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Local Salvation Army Manager Leaves Home to Help Florence Victims

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

After Hurricane Florence finally passed and the TV news cameras packed up and left, the devastation still remains a month later, as do the hundreds of volunteers doing whatever they can to make life a little easier for the people of North Carolina.

Oxford resident and local Salvation Army director Lisa Coleman arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina on Sept. 23 to help provide food, water and other items to the flood victims left without power and some, without a home, after Hurricane Florence dumped more than 35 inches of rain on the area in early September.

Texas resident Fred Pentz, left, and Lisa Coleman, of Oxford, at the Salvation Army Distribution Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pentz, a Navy veteran, is an emotional and spiritual care specialist and Coleman was the Operations Chief for the IMAT team. Coleman manages the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Oxford.
Photo provided.

Coleman is a disaster worker for the state of Mississippi through the Salvation Army. She also runs the Oxford Salvation Army Thrift Store on West Oxford Loop. She is serving as Operations Chief for the IMAT team in Wilmington.

Responding to areas after a disaster has become common for Coleman.

This isn’t her first deployment; however, it’s been one of the hardest, she said.

“Of all the disasters I have deployed on this has been the most emotionally draining one,” Coleman said last week. “There are still roads closed here due to flooding and some towns you still can’t get to. After the waters move back it leaves the area in complete devastation.”

Coleman and her team are servicing Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, Pender and Bladen Counties.

“We have 15 food canteens going there,” Coleman said.

The distribution center is located in an old Sears building on Oleander Drive in Wilmington.

‘This is where different agencies have set up to speak with families to see what they qualify for,” Coleman explained. “After they have gone there, they go through a drive-thru distribution center.”

Storm victims then show a ticket to a runner and receive water, food boxes, clean-up kits, personal hygiene items, tarps and diapers.

“We also have emotional and spiritual care teams out to talk to those who need it,” Coleman said.

The team has been working with Operation BBQ to cook meals for the workers and those in need.

“Since my time here, I have overseen more than 100,000 meals that have gone out to those in need,” Coleman said.

This week, there will be mobile distribution trucks deployed and Coleman and her team will be discussing what comes next when the next team comes in to relieve them. They will be leaving on Friday.

Services provided by the Salvation Army during disasters are made possible through the donations the organization receives from businesses and individuals.

For more information about the Salvation Army — how to donate or about its emergency response efforts in the Carolinas — visit this link. The Oxford Salvation Army can be reached at 662-236-2260.


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