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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.
(Bob Heal, EDS Canteen Coordinator for the New London Corps; Dianne, recovering homeowner; Captain Sam Gonzalez, Southern New England Divisional Secretary; and Stella Guitandjiev, Salvation Army Caseworker, in front of Dianne’s home and New London’s EDS Canteen 1.)
NORWICH – With the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Sandy now behind her, Dianne feels as if she is finally getting her life back. Two years after her home had major damage from Hurricane Sandy, on top of the pitfalls that some homeowners had to experience with their rebuilding efforts, life for Dianne is finally returning to normal. Dianne is a single woman, in her late 60s, who is also going through some medical issues.
Dianne’s home was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The severe winds blew off part of her metal roof, while aluminum siding was dented and bent. Water was coming into the house in multiple locations - ceiling, windows, doors, and between the walls, which caused warped floors, wet kitchen cabinets, damaged appliances, and ultimately mold issues. Skirting under her mobile home was damaged as well. As if the physical damage was not bad enough, Dianne also experienced contractor fraud! A contractor took her money, performed very inferior work, and did not complete the job.
Dianne said, "I had given up hope. My calls were not being followed up with, by the politicians nor the agencies that were supposed to help. Then The Salvation Army called.
When I first heard from Salvation Army Caseworker Stella, I was not going to take the call. I thought she was just another bureaucrat offering empty promises. Stella informed me that the Army was truly here to help. I was in tears. After so many false starts, I now had someone who cared. Stella was like the ‘energizer bunny.’ She just kept on working. Soon, she found funding. She also helped me to find a reputable contractor, and she took an interest in making my house a home again."
Now... two years later, a Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services "Convoy" traveled along the Connecticut coast delivering "After Disaster – Welcome Back Baskets" to people like Dianne. These are families that, when all other sources had been exhausted, came to The Salvation Army and were helped. We are happy to be serving them and will continue to serve other individuals and families like them for as long as there is a need.
The Salvation Army continues to serve as one of the last safety nets available to support hurricane survivors on their road to full recovery. Working to finish disbursing its remaining $15 million by the end of 2015, the organization is continuing to work directly with the affected communities, while partnering closely with local Long Term Recovery Groups and regional Unmet Needs Round Tables, which help identify cases of those who have remaining critical need.
“In times of crisis, The Salvation Army is always among the first to respond with immediate relief,” said Major George Polarek, The Salvation Army’s Community Relations and Development Secretary for the Eastern Territory. “With a storm as devastating as Sandy, we understand that the community will need years to fully recover, and The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to serve the long-term needs of our neighbors. We have been meeting human need without discrimination in the Tri-state area for more than 130 years, and we will continue to do so as long as there is need.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the public donated $31,247,072 to The Salvation Army for relief and recovery efforts. To date, $15,458,135 has been disbursed. The remaining $15,788,937 has been fully committed, and the Army is on track to meet its self-imposed recovery assistance end date of September 2015 for New Jersey and December 2015 for New York and Connecticut, Polarek said.
Projected expenditures include the following:
Maj. Polarek explained the Army follows a field-tested protocol with its disaster response that includes two distinct phases:
The Salvation Army is one of only a handful of agencies that are able to serve in all phases of a disaster.
“We know from more than a century of providing emergency disaster relief in the United States and around the world that many Hurricane Sandy disaster survivors will continue to have other needs for years to come,” continued Maj. Polarek. “Even after the Sandy recovery is completed, the doors of our local Salvation Army Community Centers are always open, and we will continue to serve as long as there is need.”
Following major disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and, more recently, Hurricane Sandy, The Salvation Army’s relief effort extends over many years. For example, its 9/11 Long-Term Recovery program remained active until January 1, 2007. Likewise, its nine-year history with Hurricane Katrina has given The Salvation Army additional perspective on “long-term” recovery.
For more than 100 years, The Salvation Army has been a trusted provider of emergency assistance, and is officially recognized by federal, state and local governments across the country as a sanctioned disaster relief and assistance organization. As a federally recognized relief organization and a charter member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), The Salvation Army was involved in the development of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Framework. Within this framework, The Salvation Army is recognized as an organization able to provide relief services to communities impacted by both natural and man-made disasters until the service is no longer needed by the community.
Keep checking back for more local coverage surrounding the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. To read our article from this past fall, including a story on one of the families we have helped, please click here.