OSWEGO, New York – While the Oswego Salvation Army is currently focused primarily on its extensive building renovation project, the organizationâ€™s bigger focus extends well beyond the local area. Ongoing disaster recovery efforts in Haiti and Chile are receiving significant support from the entire Salvation Army organization, including the Oswego chapter.
â€œAny time anybody makes a donation specifically earmarked for Haiti or Chile, it will go there,â€ said Oswego Salvation Army Capt. Kenneth Hayes. â€œAll of the designated funds go to that specific disaster relief effort.â€
In addition to accepting funds and supplies at local citadels, Salvation Army officers stand ready to deploy to disaster areas at any time. Each officer possesses unique skills and experience in a broad range of fields, and will be selected for deployment as needed. Major Corinne Hayes, as an example, has been trained and is assigned to the Post Deployment Interview (De-briefing) Team.
Hayes further offered the example of a Salvation Army officer on the east coast who worked previously as a warehouse supervisor. His warehousing and organizational skills were needed in Haiti, so the Salvation Army appointed him to work there. In many cases, as with Haiti and Chile, Salvation Army operations are already in place, assisting the local area on a daily basis long before any disasters hit.
â€œOne of the advantages in Haiti and Chile both was that the Salvation Army already had 30 different operations that had been there for years,â€ Hayes said. â€œThe local people started to mobilize immediately because the Salvation Armyâ€™s already at work in those countries.â€
Altogether, there are more than 15,000 ongoing Salvation Army operations in 118 countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Salvation Army workers possess an intricate understanding of the local communities they serve, with many having served in the same location for years. Workers with the 145-year-old evangelical organization help in countless ways, from assisting indigent residents to digging wells and installing water pumps.
â€œThe ministry of the Salvation Army is far reaching,â€ said Major Corinne Hayes. â€œThe Army representatives are very prepared to go into an international crisis like Haiti or Chile.â€
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.
To contribute to the Salvation Armyâ€™s disaster relief efforts, donate online at www.salvationarmy.org, or at the local citadel, 73 West 2nd St. in Oswego. For more information on the Oswego citadelâ€™s renovation project, call the â€œI Believeâ€ capital campaign headquarters at (315) 216-4161.