Louisville, KY - The Salvation Army is responding to meet the increased needs of families in Kentucky this Christmas and in the months ahead. Tornadoes ravaged western Kentucky earlier this month, the state is seeing a rise in cases from the pandemic, and there are personnel and supply shortages. The Salvation Army has always and will always work to meet the needs of our neighbors in hard times regardless of the circumstances.
The impact of the tornadoes on families isn't sleeping, taking a break or a holiday on Christmas and neither is the Salvation Army. As families settle in to enjoy time together and experience the gifts of Christmas, our emergency response teams are providing needed meals, food boxes, cleaning supplies, toys for children and other much needed services in western Kentucky. For the Salvation Army, this is Christmas. This is how Jesus lived each day, serving humbly, the most broken of His people. Each family or person touched by the Salvation Army is the opportunity to share God's love and for the organization to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Earlier this month, Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky signed a proclamation declaring December "Hope Marches On" month. As the organization was preparing to share this declaration across the commonwealth, tornadoes and damaging storms ripped through and suddenly preparations, planning and immediate response were the priority. The Salvation Army is always ready to respond as resources are staged across the country ready to activate no matter the day, month, or holiday.
The proclamation wasn’t shared earlier as the organization shined a beacon of light on helping neighbors but the spirit of it is more relevant today than perhaps then. Hope does march on and each day the Salvation Army shares a meal, provides toys to families hurting, distributes needed supplies or helps a family put a Christmas meal on their table even if it's a temporary table, hope is experienced and perhaps a piece of joy is shared as the organization welcomes all to the table.
"The Salvation Army has remained steadfast in their commitment to Kentuckians, especially during the challenges,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “As we enter the Christmas holidays, I was proud to personally thank these heroes and officially proclaim December 2021 as Hope Marches on Month in honor of the organization’s continued efforts to help families in every corner of the commonwealth.”
Since the tornadoes hit, The Salvation Army has provided 20,450 meals, 19,234 snacks, 22,457 drinks, and over 720 personal care kits. Additionally, 2,168 people were reached with spiritual care, countless toys for childrenm were distributed thanks to many partnerships from businesses and over 4,435 hours of service has been completed to date. Looking ahead, hope marches into the new year as the Salvation Army plans for long term recovery efforts in communities impacted. The Salvation Army was one of the first to respond and is committed to long lasting efforts to help neighbors rebuild including help in finding longer term housing.
Beyond the tornadoes, since the beginning of the pandemic, The Salvation Army has provided more than $81 million in utility assistance for the nearly 62.6 million Americans across the country having difficulty paying bills and more than $112 million in rent and mortgage assistance for the 7 million Americans behind on rent.
"Our goal is to meet human needs without discrimination providing meals, food, warm clothing, gifts for boys and girls, and other critical assistance for families and all who might otherwise go without this Christmas or any other day of the year," says Major Art Penhale, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Kentucky – Tennessee Division.
The Salvation Army isn't taking a holiday and is grateful to serve this time of year.