Salvation Army Provides Bilingual Assistance for Irma Survivors

October 06, 2017
Captain Mechelle Henry | mechelle.henry@uss.salvationarmy.org

Salvation Army Provides Bilingual Assistance for Irma Survivors

Bonita Springs, FL - Salvation Army Officer, Major Doris Lawrence, is using her bilingual skills to assist families coming into The Salvation Army Bonita Springs Service Center. A lady with her children came in tears and said she had tried calling FEMA several times before coming to The Salvation Army.  She explained that her English was not good enough to communicate with the operator and she became frustrated with working long days cleaning her home with little to no help.   Major Lawrence, who provides emotional and spiritual care, called FEMA and within minutes - set up an appointment at their office to speak to a representative. 

“Bilingual volunteers are needed in this area,” said Major Lawrence.  “We are seeing several Irma survivors coming to the office in need of FEMA assistance and unable to communicate their needs.”  

Every day for a week, Major Lawrence assisted between five to ten Spanish speaking families with assistance.  She has coordinated FEMA to come meet with the families at The Salvation Army center, simply because the families cannot get to their homes due to the overwhelming amount of standing water still in their neighborhoods.  Major Lawrence sat and talked with families for hours about their ordeal and their loss.  She lifted an emotional barrier by providing sympathy and understanding in a desperate time of need.

Major Lawrence, expressed her concerns about the Spanish speaking victims and their long-term recovery service needs in their area.  She was thankful for the Spanish speaking staff and volunteers, who continue to work tirelessly in this community.  Thanks to the bilingual skills of one Salvation Army Officer, many are finding hope with love and compassion.

The Salvation Army in Ft. Myers has prepared and distributed 174,844 meals, drinks and snacks; provided 9,005 cleaning supplies; 5,378 hygiene kits; 6,450 food boxes; 157,756 infant supply boxes; 3,293 victims with emotional and spiritual care; and 1,930 volunteers gave 181,542 hours of service.

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The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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