A local Salvation Army church shows how preparing in advance helped them keep their food bank and breakfast program running after a major storm.
The Salvation Army in Charlottetown, P.E.I., prepared in advance so they could keep serving the community via their food bank and breakfast program after post-tropical storm Fiona caused extensive damage and downed power lines. PHOTO: THE SALVATION ARMY, CHARLOTTETOWN
The Salvation Army in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Respond in a timely and helpful way to the community after post-tropical storm Fiona, and build up disaster preparedness for any future weather events.
Extra food on hand when emergencies are predicted. Industrial generators for church properties.
Corps officer John Burton explains:
We had about a week’s notice about when the storm was coming. The leader who runs our food bank and breakfast program started buying and stockpiling extra food in case the stores were closed, which was exactly what happened. When post-tropical storm Fiona hit on Friday, we were well provisioned with probably almost double the supplies we would normally have.
When the storm hit, the government had a shelter-in-place order, so we couldn’t serve the community on the weekend. Our power came back on at the church on Sunday evening, which was a real God moment, so we were able to carry on with our breakfast program without any interruptions. That breakfast program is for anyone, and we usually serve 50–60 people three days a week. The people who come are seniors and people living in poverty who need some extra help. On that Monday we were close to 80.
We’re seeing an increase in people coming to our food bank, in calls for help with fuel costs, and gas for generators and cars.
We learned that 95 per cent of the province was without power. We started providing a bagged lunch. There are other agencies that normally do lunch, and in normal times we try not to replicate things, but they didn’t have power. We made up bag lunches, about 60–70 a day for the five days after the storm.
We’re seeing an increase in volume of people coming to our food bank, in calls for help with fuel costs, and gas for generators and cars. It’s been tough for people who live in the more remote villages. They were without power for longer. We’ve made food deliveries to those remote areas. We’ve been really trying to keep the seniors in mind and make sure they have what they need.
Churches should have an emergency and disaster plan, including what to do when the power goes out. Have a list of volunteers and lists of people to check on others in the congregation. We were fortunate our power came back on so quickly, but now we’re in the process of securing an industrial generator. These storms aren’t going to go away, so we will have that generator backup to keep going. If it happens in the winter, we’d be able to function as a warming centre. In times when we can help, we need to step up and be seen to help. The Salvation Army wants to serve the community as humble, selfless and giving followers of Christ. That’s the whole story for us.
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