Tornado that killed 158 people led to one of the most significant responses
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 20, 2016) – The Salvation Army continues to be a source of hope, stability and service to the residents of southwestern Missouri five years after the costliest tornado in U.S. history.
The catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011, killed 158 people, destroyed more than 7,500 homes and 500 businesses, and caused more than $2.8 billion in damage. The tornado, which was part of a larger late-May outbreak, was the deadliest tornado to strike since the Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes in 1947.
A long-standing presence in the local community, The Salvation Army was uniquely positioned to serve survivors immediately. “The Salvation Army has been an active part of the Joplin community for over 125 years,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, The Salvation Army Midland Divisional Commander. “The Salvation Army provided immediate emergency relief after the devastating tornado, and since then has focused on long-term recovery efforts. Even today, the region remains in a rebuilding mode.”
The Salvation Army raised $6.8 million in donations on behalf of survivors of the deadly storm. In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, The Salvation Army spent $2.5 million on emergency disaster relief, including food, hydration, and basic necessities like clothing and diapers. The initial response included:
Ultimately, The Salvation Army will spend more money than was raised through donations, thanks to an additional grant from The Salvation Army’s Central Territorial Headquarters, located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The funds yet to be disbursed have been committed to long-term recovery initiatives that directly benefit survivors, and distribution is now almost complete. These funds are to be allocated to several planned projects, including:
Furthermore, The Salvation Army has worked with the city of Joplin and has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Joplin and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in grants to meet the needs of families affected by the tornado.
Grants with Habitat for Humanity helped to complete the following projects:
Grants to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks/Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri resulted in the following projects:
“Working with the city of Joplin and community partnerships in the Ozarks, progress has been made over the past five years. While the city of Joplin will never look the same, The Salvation Army will continue to help survivors heal and flourish,” said Lt. Col. Richardson.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 135 years in the United States. Approximately 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). For more information, go to salvationarmyusa.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.