Flood relief continues in Arkansas, Oklahoma as power restored
Cindy Fuller –
The Salvation Army’s Arkansas-Oklahoma Division (AOK) continues to respond to those affected by the late December storm that caused severe flooding across the two states. Most communities now have power fully restored in the impacted areas, yet flooding continues along the Arkansas River.
Salvation Army Units in Altus, Enid, Muskogee, Norman and Oklahoma City all provided assistance during the severe cold weather and ice storms that affected Oklahoma. From hot meals to snacks, hydration and shelter from the cold, officers, employees and volunteers met the needs of those seeking refuge from the storm.
The Salvation Army of Pine Bluff in Eastern Oklahoma continues to coordinate with the American Red Cross by supplying two evacuation centers, Swan Lake and Wright/Pastoria, with food and other essential items. Fort Smith and Conway Arkansas Salvation Army units have also been providing assistance to those affected by flooding in the areas they serve.
Captain David Leonard, corps officer in Pine Bluff, Ark., shared that while delivering dinner to residents in Wright/Pastoria, an older lady came up to him and grabbed both his hands, looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t know what we’d have done if it weren’t for The Salvation Army. You’re a good man.”
“I just made it outside as the tears came,” Leonard said. “What a privilege and honor it is to serve others in Jesus’ name.”
To date, service delivery for the winter storm and flooding includes 2,458 meals, 3,367 drinks and 792 snacks. Officers, employees and volunteers have provided over 771 hours of service. Close to 900 flood bucket clean-up kits have been issued from the divisional EDS department for distribution in affected areas. Leonard also reported many more families were affected with this round of flooding compared to the flooding experienced in June 2015.
The Emergency Disaster Services department of the AOK Division continues to assist the local Salvation Army units with resources necessary to support their communities along with monitoring current and future flooding along the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Coordination is taking place with the Oklahoma and Arkansas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) for feeding and bulk distribution of flood bucket clean-up kits.