spent your Hurricane Harvey donations, one year later

Art of the Gala Oct 23 Austin
Hurricane Harvey nonprofit support recovery

One year after Hurricane Harvey devastated much of the Texas coastline, The Salvation Army continues to meet with individuals and families struggling to survive and working to put their lives back together.

Throughout affected areas, Salvation Army case managers meet with those in need, setting achievable goals and plotting a course of recovery towards self-sufficiency. Storm survivors can receive financial assistance and referrals to partner agencies and other non-governmental organizations. Eight warehouses serving as points of distribution across the affected region are actively receiving, sorting and distributing a wide range of donated items.

Thanks to the generous support of the American public, corporate donors, and philanthropic organizations, The Salvation Army raised more than $30 million for Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. The long-term recovery of storm survivors, with their many and varied needs, is an ongoing focus for the Army, and is where the bulk of donated funding is allocated.

Joe’s Story

“The water was about six inches from my roof after they opened the floodgates at Livingston Lake,” said Joe. “My house flooded once before in 2016, and I had about two feet of water in there, but this was like nothing I’d ever seen before.”

Joe’s story is like countless others who experienced record flooding caused by days of torrential rain from a stalling Hurricane Harvey. Residents watched the water levels steadily rise before being forced to evacuate. “I eventually had to leave and ended up getting a hotel room through FEMA. I stayed there a couple of months before I could get back to my house,” said Joe. “I had to basically strip my place and rebuild from scratch.”

“As soon as the flooding had gone, The Salvation Army was out there with food and cleaning supplies. I remember they did the same back in 2016, serving three meals a day. Whatever you needed they would figure it out, even shovels and stuff,” said Joe. While working to rebuild his home, he heard that residents could receive financial assistance from The Salvation Army. So, he reached out to Misti Townsend, a Regional Recovery Manager for The Salvation Army. “I had no idea that months later they would still be around to help.”

After meeting with Misti, Joe received financial assistance in the form of a store voucher. “Working with Misti was great. She understood my situation and the process was smooth and easy,” said Joe. “I was able to get $1,000 worth of building materials and appliances. I had lost just about everything and so this help was great.”

Initial Response

Of the total donated, The Salvation Army has spent more than $12 million on emergency response operations, including the deployment of 103 mobile kitchens and EDS teams for up to eight weeks. During response operations, The Salvation Army provided:

  • Almost 1 million meals, drinks and snacks
  • 92,000 comfort/hygiene kits
  • More than 15,000 cleanup kits.
  • 140,000 hours of employee and volunteer service
  • Emotional and spiritual care to 57,000 individuals
  • Emergency financial aid to thousands of families with assistance such as gift cards, vouchers to Salvation Army Family Stores and referrals for a variety of services.

All the while, The Salvation Army continued to operate its regular programs and services, providing meals, emergency shelter, clothing and energy assistance to residents in need who were not affected by the disaster.

“Salvation Army disaster teams from as far as Hawaii, Canada and California were deployed to serve to Texas, along with units from our neighboring states. Teams served for 14 days at a time and worked tirelessly to provide much needed relief to those affected. This is a testament to the dedication and scope of The Salvation Army,” said Lt. Colonel Raymer. “For many of those we helped, this was the worst day of their lives. The Salvation Army works to provide for not only the physical needs of a person, but also the spiritual needs. We will continue to serve our neighbors whenever and wherever there is need.”

Long-term Recovery

As the disaster response has transitioned from immediate response to long-term recovery services, The Salvation Army continues to support families affected by Harvey and to help rebuild communities. The Salvation Army has committed the balance of the total donated, $18 million, to long-term recovery, including the following:

  • Supporting long-term recovery case management and direct aid for disaster survivors
  • Opening and operating eight warehouses to serve as points of distribution in affected areas
  • Programs to help disaster survivors replace furnishings, appliances and general household goods
  • Providing building materials to assist homeowners in repairing damage to homes

The Salvation Army caseworkers are meeting with those in affected areas providing financial assistance and referrals to partner agencies and non-governmental organizations. Eight warehouses serving as points of distribution across the affected region have been opened and these facilities are receiving, sorting and distributing a wide range of items that have been donated to The Salvation Army to help survivors.

The Salvation Army continues to work with individuals and families who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Reaching into underserved areas of Texas impacted by the storm, case workers have been able to identify and help thousands of people just like Joe. Working closely with community advocates and agencies, The Salvation Army continues to help affected families gradually get back on their feet.

“It was amazing to see so many groups come together after Harvey. We had people coming into our neighborhood in pickup trucks and flat beds handing out food and supplies, as well as groups like The Salvation Army,” said Joe. “I didn’t know very much about The Salvation Army, but they have really come through for me – not once but twice! I can’t thank them enough. They were here right after the water went down and are still here for people like me, all these months later.”

 

Art of the Gala Oct 23 Austin
About givingcityaustin 784 Articles
GivingCity is Austin's only cause-focused media company helping people and organizations understand our community and inspiring them to make it better. Online, in print, broadcast and live. Learn more.