As thousands of homes and businesses remain without power in Arkansas and Oklahoma, The Salvation Army continues to expand its reach into the area to respond to Americans suffering through the perils of the harsh ice storm. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reports 20,937 homes and businesses across the state are without electric service because of the ice storm. The anguish is even greater in Arkansas as the Arkansas Emergency Management reported that there are over 107,000 without power in the Natural State.
The northern part of Arkansas was smashed with devastating ice attacks with some areas reporting accumulations of 1″ – 3″. Major Richard Watts, Northwest Arkansas Area Commander, and employees and volunteers have been inundated since the storm began on Monday, January 26.
Between Monday and Wednesday of this week, the Army has served 2,625 prepared meals, 8,437 hot/cold drinks, and 3,913 snacks to individuals and families impacted by the ice storm in Benton, Madison and Washington counties in Northwest Arkansas. In addition, lodging has been provided for 482 individuals and showers for 700 others. The Army has also provided 150 blankets, 70 comfort kits, 150 clothing items, and 150 infant supplies.
During the response, the shelter in Fayetteville became so overcrowded that the Chapel was opened and pews and floor space were used to provide enough space for people to get a good night’s rest in a warm and safe environment. More importantly, 150 persons received emotional and spiritual care.
A combined number of 83 officers, employees, and volunteers have worked 3,854 hours to serve and care for those affected by the storm. Additional personnel from across the AOK Division have been requested and are on the way to assist those there now providing emergency disaster assistance. The Enid, OK Salvation Army Corps, led by Major Johnny Poff, is bringing a crew and canteen (mobile feeding unit) while the Tulsa, OK Area Command is dispatching a similar canteen and crew to provide additional support. By Friday morning, there will be four canteen units to help serve those in need, whether it is a hot meal, or a warmhearted hug.
The local Emergency Operations Centers are estimating meal counts will continue to rise over the next few days while many residences and businesses remain without power. Depending upon the location, estimates for restoring power are ranging from Friday to sometime next week.
Salvation Army personnel continue to work with State Emergency Management officials and other VOAD agencies, as well as local Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), to coordinate services and provide ongoing assistance to residents in both Arkansas and Oklahoma in need of ongoing aid due to current and pending weather conditions.
If you would like to make a donation to help the victims of the recent ice storms, you can do so by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by dontaing online.