Plans for a new Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Command Center in Philadelphia are now underway. The project was formally unveiled to the public on July 17 at a reception at the historic Divine Lorraine Hotel. The “Celebration of Philanthropy” marked the launch of the project and honored philanthropists Stephen and Sandra Sheller of Philadelphia, whose generous $1,000,000 gift made the Command Center possible.
More than 100 people attended the special event, which featured remarks from the honorees, Salvation Army officers and staff, as well as Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, City Representative Sheila Hess on behalf of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and a video greeting from PA Governor Tom Wolf.
“When we think about an area of great impact and necessity where The Salvation Army is always on the front lines, disaster relief comes to mind. Especially in recent times- from 911 to the recent major hurricanes and even events such as major fires in our backyard,” Sandra Sheller, The Sheller Family Foundation, told the crowd. “Knowing that for many of these disasters our local team has been the first responders and first on the scene serving and bringing hope to approximately 1.2 million people yearly, we can think on no better area within The Army to support.”
In the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware division, EDS teams respond to more than 400 incidents per year, including more than 250 in the Greater Philadelphia area. Our expert disaster relief staff and trained volunteers are there before, during and after a disaster to meet the needs of those impacted – by providing food, shelter, and clothing along with emotional and spiritual comfort.
The new 13,800 square foot facility will be constructed on the campus of The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters at 701 North Broad Street in Philadelphia. It will accommodate additional EDS staff, training space, supplies and vehicles.
As an international human services organization, The Salvation Army has been on the front line providing emergency relief services during every major natural and man-made disaster that has impacted the United States for the past 188 years. From the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, still the nation’s most devastating, to the September 11th attacks and the recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – The Salvation Army continues to provide support to those in their greatest times of need.
As disasters have become more prevalent and catastrophic in recent years, the new Command Center will enhance The Salvation Army’s readiness and preparedness abilities in addressing large-scale disaster relief operations throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and beyond.