• Michelle Hartfield

Loaves and Fishes in the Mississippi Delta - The Salvation Army's Continued Tornado Response

The Mississippi Delta is a beautiful place full of history and vibrant communities. When tornadoes ripped across the entire state Friday night, many of these communities were thrown into chaos. What followed is an example of humanity and southern hospitality at its finest. 

When Salvation Army units deployed to the communities of Blackhawk and Summerfield, crew members discovered a distribution center that was not an official distribution center at all. 

Renee, a longtime resident of Blackhawk, explained. “Loaves and Fishes. That’s the best way to sum it up. Ms. Ailene came out here yesterday with 25 biscuits and water, and it has grown from there.” 

Inspired by one person intending to serve only breakfast, community members started to bring donations. Now, there are multiple tents providing any number of necessities and caravans of all-terrain vehicles taking coolers of ice and supplies to people still trapped by impassible roads and unable to drive out. 

Ailene Downs, whose breakfast offering inspired the “distribution center,” said, “This is a community that loves their people. We are small but mighty. This is an outpouring of love like I have never seen before.” 

Mayor Washington Bell of Summerville was one of the leaders to request meals from The Salvation Army to add to this community effort. “It’s sad that this is necessary, but its amazing to see the community come together like this.” 

“The community response has been truly inspirational,” said William Trueblood, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director. “We are blessed to be a part of this. We hate that we have to do it, but we love that we get to.”

The Salvation Army will continue to assess community needs and respond to requests from MEMA and other partners to ensure survivors have their immediate needs met. 

You can support these efforts by visiting helpsalvationarmy.org or by texting MSTornadoes to 51555.