International Students Volunteer with The Salvation Army in Hammond, LA

August 31, 2021
Philip Burn | philip.burn@uss.salvationarmy.org | (214) 418-9536

International Students Volunteer with The Salvation Army in Hammond, LA

Baton Rouge, LA (August 31, 2021) - Word spread quickly in Hammond, LA, that a group was serving food at Zemurray Park on Tuesday. A steady line of cars reaching around the block greeted The Salvation Army mobile kitchen from Pasadena, TX, as it pulled into the parking lot.

Alicia, Nuria, and Paula are international music students from Spain enrolled in the master’s program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Alicia read on Instagram that lunch would be provided at the park, so the friends ventured out on their bicycles to see what they could find. They have been without power since Hurricane Ida moved through the area on Sunday evening.  

The students have been in Louisiana for less than a month as classes started on August 9th. The news of an approaching hurricane was particularly frightening and daunting for the girls. “I was very afraid as we don’t have hurricanes in Spain,” said Nuria. “We put our clothes and belongings into bags and left our instruments in the music school as we didn’t want them to be damaged.”

Hurricane Ida caused loss of power in Hammond along with many other communities in the region. “The power went out about 6 PM on Sunday. We prepared for the worst and stayed in our apartment once the storm began,” said Alicia.

The girls were among the first people to greet Captain Dante Salgado and his crew once the mobile kitchen was in position. “We had just started to set up and they asked if there was anything they could do to help,” said Salgado. “In no time at all they were behind the serving table passing out hot dog plates and water to the line of cars. They took over the entire operation!”

After more than two hours serving grateful individuals and families from the community, the last plate was served. “We were very sad in our apartment this morning and came out today to find some help for ourselves,” said Nuria. “After meeting up with The Salvation Army team it was so nice to help other people in the same position as us, without power, and struggling.”

“We prepared for the storm as best we could. Other than losing power we are fine,” said Alicia. “It was good to get out of the apartment and I enjoyed helping today.”

The team served 1,748 meals in Hammond on Tuesday, enjoying great support from the community and local law enforcement. The Pasadena mobile kitchen will continue service in Hammond on Wednesday, while 10 additional units from Texas will work in other impacted communities. Seven additional units arrived on Tuesday evening from The Salvation Army in Oklahoma Arkansas to support response efforts.

Paula said, “I was feeling very homesick this morning, missing my family and my boyfriend. I like it here, but my English is not great, so sometimes it can be very difficult and discouraging. It was hot and hard work, but it felt good to help. There were so many people! I’m hoping we can come back and help The Salvation Army again tomorrow.”

To make a financial donation to support ongoing Hurricane Ida relief efforts go to helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest disaster response information go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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