Nashville, TN – The Salvation Army is responding to meet the increased needs of families in Tennessee this Christmas and into the new year. With rise in cases from the pandemic, storms hitting parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, supply and personnel shortages, The Salvation Army has always and will continue to work to meet the needs of our neighbors in hard times.
The impact of the tornadoes and the pandemic 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 the two states. For the Salvation Army, this is Christmas. This is how Jesus lived each day, serving humbly, the most broken of people. Each family or person touched by the Salvation Army is the opportunity to show God's love and for the organization to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Earlier this month, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed a proclamation declaring December "Hope Marches On" month. As the organization was preparing to share this declaration across the state, tornadoes and damaging storms ripped through parts 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.
Tennessee Salvation Army locations responded by serving communities that were hit in their own backyard with no electricity and damages, but they also responded by sending personnel and their mobile kitchens to Kentucky to help boardering neighbors who were at their worst. In addition, Tennessee people, businesses and organizations came together to provide much needed donations, resources, and supplies. It didn’t matter where people lived, it was help on its way and needs were being met.
The proclamation wasn’t shared earlier this month as the organization put the spotlight on helping neighbors whether in Tennessee or in the border commonwealth of Kentucky. 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, or helps a family put a Christmas meal on their table, hope is experienced and perhaps a piece of joy is shared as the organization welcomes all to the table.
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 so far with spiritual care, countless toys for children distributed thanks to many partnerships from businesses and over 4,435 hours of service. Hope will continue marching 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.
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 the organization is honored to serve