The Salvation Army continues to be a source of hope, stability, and service to the residents of the Gulf Coast 10 years after the most active and expensive hurricane season in U.S. history. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma spurred our largest emergency response to a disaster in America. We received generous donations totaling $382 million to aid survivors of the storms. And we worked with local communities to ensure 100 percent of these funds were disbursed to people who needed hope. (Read more.)
This was an unprecedented relief effort and would not have been possible without a generous outpouring of support. It has been an honor to serve the people of the Gulf Coast and partner with them to rebuild their vibrant communities.
The Salvation Army is a long-term part of the community in the Gulf Coast, and everywhere in the United States where human need exists. After disasters large or small, personal or communal, people rely on us to help them get back on their feet. This is a responsibility we take extremely seriously – it is our mission and our calling – and it is a privilege to serve.
- Commissioner David Jeffrey
When Katrina first hit, we were asked to respond with our canteens to Louisiana. Shortly after that, we received a call from the Texas state Emergency Management Agency (EMA). We were advised EMA would be sending 25,000 survivors from the New Orleans Superdome over to the Astrodome in Houston. We realized we did not have enough personnel, and requested additional help. Hundreds of pastors and church members came to volunteer. We were able to coordinate all religious services for the survivors - Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant. Our food services people brought in 6 - 8 mobile feeding stations which surrounded the Astrodome. Most of those stations came from California, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other parts of the country.
- Major John Roy Jones, Area Commander, Houston, TX
Traditionally, with The Salvation Army, we have thousands of people sign up for Christmas relief. But this year, we decided to take everyone who was entered into our system, because anyone who was a hurricane survivor was going to get Christmas if we could make it happen! How could we meet that need? We sat down and divided the plan to do mass distribution for Christmas relief in a drive-through fashion. The family would come to a check point on an alphabetical basis. Each family would receive toys, a gift box, a food box, and a Winn-Dixie gift card to buy meat for a Christmas dinner. Then each family would receive Wal-Mart gift cards to buy gifts for their families. We assisted just under 19,000 families (57,731 individuals) that Christmas. We had an army of volunteers out there every day. It was an experience that has changed my family and myself forever.
- Major Rob Vincent, former South Mississippi Recovery Commander
What started as a possibility, became a probability, and concluded as a horrid reality. Buildings were obliterated, bridges broken, levees split asunder. It was in so many ways, 'the worst of times.' And yet The Salvation Army responded with promptness, competence, determination, daring, and Christian love. The results were amazing. People were encouraged, homes rebuilt, communities kept together, lives literally saved. Hurricane Katrina did indeed represent 'the worst of times,' yet, in terms of serving hurting people in their time of greatest need and in the name of Jesus Christ, Katrina and its aftermath was also 'the best of times.' Never have I been prouder to be a Salvationist!
- Major John Jordan, former Community Relations & Development Secretary
Remembering Hurricane Katrina with The Salvation Army's Fay Brittle. Read her story here.
Click here for a commemorative report on The Salvation Army's involvement in Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma disaster relief efforts.
Learn more about The Salvation Army's Disaster Relief Services in your area and around the country.
If you would like to learn how you can support efforts like these in your community, enter your zip code in the location search box at the top of this page to find your local Salvation Army.
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.