Miami (Oct. 4, 2016) – Salvation Army units across South Florida are prepared and on stand-by ready to help residents as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
“Salvation Army canteens are stocked with water and supplies,” said Captain Enrique Azuaje, Area Commander for The Salvation Army of Miami-Dade.
The Salvation Army in South Florida is working closely with the Miami Dade County Homeless Trust, Department of Veteran Affairs, Jackson Memorial Hospital and the City of Miami Beach in preparation to serve as a pickup site and shelter location for anyone experiencing homelessness should the need arise. Those who need help should reach the homeless helpline immediately at 1-877-994-4357.
“The Salvation Army is a vital part of the South Florida community,” said Rick Ford, Disaster Relief Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Miami, a veteran who has served in numerous emergencies including September 11th and Hurricane Katrina. “As we prepare for the storm, we also pray for people to stay safe.”
Monday, October 3, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every county within the State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Matthew.
In Palm Beach and Broward counties, The Salvation Army is also preparing its canteen, or kitchen on wheels to serve people impacted. Major Pierre Smith, the administrator for The Salvation Army in Palm Beach County, has been in communications with friends and family in Haiti.
“The southern area of the country is currently experiencing extensive flooding and damage to homes with many roofs detached," Smith said. "Haiti is a country with a resilient people. The Salvation Army is experienced and equipped to render aid. ”
The Salvation Army in Florida began its preparations for Matthew on Friday (September 30) when it held a statewide coordination conference call. The Salvation Army also coordinates year round disaster volunteer training throughout the state.
“Training our volunteers in disaster preparedness and service is in the DNA of The Salvation Army” said Major Keith Biggers, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in Broward. Those interested in immediate training can register online at www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.
In times of disaster, The Salvation Army works with its partners at the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate relief efforts for the impacted area. The Salvation Army of Florida has 44 mobile food trucks, or kitchen on wheels, ready to respond throughout the state. Along with its canteens, The Salvation Army also has two field kitchens (large 18-wheeler trucks retrofitted for cooking and mass feeding), one command and communication unit and five shower trucks which have already been deployed this month assisting flood survivors throughout the state.
In the United States, The Salvation Army began its Emergency Disaster Services ministry during the 1900 Galveston hurricane. The ministry continues to grow and is a vital part of every Salvation Army unit in the country. Today, The Salvation Army utilizes mobile canteens to cook and distribute food to residents in need in the aftermath of a disaster such as a hurricane.
The best way to help survivors and relief workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors as the need continues to be assessed. The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those directly affected by the storm to visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.