Tampa, FL - While Florida residents are evacuating their communities in Hurricane Irma’s wake, Salvation Army units across the state are leaning in, ready to serve the affected communities with simple comforts: food, water and compassion.
All 47 Salvation Army units – from Pensacola to south Florida – are on standby and eager to assist residents in need.
Along with the 32 canteens (mobile kitchens), The Salvation Army also has a fleet of equipment which includes two bunkhouses, two shower trailers, one generator and a Ford utility truck, which will be deployed as needed to the Hurricane Irma impacted areas. The Salvation Army has more than 3,000 trained volunteers and staff in Florida, ready to offer a warm meal, bottled water, coffee or offer emotional and spiritual care.
The Salvation Army is currently working on establishing five strategic staging areas which include Miami, Fort Myers, Palm Beach County, Vero Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
“As the situation in south Florida continues to be dire, we want residents to know, they can count on The Salvation Army to help get them through this disaster,” said Major David Erickson, General Secretary for The Salvation Army of Florida.
The state headquarters of The Salvation Army in Tampa began sending shelf-stable meals and bottled water earlier this week to pre-stage in south Florida and serving shelter residents around the state.
“This scenario is one that will require neighbor helping neighbor, community helping community and supporting our brothers and sisters,” said Major Keath Biggers, the area commander for The Salvation Army in Broward County.
Disaster work is in The Salvation Army’s DNA, beginning in 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 - both local and major.
In times of disaster, The Salvation Army works with its partners at the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate relief efforts for the impacted area.
Mobile kitchens are prepared to serve up to 1,500 meals a day. The Salvation Army also has two semi-truck size field kitchens capable of making more than 20,000 meals in a day.
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 helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text “Storm” to 51555.
At this point, in-kind donations are not being accepted. Used clothing and used furniture are seldom required during an incident. However, these gifts are vitally important in supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Store or dial 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).