TIFTON, GA (August 31, 2023) — As South Georgia braced itself against the impact of a weakened yet still formidable Idalia, The Salvation Army of Georgia took swift action to aid affected communities. Idalia, a Category 2 hurricane by the time it reached South Georgia, caused widespread disruption, leaving downed trees, power lines, and a trail of damaged homes and businesses in its wake.
Having previously struck Florida's upper west coast as a Category 3 hurricane, Idalia unleashed raging winds and heavy rains that inflicted significant damage across multiple counties in southern Georgia.
"This is a story that continues to unfold," noted Major Jason Smith, Deputy Commander of the Georgia Incident Management Team. "We are committed to assisting those affected by the storm and will continuously evaluate the situation to ensure the most effective deployment of our resources."
In times of disaster, The Salvation Army collaborates closely with local, state, and federal partners at Emergency Operations Centers to coordinate relief efforts. Even before Idalia made landfall in Georgia, The Salvation Army had proactively stationed teams on the ground, providing meals at shelters and Emergency Operation Centers across the region in anticipation of the hurricane's impact.
The Georgia counties hit hardest by Idalia's fury include Brooks, Lowndes, Echols, Clinch, Lanier, Cook, and Berrien. Consequently, The Salvation Army is channeling its relief resources to these areas.
To spearhead its relief efforts, The Salvation Army of Georgia has deployed eight canteens (mobile feeding units) and specially trained disaster crews to the most affected southern Georgia counties. Each canteen can serve an average of 1,000 meals per day. Participating Georgia canteens hail from Augusta, Newnan, Marietta, Dalton, Gwinnett County, Elberton, and The Salvation Army's Evangeline Booth College. Additionally, the canteen in Valdosta will be available, and other canteens from The Salvation Army of Georgia are on standby, ready to provide assistance where and when needed.
In a strategic move to enhance efficiency, The Salvation Army of Georgia's Hurricane Idalia Incident Management Team (IMT) will soon relocate its operational center from Tifton, Georgia, to Valdosta, GA. This relocation situates the IMT closer to the most heavily impacted areas in the state, enabling more effective assessment and deployment of resources.
"We stand ready and humbled to extend relief services to our fellow Georgia residents impacted by this devastating weather event," affirmed Lanita Lloyd, Director of Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army of Georgia. "Our commitment remains unwavering as we continue to assess and deploy Salvation Army disaster relief resources wherever and whenever needed."
How You Can Help
The best way to support The Salvation Army’s disaster preparation and response efforts is by making a financial contribution, which allows The Salvation Army to meet immediate and long-term needs. During emergency disasters, 100% of designated gifts support specific relief efforts.