The Salvation Army provides numerous disaster relief services. Since each disaster is unique and devastating in the way it impacts the lives of individuals and communities, The Salvation Army’s emergency & disaster response is community based, varying from place-to-place based upon the community’s situation and the magnitude of the incident.

Emergency response services are activated on short notice according to an agreed-upon notification procedure. As one of Canada’s major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army is often assigned specific roles by emergency preparedness authorities. Even with the ability to be flexible and to respond based upon the community’s situation, there are several basic services that The Salvation Army offers. These services form the core of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services program.

  • Food & Hydration
  • Emotional & Spiritual Care
  • Donations Management
  • Disaster Social Services

Food & Hydration

Often, the most visible Salvation Army emergency disaster service is the meals and drinks served to disaster survivors and emergency first-responders.  This food may be prepared and served at congregate feeding sites, such as community centres, Salvation Army buildings, camps or shelters, or from one of the Army’s Community Response Units (CRUs), which are mobile canteens.  The Salvation Army’s CRUs are strategically placed in various communities to allow for a rapid response.

Emotional & Spiritual Care

Emotional & Spiritual Care includes spiritual comfort and emotional support to those impacted by the incident, their families, as well as emergency first-responders coping with the stress of a disaster. This support may include comforting the injured and bereaved, conducting memorial services, and providing chaplaincy services. Emotional & Spiritual Care respects all faiths and traditions.

In addition, individual, family and group trauma intervention and emotional support may be available through trained personnel and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams.

In some communities, The Salvation Army offers Meet and Greet. The primary role of Meet and Greet is to provide support for evacuees and staff, mainly in designated reception centres, group lodging, staffing bureau or at disaster sites.  Meet and Greet services at these venues could: welcome evacuees, provide initial information, perform initial screening, help to maintain order, assist special needs evacuees, and ensure evacuees’ needs are met.

Donations Management

During a major disaster, the generosity of Canadians enables The Salvation Army to solicit and distribute donated goods. Additionally, The Salvation Army may be tasked with the collection, sorting and distribution of in-kind donations, including but not limited to: food, clothing, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, furniture, or personal protective equipment.

We may elect to purchase and distribute basic commodities (food, water, medicines, etc.) not readily available at the time of need.  Financial donations are the best way for the public to assist The Salvation Army during a disaster. This is because:

  • It allows for a rapid response (i.e. money can be sent immediately)
  • Ensures we can purchase exactly what is needed and when it is needed
  • Supplies are purchased as close to the impacted community as possible to help offset economic losses caused by the incident

Donations are gratefully accepted online at: or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).

Disaster Social Services

The Salvation Army may provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors.  In the early phases of a disaster event, emergency financial assistance is focused on survivors’ essential needs: food, clothing, shelter, and medications.  Assistance may be provided through vouchers or gift cards.

In addition, The Salvation Army may provide clothing, usually through vouchers to our thrift stores, or other essential items, such as hygiene kits.