SOURCE: The Salvation Army

November 02, 2007 20:48 ET

Thousands of Southern Californians Won't Be Home for Christmas This Year

As Fire Victims Begin the Process of Rebuilding Their Lives, The Salvation Army Is There to Help

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 2, 2007) - According to local government officials, the recent Southern California wildfires represent a larger disaster than the 2003 Cedar Fires. The recovery and rebuilding efforts for the Cedar Fires took four years to complete. The Salvation Army was one of the lead recovery agencies in the aftermath of that disaster -- having completed its last rebuild associated with the Cedar Fire just in the last few weeks.

As a first responder to such large disasters, The Salvation Army works initially with those populations it believes are the most vulnerable: the elderly, those with disabilities, and families with children. Now, as the smoke clears from October's wildfires, The Salvation Army is appealing to the community and corporate partners to assist in what will undoubtedly be a long term recovery effort requiring considerable financial support.

As a relief organization, The Salvation Army interacts daily with fire victims offering the opportunity to meet with its intake workers to identify their short term needs prior to the long term recovery. The Salvation Army is currently providing intake workers in several Southern California regions impacted by the fires. Many qualified victims are receiving gift cards to Stater Brothers, Ralphs, Albertsons and Wal-Mart, as well as vouchers to purchase items from Salvation Army Thrift Stores.

As the wildfires spread, Salvation Army mobile kitchens (canteens) and emergency response vehicles were mobilized to the hardest hit areas. Since then, Salvation Army staff and volunteers have provided more than 160,000 meals to first responders and fire victims alike, dispensed thousands of personal care kits, supplied hundreds of cots, and have taken the preliminary steps to establish a social service network for the victims of this disaster.

The Salvation Army's Tustin Ranch/Orange County coordination facilities are currently being used as one of two Assistance Centers in Orange County for those needing to connect with agencies giving aid. This Center opened Sunday, October 28 and will remain open until services are no longer needed.

In the San Bernardino area which includes the mountain towns of Grass Valley, Lake Arrowhead, and Running Springs, Salvation Army Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams are seeking out victims who must carry out the grim task of sifting through the ashes of their destroyed homes. At the Orange Show evacuee center, The Salvation Army continues to feed hundreds of people a day and will soon open a Local Assistance Center (LAC) in Running Springs to assist residents there in the recovery process.

To meet the increasing financial demands of such a wide-spread disaster, The Salvation Army has recently entered into a partnership with the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club allowing volunteers to raise funds for wildfire victims during recent Kings home games including the up-coming dates of Nov. 3 & Nov. 10. In addition, on November 4 the LA Galaxy Soccer Team, along with the Herbalife Family Foundation, will host a celebrity soccer game at The Home Depot Center. Proceeds from this event will benefit several charities including The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is also a part of the Long Term Recovery organized through Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). If The Salvation Army receives sufficient donations, it can open Fire Relief Centers to assist survivors in all aspects of the home rebuilding process. Tremendous support from corporate partners has already arrived. Bristol-Meyers, FedEX, Target, and Washington Mutual have each given $100,000 to The Salvation Army for fire relief efforts. However, much more will be needed to support current and upcoming operations.

Donations to The Salvation Army can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting www.salvationarmy-socal.org.

About The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 126 years in the United States. More than 31 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. Approximately 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmy-socal.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Robert Brennan
    Mgr., Media & Communications
    213/553-3268
    Cell: 818-648-9098
    Email Contact

    THE SALVATION ARMY
    Southern California Division
    900 W. James M. Wood Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90015
    213/896-9160