Tampa Bay (Oct. 5, 2016) – The Salvation Army across Tampa Bay is actively at work today as Hurricane Matthew sets its sight for the east coast of Florida. In Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, The Salvation Army is manning stations at each of their respective Emergency Operation Centers prepared to serve as needed throughout the storm.
The Salvation Army is on site at the State Fairgrounds prepared to serve meals when needed as neighbors from the east coast seek shelter. "We are honored to help provide comfort and relieve some stress by providing a warm meal as our friends from the east seek safety," said Captain Andy Miller of The Salvation Army of Tampa/Hillsborough County.
As Salvation Army units up and down the east coast of Florida make immediate safety preparations, here in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties The Salvation Army is stocking each of its mobile feeding units (canteens) with food to serve an initial 500 meals. The units, which can serve 1,500 meals a day, will be ready to deploy to the east coast as early as Saturday or as soon as conditions are clear. The trained Salvation Army staff and Emergency Disaster Services volunteers will be on-site offering warm meals, bottled water, coffee and spiritual care.
“We have taken a walk-through of our mobile feeding units, checking to make sure everything is in good working order. Today we will begin loading the food and water. We are praying for neighbors across the state. Our staff and volunteers will be ready to serve them,” said Captain Mike Harris of The Salvation Army of Upper Pinellas County in Clearwater.
The Salvation Army’s statewide Emergency Disaster Office and warehouse in Tampa is command central as The Salvation Army maximizes resources and allocates those resources to the units expected to see the most impact from Hurricane Matthew. Those resources are being prepared for distribution today and again as the storm clears.
The Salvation Army of Florida has 31 mobile feeding units (canteens) ready to respond. 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 trailers. Just last month, 18 mobile feeding units and one shower trailer, along with Salvation Army staff and volunteers, were deployed to the Florida Panhandle and parts of the west coast in the wake of Hurricane Hermine.
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 needs are assessed. The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those directly affected by the storm to visit http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/hurricane_matthew, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text STORM to 51555. To become a volunteer please visit www.salvationarmytampabay.org to contact your local Salvation Army unit for details.
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