The unpredictability of disaster leaves us all vulnerable. There are many within our community who have experienced the sudden loss that accompanies disaster. At those times it is an army of volunteers that rises to come alongside the survivors and to help diminish the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
In Kelowna, we are privileged to work alongside emergency first responders and other agencies to provide relief and comfort. Whether it is the feeding of first responders on the scene or giving care and comfort in the reception centre, Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Volunteers are prepared to help in whatever way possible.
Our highly-trained volunteers work in teams to provide a well-disciplined and well-rounded approach to helping with a disaster. Out of our Community Life Centre in Kelowna, these teams respond from their hearts and give hope even when it seems that all is lost.
Here are some examples of the emergency and disaster relief work of The Salvation Army:
- In the past couple of years we have responded to over a dozen calls in Kelowna and West Kelowna to provide meals for first responders and gave care and comfort on site and in the reception centre in conjunction with Emergency Support Services (ESS) personnel. We have helped distribute donations for those who have lost their homes due to disaster, and provided a safe place to decompress in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.
- In May of 2017 Kelowna experienced flooding and our Emergency Disaster Service Teams were in the community helping. First, they responded by helping families leave their homes. Secondly, we assisted with Emergency Social Services at the Reception Centre. Third they came alongside community members and helped fill sandbags. Together our team helped to keep the flood waters back and homes safe.
- Fire season came early to BC in the summer of 2017. Our Sutherland Avenue Church Building was used by Emergency Social Services as a Reception Centre. Over 1600 people came through the centre from 100 Mile House, Clinton, Williams Lake and Cache Creek. Our Emergency Disaster Service Team was deployed to Williams Lake. They were able to serve food to front line workers.
- In 2016 for families that live in Kelowna who were affected by the Fort McMurray Fire, we were able to provide vouchers for clothing & food supplies as well as emotional and spiritual care. We sent an Emergency Disaster Services team onsite to support the First Responders.
- In 2013 we sent two Emergency Disaster Services teams and our Community Crisis Unit to aid and give assistance to the first responders and the residents after the devastating flooding in Calgary and High River Alberta.
- As an international organization, the Salvation Army responds to emergencies around the world, we share locally in this mission here in Kelowna. The Salvation Army was first to arrive and last to leave when tragedy struck the World Trade Center in New York; we have counseled and comforted grieving relatives of those lost in air disasters at Paris (France), Gander (Newfoundland), Locherbie (Scotland), and at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia; we worked tirelessly during Manitoba’s devastating flood and Eastern Canada’s ice storm, and we assisted with emergency relief operations overseas in Rwanda, Albania, Kosovo, and Iraq.
The Army’s unique, international, quasi-military structure enables it to move quickly into action. Like no other civilian body, it can mobilize officer-personnel, resources, volunteers and financial support from the public at large, and bring them to bear where the need is greatest. And what motivates its humanitarian services? Love for God, allied with a practical concern for the needs of humanity.
If you would like to know more about this program and how you can help, please contact Angela (Volunteer Coordinator) at (250) 860-2329.