Barre, VT (July 14, 2023)– In response to historic flooding in Vermont, The Salvation Army has served more than 1,290 meals since Monday to evacuees and emergency workers at local shelters and impacted communities.
With the support of local volunteers, the local Commanding Officer for the Barre Salvation Army, Major Keith Jache has been picking up meals that have been prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Response Team and the local school district, to feed people in need. Primary feeding locations have been established at the Barre Auditorium and at Smugglers Notch, where evacuees have been staying in shelters since the night of the storm. “Our main goal is for everyone to pitch in and work together as a team to help these folks with food, shelter, and comfort during this overwhelming time,” stated Major Jache.
The Salvation Army, in partnership with UPS is shipping more than 1,300 clean-up kits along with more than 75,000 bottles of water to Vermont, which began arriving yesterday. The cleanup kit supplies include a 5-gallon bucket with lid, a broom, squeegee, scrub brush, cellulose sponge, leather palm work gloves, heavy duty garbage bags and liquid cleaner. These kits help families begin the arduous work involved in cleaning up from these devastating floods.
In addition, The Salvation Army has three additional mobile feeding units (known as Canteens) which arrived in Vermont yesterday, with another two units due to arrive by Saturday. These units are staffed volunteers across New England states responding to help assist. Along with the mobile feeding units, four Polaris UTV's are being deployed to help disaster relief teams reach individuals and families that are isolated due to the impacts of the storms. These units will arrive today (Friday) and will be assigned directly to the most devastated communities.
Days of heavy rain have caused catastrophic flooding throughout most of the state, washing out roads even as flood survivors evacuate to nearby shelters. Some areas received more than ten inches of rain in a six-hour period. Montpelier, Barre, Ludlow, Londonderry, Andover, and surrounding towns were hit hardest by the storm causing rivers and streams to overflow. Additional rainfall is forecasted, with particular concern as to Sunday, as already flooded communities may see a second round exacerbating existing damages.
The Barre Salvation Army facilities have also succumbed to extensive damages with water in the basement of the community service building, as well as the local Family Thrift Store, which has closed because of more than five feet of water inundating the entire building. (Pictured above) Most of the donated items in that facility have been destroyed resulting in the store being closed for the foreseeable future. Majors Keith and Katherine Jache's primary focus is helping survivors, prioritizing those hardest hit within the community, in spite of having significant impacts to local Salvation Army infrastructure.
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services of the Northern New England Division provides disaster assistance to people living in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Within the Division there are four mobile feeding canteens equipped to aid first responders and those impacted by a local incident or a major disaster. Salvation Army officers, staff, and a network of volunteers are ready to serve. They are trained to provide food, shelter, clothing, and emotional and spiritual comfort to those affected by an incident.
If you would like to support the ongoing relief efforts in Vermont and other states impacted by the recent storms, donations can be made online at www.helpsalvationarmy.org to make a financial contribution.