Always prepared to serve

Submitted by Karen Yoho, National Capital & Virginia Division
April 15, 2019

The motto “Be Prepared” took on a new meaning for Salvation Army Lieutenant Alphonso Hughes this past weekend. Most days you will find Lt. Hughes in northern Virginia, where he serves as an assistant at The Salvation Army Alexandria Corps, but last week a family emergency called him home to Columbus, Mississippi. Late Saturday evening, April 13, as tornadoes hit a couple of towns over in Monroe County, Lt. Hughes was in contact with the Columbus Corps to see what help he could provide to their staff and volunteers. “I knew their lieutenant was at women’s retreat, so I wanted to help. It happened really fast and we were told to ‘just go!’” explained Lt. Hughes.

While he and youth evangelism and outreach director, Melvin Franklin, could not get the mobile feeding unit into storm ravaged neighborhoods, they were able to set up a distribution site. They selected a location that was easily accessible to first responders and members of the community. In addition to providing water and snacks, neighbors came by with donations such as tarps that could be distributed to those in need.

By Monday morning, all local officers were back on the job and an EOC was established. Even though Lt. Hughes was not needed on the front lines, he came back to the Corps to help make sandwiches and pack supplies. “You never know when you are going to be called to God’s service. This reminds me to always be ready,” shared Lt. Hughes. “Even when I was going through personal worries for the issues my family is facing unrelated to the storm, God provided me an opportunity to step outside of that and share his love with other people.”

Local Officer and Volunteers deployed to help Hurricane Michael victims

The Salvation Army deployed a local emergency disaster teams and equipment in response to Hurricane Michael, which roared through Florida’s panhandle and southeast Georgia earlier this week leaving behind a trail of destruction. Lieutenant Shane Owens of The Salvation Army Montgomery County Corps departed the Washington, DC region yesterday. Owens is joined by two local volunteers, both from Northern Virginia. The team will serve emergency responders and residents affected by Hurricane Michael from The Salvation Army’s FedEx disaster canteen.

Trained emergency disaster personnel provide food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual support to survivors and emergency first responders. The Salvation Army mobile feeding disaster canteens can serve 1,500 meals per day. The canteens carried food, water, and snacks.
How to help

The best way to support the survivors of Hurricane Michael is by making a financial contribution. This gives relief organizations flexibility to quickly and efficiently meet the immediate needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods.

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation:

  • Online:
  • Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • Text to Give: To receive a donation link via text: Text STORM to 51555
  • Mail checksto: The Salvation Army, P.O. BOX 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301
  • Please designate ‘2018 Hurricane Season – Michael’ on all checks.
  • Amazon’s ALEXA can now help to donate to The Salvation Army Hurricane Michael Relief. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, make a donation to The Salvation Army!


We will provide additional updates as they are made available.

EDS teams preparing for Hurricane Florence

The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division is closely monitoring weather conditions as Hurricane Florence continues its path in the Atlantic Ocean. Most recent reports indicate it may build to a Category 3-4 storm and make landfall on the North Carolina and South Carolina coast on Thursday. Coastal areas may see high winds and heavy rainfall late Wednesday. In anticipation of the potential impact of Hurricane Florence, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

“Together with our emergency response team in the Carolinas and our national disaster teams, we are closely monitoring the storm. We will be ready to respond locally in coastal areas and beyond, where heavy rainfall and potential flooding may impact wide areas in Virginia,” said Major Chris Flanagan for The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division. “We pray that the impact will be light, but we are ready to provide relief and support our emergency management partners.”

The Salvation Army coordinates with community agencies and emergency management officials to strategically provide meals, drinks, and spiritual and emotional care to first responders and disaster survivors. The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division has 8-10 mobile feeding units ready for disaster response throughout Virginia and those units and personnel can move to the most impacted areas.

The Salvation Army encourages individuals in the mid-Atlantic region to monitor the weather and storm alerts and be prepared for evacuation and the aftermath of the storm. Visit for more information.

September 10, 2018

Distributed by 

Karen Yoho, Divisional Communications Director
The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division