Salvation Army assists Samaritan's Purse in Melville

August 8, 2014

The Salvation Army is well-known for its service to humanity worldwide. The Army’s Prairie Division is working this summer in several flood-damaged communities including Melville, Saskatchewan, where it is partnering with Samaritan’s Purse in its response to residents ravaged by the worst flood in their history.

The white Salvation Army “Community Response Unit” contrasts nicely with the black Samaritan’s Purse “Disaster Relief Unit” at the Horizon Credit Union Center in Melville. The Army’s unit is a self-contained food preparation facility within a truck-mounted van to feed flood volunteers serving with Samaritan’s Purse and other organizations.

GwynThe response unit seems to have everything for which a cook could wish. Gwyn Peters (pictured right) doesn’t consider herself a cook, but she loves to serve. She defers to her veteran colleague, Sylvia, as the cooking expert.

It was over a year ago when Gwyn walked into the Salvation Army office in Regina and applied to volunteer.

“I’m used to dealing with crises,” laughed the mother of three.  She’s received training in disaster assistance, and had a chance to help last year in High River, Alberta where the Army deployed eight Community Response Units after the worst flood disaster in Alberta’s history.

Feeding hungry volunteers is a critical part of disaster relief work. It’s time consuming and requires careful planning and execution. Richard Parr, a 30-year veteran with the Army leads a team that starts work at 10:30 a.m. every day and finishes at 7:00 p.m.

Salarmunit4At lunch and supper, Gwyn greets her patrons with a friendly smile as she passes out plates of roast ham and scalloped potatoes freshly prepared by herself and colleague Sylvia. Weary, sweaty, orange-clad Samaritan’s Purse volunteers just back from cleaning out wet basements line up for their mid-day or evening meal and a refreshing drink.

An easy smile and cheerful laughter are a refreshing part of the service.

“Even if you’re not hungry, come and we’ll feed you anyway” chuckles Gwyn. Requests for seconds are never refused.