The hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast earlier this year drew an outpouring of donations for relief efforts. Now agencies in Iowa are seeking to refocus that attention to the needs at home. Major Keith Petrie of the Salvation Army in Des Moines says Katrina had an almost immediate impact on his organization. Petrie says hurricane Katrina hit about a week after they sent out a letter locally for support, and he says most of the response was for hurricane relief. Petrie says the hurricanes had another impact locally. He says some 164 families relocated here and he expects to get requests for assistance.
Petrie says high heating and gasoline prices also impact the Salvation Army as much as other people. Petrie says the hurricanes were a terrible tragedy — but the need still continues on the local level too. He says it’s all across the country, any place he’s been, there are people in need. Petrie says we sometimes lose sight of the need because it’s not something that’s glaring at us.
Petrie says the Salvation Army provides a lot of support, from paying rent to helping people find food and shelter. He says unusual situations sometimes come up, emergencies. Petrie says it doesn’t matter who you are, sometimes even people who aren’t necessarily “downtrodden or less fortunate” need counseling or support. Petrie encourages you to help by donating at the red kettles the Salvation Army has set up at locations across Iowa.