good morning. welcome to mosaic. i'm pastor of st. mark's lutheran church. i welcome you this morning. with me as a guest to his local. a native of california. welcome john mcknight. >> thank you for having me. >> john mcknight is the director of emergency and disaster services for the salvation army, the golden gate division -- which is a large division. >> 19 counties representing central california from san francisco down to monterey, to the nevada border. a big piece of real estate and a lot of opportunities for service in
california. >> a lot of opportunities and a lot of work to do. how did you get into this work? your background is not an emergency disaster services. >> i'm a molecular biologist by training and a nuclear operator with the navy. a wide range of work experiences. this job came about purely by accident and grace. i was with the right place volunteering with the salvation army attempting a radical career change and i succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. >> you started as a volunteer with the salvation army. >> before that i was a gardener. at one of the treatment centers in san francisco. i was playing in the dirt. having a great time. at a point when i was ready to make a transition and find some ring -- a real job -- the director pulled me aside and gave me a fantastic opportunity to prove myself. he said, john, i have a job for you. atheists don't take this and
you can do something real. it was miraculous. >> what did you find compelling about working for the salvation army? it is a church. it is faith-based. what connected it to you? >> i can tell you that i remember the moment. i was at the chapel. one of the officers there at the harbor light center was speaking. it is an amazing man. recently retired. i stay in touch with him. there was something in his character, demeanor and his dedication to service that struck a chord. i knew i wanted to do it. i was deeply impressed by the commitment of the salvation army and i wanted to be more involved. >> here you go. deserter -- director of
emergency and management relief. for californians who live in earthquake zones, we are often mindful of disasters and emergency preparedness. what does your job entail? >> in terms of preparedness, we are always in the business of educating. working with our partners here with the department of emergency management. we are always trying to get the word out -- to get people prepared for time following a disaster. it breaks my heart when you see pictures after a large-scale disaster and use the lines of people waiting for basic services. water, food, maybe gas. we hope people will take a little time this week -- this month, and put some basic resources within your space so you can get by for a few days until utilities return or until supplies are brought into the city for people to take advantage of. >> so education.
>> always education. >> there have been recent disasters in the world that we are mindful about. the earthquake in mexico. hurricanes. i imagine education after those events is even more important. >> absolutely. prayers go out to all the people affected in the various countries as well as those in florida and texas who we know are continuing to struggle today. i was seeing pictures yesterday taken of texas. the amount of debris and damage in that area -- they will be going through recovery for a great deal of time. we hope to help them recover and take advantage of that tragedy, to use as leverage to educate people on how to better prepare homes -- better communication plans and getting resources in place to take care of themselves after a disaster.
>> so the salvation army is in those places right now? >> absolutely. >> can you tell us things being done. >> our principal service in partnership with the other relief agencies in the area, we are a mass feeding agency. in texas, i know they were producing 10,000 meals a day for families in the area. similar programs were offered throughout puerto rico, the u.s. virgin islands and the bahamas as well as florida. mass feeding is of course just the avenue -- it helps people out. it is a needed service. it is also a way of building connection, trust and an opportunity to communicate with them so we can get them through the next step of recovery. >> we went to hear more about what the salvation army is doing in those areas when we come back. thank you. subway announcer: attention travelers!
good morning. welcome to mosaic. with me today is john mcknight. he is with the salvation army. the director of emergency and disaster services. needless to say, it is a busy time right now for the salvation army in both hurricane and earthquake devastated areas. you said your work starts with a meal. and it is all about building relationships. when
you connect with people, what is the support you can provide people who have been devastated ? >> the salvation army is first and foremost a church. and we are in countries throughout the world. over 116 countries. many areas have been affected by the hurricane -- and with mexico and the earthquake, we are already embedded in the community through our parishes. when we go to deliver those meals, they are being delivered by ordained ministers who are salvation army officers. they are there to be with the people during this very difficult time. it is challenging. you want to be able to fix the person's life. you want to fix the home, bring back the loved one and return their life to normalcy. but i can't. what i can do is be with them to hold their hand and help guide them through the next moments. to help uplift their faith or
give them a nudge in the direction to get the strength they need for that day. that is what we are therefore. that is why the salvation army responds and disasters. to enable people to remember there is more to life than the items they lost and there is a way of getting through a day that has to do with the faith journey in front of them. >> so often -- after the immediate disaster occurs, the work is just beginning. so you could be there for weeks . >> years. >> continuing that work. >> these areas we are talking about, the recovery process will take a very long time. certainly we are grateful for the wonderful monetary and otherwise donations we received. the money will be spent to help people get back into their
lives. the process of handing out the money takes time. today many people are in the position of trying to get bids -- so they can find out if they can rebuild their homes, take care of walls. so we will take care of them over the long-term. that includes giving them vouchers to stores if they want to go shopping, get clothes or furniture. that is how the opportunity will go on. >> and people can donate through your website. that is an invitation we want to extend to everyone. to go on to the salvation army website and donate directly to disaster services. >> thank you so much. >> tell me how the salvation army is funded. i imagine the donations are very important. >> we are finding donations come from people that support us such as large corporate gifts and individual donations. every dollar helps. we put it to good use to make sure we take care of people in the most need. >> volunteers want to be there
. they could also contact you? >> we take volunteers all the time. we use volunteers for a wide range of uses. we use them and disaster services locally. some people who have gone through significant training might be deployed to responses in texas, florida and other countries. someone willing to give time around christmas time to ring a bell -- it is a wonderful thing to do. nothing like seeing a child learn how to give her that first time. bellringing is wonderful. even if you can just give a couple of hours to your local parish. >> that is one of my favorite pictures of the salvation army. something familiar to many of us. the bellringing at christmas time. but the salvation army does so much more than just ring a bell. that is what we are learning about today.
and because you work with the goldengate division here, you are caring for people who have experienced disasters in this area too. we were speaking about one of the recent disasters with the floods in san jose where you are still working with those residents. what are you doing there? >> we are continuing to distribute the funds that were provided to us as well as giving them access to thrift stores. we are there as they come to the centers and they want someone to talk to. our officers are available to them, to work with them. a lot of the community is primarily vietnamese and working with vietnamese leadership and their parishes and churches have been an important partnership throughout this relief effort. >> the salvation army and disaster relief around the world and also here locally. we will hear more about that on mosaic in a moment.
welcome back to mosaic. with me is john mcknight from the salvation army providing disaster relief and emergency services. i have learned the salvation army does so much just through our time together around the world and also locally. if you want to hear about some of those local ministries that the salvation army is known for, >> we have been in san francisco since the 18 90s. in that time, the salvation army was always focused on helping people. we are disaster relief every day. disasters we deal with at times can happen in a moment like an earthquake or over a lifetime like
with disadvantage,. the salvation army has always reached out to people and they believe people can rise above. they believe in people and never giving up on someone. the idea of the salvation army through the social services program is to give someone an opportunity to come above where they are at. these are charities. this is what we have been about through the programs -- and youth programs, senior programs -- programs aimed at disadvantaged cultural groups. and we work with people facing addiction, alcoholism and joblessness. that has been the mission in san francisco since before the last earthquake. >> i think too, you are known for your work with families. >> absolutely. >> and also veterans. >> in san francisco, we work a lot with families.
we would like to make sure that kids have a chance. they show up and have the opportunity to get through school. we support the families throughout it. we have a great program -- on ninth and harris it is a recovery program. were single parents try to recover the life of the family. if they have been and sobriety for six months, they have a job. they are provided in apartment. it can be important for reunification. it is often a steppingstone where families are able to get back on track -- finding a life outside of addiction. >> tell us about your work in the more rural aspects of your division. >> we have some wonderful ministries throughout central california. certainly all throughout santa clara valley and other areas. my favorite is in the homeland of the grower regions. we have a mobile ministry --
officers that bring out food and water. particularly water in these hot areas. they offer services in the middle of the fields. a fantastic outreach program. all of this is about building trust. it is trust we can find out -- that people need. and an opportunity to share where their soul hurts. that tells us how to spend realtime with them. a bottle of water will only get you so far. it is realtime with somebody and an opportunity to address their needs -- which happens after we have spent enough time. that is what these outreach programs allow us to do. >> these relationships are so important. >> yes. >> are their needs you are seeing now that are not being met at the salvation army would like to try to address? >> there is always an unmet need. and they are always individuals.
i could blanket tell you about housing problems, water problems and low income. there are things i could address there. most importantly, if i can sit and spend time with somebody -- if i can't fix all the larger things, maybe i can help them find a community -- a bonding or a trust that will allow them to get through each day. a friend to talk to. that is what we offer in these communities. i love that the salvation army officers really spend time building those individual relationships one on one watch them walking through the streets of san francisco talking to homeless people as they hand out sandwiches and try to get to know each one by name. everyone's in a while, somebody says, i'm done. we can pick them up and take them off the street and put them in a program and hopefully lead them in the right direction . >> this is the salvation army
working 24 hours a day every day here throughout the world and also in san francisco. we will come back in just a moment and continue to learn more about the salvation army and disaster relief with john mcknight. thank you. recently our country has witnessed catastrophic devastation. hurricanes and flooding have upended lives and livelihoods. across this great country, americans have answered the call.
that special calling that compels us, when others are down, to step up and do whatever it takes. america is at her best when, against all odds, we come together and lift each other up. announcer: please donate to oneamericaappeal.org america needs you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. being prepared is a part of who you are. but it's especially important in the case of a disaster. be informed about possible emergencies in your area. make a plan that covers where you'll go in an emergency. build a kit with the things you need to survive. there is no one more capable of planning for your situation, than you. start your plan today. go to ready.gov/myplan
welcome back to mosaic. i'm with john mcknight from the salvation army. he is a manager of disaster services here at the goldengate division. we have been talking a lot about crisis, disaster -- working with people after their lives have been devastated. and i imagine that has to be very challenging and exhausting work. for people on the ground with the salvation army. how do they keep going? >> i would say -- is the individual. i will tell you a little story. we had a wonderful officer over the mission core. if you go to the mission core services, you will have a chance to meet him, his wife and his five beautiful boys. he found this woman sitting behind the rubble of her house and ashes -- this giant black
pond which looks like something from the creature of the black lagoon. she asked him if he would dig around the water and look for her fish. he found himself about shoulder deep in this black ash. one by one, he pulled up these giant fish. she called out each one by name. those were her kids. and fill these fish into a big bucket. he can't return the house. looking around, everything she had was lost except those fish. if he never walked into that little lot, he would have never known that that was what she needed. on that day, she walked away with something she could hold and that fulfilled her heart. what gets us through the day are little moments like this. a chance for someone to open their door and let us into their lives and allows us to give them a hug, prayer, holding their hand.
even though it is hard to share this moment -- this pain, i am always grateful that someone allows me to share that moment in their lives. that is what keeps me going. i think that is what keeps all of us going. the real connections. those heartfelt moments. chances to touch somebody and see them move a little further down the road. >> a beautiful story. finding resurrection in the midst of resurrection. >> are we doing enough, in your assessment, and emergency preparedness? >> are we doing enough? >> are we, the citizens of your jurisdiction. >> what do you have in your house? do you have enough water? water will chase you out of the house house. if you can't clean yourself, you get sick.
i could go through a long list of items. but if you haven't started, start with water and see where that gets you. make it a family project. something to teach her kids. if you are single at home, do it so you can take care of yourself. at the end of the day, then you have something to offer your neighbor. consider it as a social gift to your neighbor. please prepare -- 72 hours for supplies. >> so with the salvation army, you are working with all the agencies to coordinate these efforts on our behalf, for which we thank you. it is all about those relationships, isn't it? >> is a little-known secret of emergency management. >> tell us about that. >> you think about a disaster, when everything is coming apart. and if i have built a relationship with you, i have built a relationship -- we know what we can do.
we pick up the phone and get to work. if those relationships are built in advance, then we can do a lot more for the city. we are lucky in san francisco that the relationships are being built by the interfaith community and the interfaith council and the department of emergency management. all of us are working amazingly well. it is unique. it is not like that everywhere. we are fortunate to have such a wonderful emergency management community. working hard to make sure we all know how to work in a unified way. >> you are so hopeful and optimistic in this work. what would you say is the biggest challenge of your work right now, john? >> i like to focus on that point of optimism. i am an optimist. because i see what people do in
times of disaster. all the plans we put into place don't account for the fact that people in the neighborhood bring food to take care of neighbors. that people on a street will walk next door to check on the little old lady or the gentleman who they have not seen in a couple of days. it is the boats that come across the bay to help people evacuate. it is the things we cannot put into plan that we know will happen. challenges -- there are always challenges. what i like to focus on are the unexpected benefits and grace that come from people. i believe in that. i hope that all of my fellow emergency management -- believe in that and to some extent, that we can count on it . >> i can see why you are a wonderful, wonderful addition to the salvation army and capturing the best of the human spirit and the work that you do. thank you for being on mosaic and sharing about the good work of the salvation army. on behalf of my cohost, and our
first... a trip back down memory lane... the temptations are considered the greatest r & b group in history... and welcome to bay sunday. i'm your host, kenny choi. a trip down memory lane. the temptations are considered the greatest r&b group in history. now there is a play that brings them back to life called called "ain't too proud." we have the stars with us this morning. welcome to bay sunday. >> thank you for having us. >> good to have you with us. otis williams, the only surviving member of the temptations -- i heard you had a chance to meet him to prepare for this role. >> it was amazing. he came by early in the rehearsal process to see what was going on and keep tabs on us, i would say. he really