National Volunteer Week spotlight: Sue Marsh ‘invaluable’ to disaster team

Apr 21, 2021

National Volunteer Week is April 18-24, when people across the country come together to serve others and improve their communities. Feel the joy of helping others by signing up to volunteer for The Salvation Army. 

Cooking for people has always been in Sue Marsh’s DNA. 

“I’m such a Martha,” admitted Sue, referring to the Bible story about a woman named Martha who is intent on performing acts of service. 

Six years ago, Sue transformed her passion for cooking into an invaluable volunteer activity: She became a trained Salvation Army disaster volunteer, cooking and serving food at disaster sites from the inside of a Salvation Army mobile kitchen. She also stops by Salvation Army facilities to prepare sandwiches (pictured) and other foods that are loaded onto mobile kitchens for distribution.


“When I first heard about what Salvation Army disaster volunteers do, I thought, ‘You had me at food truck,’” Sue said with a laugh.

She has since been deployed to several dozen disasters to provide food, drinks and comfort for survivors and first responders. Her most incredible experience occurred in August 2017, when she spent two weeks in Texas serving survivors of Hurricane Harvey.  

“I get emotional just talking about it,” Sue said. “I remember speaking with a woman whose son lost his best friend; you hear these stories and it’s unbelievable. You’re helping people during the worst moments of their lives.”

Like other Salvation Army disaster volunteers, most of Sue’s deployments are to local disasters such as fires or floods, or to community events supported by The Salvation Army. 

“We try to help people make the best of what are often bad situations,” said Sue, a retired school teacher. “I love to take care of people.”

Sue has gone on to become The Salvation Army Northern Division’s training coordinator for Minnesota and North Dakota. Several times per quarter, she travels throughout both states to train new disaster volunteers.

“Sue is willing to do whatever she can to assist our disaster teams,” said Major Michele Heaver, Divisional Disaster Services Secretary. “She is invaluable.”

In addition to serving food, some Salvation Army disaster volunteers are trained to offer emotional and spiritual care for survivors and first responders. These volunteers listen to and pray with survivors and first responders who need love and encouragement during stressful times. 

The Salvation Army needs more disaster volunteers to help people in need. Learn more about becoming a disaster volunteer in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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