Marysville food

EDS volunteers unload food from the canteen after a tornado destroyed much of Marysville, Indiana in 2012. Click here to see more photos of the EDS response in southern Indiana.

It’s springtime in the Midwest, which means that we can expect to see more than just flowers popping up. We’re headed into storm season, when in a single week we might experience bright sunshine, torrential rain, hail, high winds and frost. For members of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services unit, this is also the season when they are on high alert for tornadoes, flooding and other disasters that often strike with little or no notice.

Haiti Jerry Larsen

Indiana Division’s EDS Director Jerry Larsen in Haiti

Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) is on call 24 hours a day, its team of volunteers and staff ready to load up a mobile canteen at a moment’s notice. They are often the first to arrive after a tornado weaves a path of destruction through a small town and the last to leave a disaster site – whether that means staying for days, months or years. When major disasters strike – like the Haitian earthquake or hurricanes Katrina and Sandy – EDS workers mobilize around the world, converging on the scene to provide food, hydration, shelter and prayer.

In Indiana, The Salvation Army EDS is ready to help evacuees during floods or communities that face widespread power loss during the coldest and hottest days of the year. Warming and cooling centers offer a place for comfort, rest and food, all at no cost to those who are displaced. One hundred percent of every donation to The Salvation Army that is earmarked for emergency services goes directly into providing these services and keeping our mobile canteens up and running.

This past winter was especially difficult, and The Salvation Army was called upon time and again to open warming centers all across the state. Massive power outages and sustained record low temperatures created a need that Emergency Disaster Services was prepared to meet. When tornadoes struck in Kokomo, Lafayette, Washington and other communities in November, The Salvation Army was there to help homeowners, utility crews and others in the aftermath. When flooding in Hancock County displaced 20 families, The Salvation Army was there, providing the funds to house everyone in a local motel until the water receded.

When severe weather strikes this spring, The Salvation Army will be back, bringing with it the assurance that no one has to weather these storms alone. Not while the trained men and women of Emergency Disaster Services are on duty and ready to respond.


If you are interested in becoming a trained volunteer with The Salvation Army EDS, click here to learn about upcoming EDS classes in your area.