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Disaster Response Volunteers

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2023 1:18 am

Disaster Response Volunteers

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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June 18, 2023 1:18 am

As we continue our series highlighting the work of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services, today we highlight the importance of our volunteers.


Series: Emergency Disaster Services

Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army

Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. All over the Gulf Coast calling Hurricane Katrina their own tsunami. It is a total catastrophic disaster.

A region that's been utterly devastated. Our response is generous and the need is overwhelming. The president is now touring one of the Salvation Army centers that have been set up to try and distribute relief. Just have the Salvation Army truck. The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army. Thank God for the Salvation Army.

Organizations like the Salvation Army would be taking care of them. The Army's mission is to serve the people who need our help and to preach the gospel of Christ. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Cheryl Gillum. We are so glad you've come back to join us this week because we have an incredible guest. Over the course of this new series, we've been interviewing Bobbie Geary from the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services Department. And she's really been helping us get a better understanding of what we do as the greatest opportunity for an organization such as ourselves, in my opinion. So welcome back, Bobbie. Great to be here. Thanks.

Bobbie, it's been such a pleasure having these last few episodes with you and learning more about your own relationship and your own history. I'm wondering, when it comes to Salvation Army disaster services, these are massive operations and massive things to coordinate. Who does the Salvation Army rely on the most? Well, I think it's difficult to say who the Salvation Army relies on the most. But I will say that we rely on our officers, our volunteers, and our employees to get the job done. Without all three working in tandem, it becomes very difficult for us to have a really successful disaster operational response.

So I think they're all important, all serve different roles and purposes, and they're all necessary and needed. But I would be remiss if I didn't give a huge shout out to our volunteers. Because quite frankly, they're the boots on the ground most of the time. They're the ones serving the meals. They're the ones on the front lines really recognizing what the needs of the people are. They're the ones praying for the individuals who are asking for prayer. They're the ones handing out a meal or a drink or something like that. So those volunteers are valuable. Right. They're necessary. They are necessary. And they are never just a volunteer.

Always want to make sure that they understand that. They're a part of the Salvation Army. Yeah, they're teammates. That's right. Co-laborers.

For sure. When a disaster strikes, it hurts everyone. Everyone in the neighborhood. You can tell someone you love them, but when you show someone that you love them, that's a whole other level. When we come out here, we're actually feeding everybody, including the police force, the fire departments, along with the homeless or the mayor or whatever. We want to serve you, whether it's food, whether it's an ear, a shoulder to cry on, a prayer. Anything we can do is how we want to serve this community, no matter what they've gone through. We want to be the light of Jesus that shines through. It's time for me to give back to those people.

Because I know what it's like to go through a hurricane, have everything lost, total devastation, and have to stack back up. All people really need is that glimpse of hope to keep pushing. So Bobby, if one of our listeners wanted to become a volunteer, they can't really just show up and expect that we'll be able to throw them into service. How do they get involved? So you're partially right, Bernie.

Let me just talk about this for a bit. People who are local, who are right there near a Salvation Army, whether it's in an impacted area after a major tornado or disaster, can actually come and serve just for the day. If they wanted to just be what we call a spontaneous volunteer, they can serve locally and get involved that way. Maybe they only have a couple hours that they can give towards helping, but they can do that. But more importantly, we also have what's called our credentialed disaster volunteers.

And you're absolutely right. Those individuals must go through a number of different steps in order to become credentialed and deploy outside of their local area. So we want to make sure that they have had a background check, that they've taken our Intro to Emergency Disaster Services course, that they've taken our Safe from Harm training, and that they understand what's going to be expected of them on a disaster operation. That's good to know. And we are so organized in that regard because we have the incident command structure, and there are people that report to other people, and you have to know how it all comes together. And I applaud you for that, Bobbi, because you've been a big part of developing the training for us, particularly here in the South, but it's adopted all over the country. Yes, that's correct.

You're a rock star. Oh, well, I don't know about that. It's a joint effort by a lot of people in EDS, for sure. A disaster like this is devastating. It's devastating for anyone, but when you're living paycheck to paycheck, something like this is really tragic.

I was talking with some folks today who just had the concern about the electricity being out, and one of the primary concerns is how they basically lose all their food, everything that spoils. And so that's a big deal to a family that is just trying to make ends meet. So the folks here, they're going through a lot, but with the Salvation Army, we're just happy that we can be there to give them a word of encouragement, provide a hot meal, do whatever little thing that we can do to make a difference.

We're happy to be a part of that. Some of the tasks, you already talked about it, but there are menial tasks, things that we just need muscle or bodies for, like restocking a canteen or keeping warehouses organized and getting those materials ready to just be pulled into action. There's any number of things that you can do. You don't need to be strong.

You don't need to be tall. If you are interested in helping, please reach out to the Salvation Army and volunteer where you can. When disaster strikes, the Salvation Army is there to serve. From hot meals and a canteen to emotional and spiritual care and support, our volunteers are on the ground in their communities and across the nation. We are there moments after disaster strikes and long after the storm clouds have cleared. Our mission is not only to serve in the immediate wake of tragedy, but to furnish individuals with the tools, resources, and support to build lasting recovery. Volunteers play a crucial role in disaster response efforts by offering critical aid to those who may have lost everything.

If you're interested in becoming a credentialed volunteer for the Salvation Army, visit This mobile kitchen is good for disasters. And see here, we have chili in here, so our first meal that we will serve will be chili, rice, and green beans.

For right now, I've got enough to feed 750 people. We'll see everything else out there, maybe unsanitized, dirty, moldy, but in here, we practice serve safe. We use gloves. We don't cross-contaminate. We keep hot foods hot.

We keep cold food cold. Well, it was a flood in Sayre, Pennsylvania. They had got flooded out. The river had overflowed. I was on a canteen.

Most of the time I was cooking, but that last day that we were there, I decided to go on the canteen because I wanted to see what was going on. And it was this little girl. She had on a dirty dress. Her face was smudged.

Her hair wasn't as comb. You know, she had tears in her eyes, and she thanked me for the meal that we prepared. And she said it tasted so good.

One thing about children, if they don't like it, they ain't gonna eat it. And for her to eat it and enjoy it and smile, that's all I needed. That's my ministry. That's what I get.

Out of all the prep, everything that I have to do, when someone enjoys my meal, it's worth the while. So, Bobbi, can you just give us an example of volunteer highlights or someone that really helped us get into the fray? Yes. First of all, I have to give a big shout out to a group of volunteers from Granbury, Texas. That group of individuals will deploy at a moment's notice anywhere at any time. And if they aren't able to deploy, they will rearrange or adjust their schedule and do it as soon as they get home from something big. During Hurricane Ian, this group of volunteers, some of them were on a cruise. They got off their cruise, immediately got in their canteen and headed to Florida. And that's just not abnormal. That is what they do on a regular basis. And so, I know the Texas Division especially really counts on that group that knows how to serve meals and how to work with the people on the ground and just be there meeting those human needs and spiritual needs as they arise during a disaster.

You know, I think about Elberting, Georgia, just up the road. Their service extension center up there, their advisory board purchased this what we call the Cadillac of all canteens. Wow.

And they serve anytime they're asked to that they'll bring that canteen out and be on the ground serving people. It amazes me, the heart of people to love on others, to show compassion, to be ready at a moment's notice and give up things for others. It's so inspiring. It's amazing.

It truly is. I'm amazed every time I'm like, oh, you know, there they are again. I continue to see their names on my list of deployed personnel. And they're there with a smile. That's right. They're there with a great attitude.

They're there because they want to be there. Wow. What a testimony.

Yes. The Salvation Army serving disaster is unique and to its own. No one does what we do and the way that we do it. You're truly the hands of Jesus, heart and love to this community and to the communities where we go in. People know when they see the red canteen come up that there's somebody there that loves them and cares about them. I love, I love our phrase, hope is on the way.

And we told people that now when we saw them, we said, hope is here. The Salvation Army's mission, doing the most good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store. Or visit to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-18 02:39:06 / 2023-06-18 02:44:18 / 5

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