For the Mississippi tornado relief efforts, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team deployed the Polaris off-road vehicle as a first response tool knowing the initial, large-scale destruction would make roads impassable for larger support vehicles. The Salvation Army teams utilized the Polaris to distribute meals in neighborhoods not accessible to canteens and large service vehicles. In addition to food and water, trained disaster professionals offered emotional and spiritual support to survivors processing the trauma of the tornado and the overwhelming experience of destruction and loss.
“Individuals and families in virtually inaccessible areas were finally able to receive essential services,” said William Trueblood, Divisional Director of Emergency Disaster Services.
As roadways were cleared and The Salvation Army’s larger feeding units moved in to provide services to the broader communities, the Polaris was redeployed to support services at a bulk distribution site in Rolling Fork. The Salvation Army, Walmart, Tyson Foods, Red Cross, and many more organizations distributed bulk food, water, tools, and cleaning supplies to hundreds of individuals and families impacted by the disaster. The Polaris was used to provide hydration and nourishment to volunteers and the residents waiting in long car lines during the week-long support effort.
“The essential function of the Polaris in a disaster situation where our response must be timely and flexible cannot be overstated. The Polaris's strength for the Army is its size, speed, and versatility, allowing us to reach survivors quickly and adapt our services as the situation changes. We are so grateful to our friends at Polaris for supporting our commitment to continue ‘Doing the Most Good,’” said Trueblood.
The Salvation Army has distributed more than 65,000 meals and snacks and over 38,000 drinks to date. The Salvation Army will continue to assess and respond to the survivors' needs in the affected communities.
To support The Salvation Army's Mississippi Tornado relief efforts, text MSTORNADOES to 51555 or donate at http://helpsalvationarmy.org or 1-800-SAL-ARMY.