Dallas, TX (September 8, 2011) – Salvation Army staff and volunteers continue to serve exhausted firefighters in Texas where 1,626 homes have been destroyed since Sunday by rapidly spreading wildfires.
Six Salvation Army mobile feeding units are providing snacks, drinks and meals to emergency responders battling the largest fire, in Bastrop County, just east of the Texas state capitol, Austin. This fire is now estimated to be 30% contained but has devastated more than 35,000 acres in Central Texas and has forced the evacuation of at least 5,000 people. Salvation Army relief teams are also providing assistance at several wildfires in East Texas and in the Houston area.
Texas Task Force 1, the state’s elite search team, arrived in Bastrop County on Wednesday to further support local efforts. This team, consisting of 100 members and nearly one dozen search canines, has been conducting house-to-house searches of the evacuated areas. The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit from Waco, Texas, staffed by Michael Marlow and Frank Trekell, has been specifically assigned to support the search and rescue team. “We’ve been working with Task Force 1 for the last two days, preparing meals, snacks and drinks. We have travelled with the team as they have been searching houses in the area, leaving at 8 AM each morning and returning to their command post late in the evening” said Michael. “It’s amazing to watch the team members in action, and they have been so appreciative of The Salvation Army’s support. When we first showed up in the Salvation Army truck, they all clapped and cheered for us!”
Since Monday, The Salvation Army has served 9,794 drinks, 2,299 snacks, and 672 meals in Bastrop County. The Texas Baptist Men, who are providing meals in Bastrop County, have long been a valuable partner of The Salvation Army in times of disaster. Major David Hodge, a Salvation Army Officer from San Antonio who is serving at the widlfires, reports, “I prayed with Danny, one of the Baptist men working alongside me at Camp Swift. Danny had just found out that his own house and all his families belongings had been destroyed by the fire. Incredibly, many local responders are working to support others in their community, despite their own personal tragedies.”
The Salvation Army is partnering with Walmart and local NBC affiliate KXAN, to provide donation centers at seven Austin-area Walmart stores to benefit wildfire survivors and relief workers. The donation centers will be open Friday and Saturday, from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM.
It is anticipated that The Salvation Army units will remain in Bastrop County at least until Monday morning and potentially beyond.
Monetary donations to support The Salvation Army Disaster Services can be made by:
· MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
· PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
· ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 129 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org
About The Salvation Army