Salvation Army provides hope through the generosity of others

Published 9:48 am Saturday, October 5, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Before the announcement of President Trump had signed a Federal Disaster Declaration for the areas in Southeast Texas impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda, there was the Salvation Army on the ground helping.

“We could not be here doing what we are doing if it was not for Ross Smith,” Captain Francisco Zuniga Jr. said. “No donations have come in at this time, but because of the foundation, we are able to help provide some relief.”

According to Zuniga, Smith wanted to help with the recovery efforts. He experienced flooding during Harvey but was spared during Imelda. 

“He prefers to encourage others to donate,” Zuniga said. 

United Way of Orange County also provided $5,000 to the Salvation Army to help as well.

Orange County Disaster Rebuild held a two-day Multi-Agency Resource Center at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center on FM 1442 on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We will get through this by people helping people,” Zuniga said.

With 78-percent of the homes flooded in Imelda were also flooded during Harvey just two years prior.

Stories of families just returning to their homes on Tuesday before the storm struck on Thursday are becoming frequent as residents pick up the pieces to rebuild, again.

Dawn Burleigh/The Orange Leader
Orange County Disaster Rebuild Executive Director Michelle Tubbleville, left, speaks with United Way of Orange County President and CEO Maureen McAllister as they assist residents with registering at the Salvation Army table at the Orange County Disaster Rebuild MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center) on Thursday.

“Thank God for Salvation Army,” Orange County Disaster Rebuild Executive Director Michelle Tubbleville said. “They have been able to help so many with gift cards and feeding so many.”

“I applaud President Trump for swiftly signing the Federal Disaster Declaration request, sent by Governor Abbott earlier this week, so those impacted by the severe flooding brought by Imelda are now able to receive individual assistance,” Congressman Brian Babin said. “As many once again travel down the road to recovery, they will now have access to the resources necessary to make this journey as quickly as possible.”

On October 1, 2019, Governor Abbott sent a letter to President Trump requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for six counties in the Gulf Coast region that sustained severe flooding that caused widespread damage. On Friday, the President granted Governor Abbott’s request that will provide Individual Assistance for those in Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, and Orange counties. 

“I want to thank the President and FEMA for swiftly responding to Texas’ call for assistance following Tropical Storm Imelda,” Abbott said. “The state of Texas’ collaboration with the federal government will ensure our communities in the Gulf Coast region are equipped with the resources they need to recover as quickly as possible.”

Individual Assistance includes up to $35,500 per household for damages sustained during the severe weather. For more information on how to apply for Individual Assistance, residents of these six counties can call 1-800-621-FEMA or visit www.disasterassistance. 

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Texas with the most effective and customer-focused response possible and with access to federal disaster loans to help businesses and residents affected by this disaster,” Pilkerton said. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at As soon as Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected area, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants. Additional information and details on the location of disaster recovery centers is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955.

For many, people will have to seek assistance through other organizations such as Nehemiah’s Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon or Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief.


Offering mud-out assistance

Nehemiah’s Vision is partnering with First Baptist Church Vidor to take applications for those in need of mud-out assistance.

They will prioritize for those most in need that do not have other resources to assist them. If you know someone in need of mud-out assistance, the organization will be set up in the church office located at 350 North Main Street in Vidor or you can call either office or apply on its website, under the tab “Get HELP”.

Nehemiah’s Vision office (409) 617-1038
First Baptist Church Vidor office (409) 769-2418


Helping in recovery from Imelda

Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization, is currently accepting requests for removing water damaged content, mucking and gutting homes, and sanitizing treatment. This is a free service provided to homeowners who have little or no insurance. Requests are based on need, volunteer availability and the order in which they are received. Contact Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief Unit at Harmony Baptist Church at 4685 SH-12, Vidor, Texas, 77662 or call 409-224-0165.


Seeking Volunteers

Anyone who would like to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief Unit can come to Harmony Baptist Church 7:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. Monday- Saturday. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and long pants. If you plan to stay all day, bring a sack lunch. For additional questions about volunteering call our volunteer line at (409) 224-0165


Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief teams offering assistance

Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief teams are in the area providing help. We can assist you and your community with boxes and packing materials to those impacted by disaster to be used to pack personal belongings, remove sheetrock, mold treatment, move debris from homes to curbs and ensure homes are safe for reconstruction. We can also provide and install tarps on damaged roofs and windows to prevent additional damage. Contact us at 866-826-2600, 972-639-6987 or


Team Rubicon 

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization and has launched an operation to assist residents in Jefferson and Orange Counties with on-going flood response and recovery efforts. Operations began on Tuesday, September 24 and are anticipated to last 21 days. Working in conjunction with state and local authorities, Team Rubicon volunteers are providing flooded home muck-outs, debris management, and expedient home repairs to communities impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda. For more information visit or call 310-630-8787