Tampa, Fla. (August 28, 2012) – The Salvation Army is supporting first responders and the public with hydration stations in downtown Tampa.
The Salvation Army will be in downtown until Thursday, serving water and offering encouraging words to people who come to the canteens (mobile kitchens).
Since Sunday, The Salvation Army has provided 4,992 cold drinks, 2,581 snacks and 8,218 cases of bottled water to first responders and the public.
On Monday (August 27) Charles Overmyer, a staff member from The Salvation Army in Orlando, said he’s been amazed by everyone’s kindness.
“We are here for a humanitarian effort,” he said. “Once people realize we are here for them, to keep them hydrated and safe, they are very thankful.”
Overmyer’s canteen is located near the Hillsborough County Courthouse and near the epicenter of downtown Tampa.
Along with hydrating people, Overmyer said The Salvation Army made sure dogs and police horses were properly hydrated as well.
This effort is a multi-agency, collaborative program to keep the public hydrated. Salvation Army canteens are strategically stationed at downtown fire hydrants for easy access to city water.
“Our role to support the City of Tampa in ensuring the public health and safety by providing hydration resources fits within our Emergency Disaster Services mission,” said Kevin Smith, Salvation Army’s emergency services director. “We are fortunate to have many partners that care about the significant heat during this event and we all want to ensure their safety.”
For Marvin Lee, a Salvation Army volunteer from Vero Beach, volunteering is more than just providing water.
“I met Tony, a homeless man who was abandoned by his parents and has lived on the streets his whole life,” Lee said. “We offered him encouragement and prayer.”
Lee said he gave Tony his lunch.
“You see a guy who is homeless, you know he doesn’t have any money for food,” Lee said. “One person like that, just giving them hope, will make your day, every day.”
The Salvation Army is also monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac for possible flooding to the Panhandle. The Salvation Army of Florida has a fleet of mobile and field kitchens, shower trailers and other equipment at the ready to help those impacted by the storm.
In South Florida, The Salvation Army has served more than 1,200 meals since Isaac’s outer bands hit the area Saturday. On Monday The Salvation Army faced a crisis of its own as the Miami Area Command was flooded. In West Palm Beach, a mobile canteen is responding to Tropical Storm Isaac flooding and is prepared to serve 1,000 hot meals and cold bottled water in the Wellington and Lake Worth communities. In the Panhandle, The Salvation Army of Pensacola is sheltering additional residents in Isaac’s wake.
In addition to feeding, The Salvation Army is prepared to provide:
• Clean-up kits containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies
• Hygiene kits
• Drinking water
• Shower units
• First-aid supplies
• Emotional/spiritual care
The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to prepare an Emergency supply kit and stay informed to all warnings. Disaster response professionals recommend having a three to five day supply of food and water for each individual of your family as well as flashlights, medication, and battery powered radio.
For more information on how The Salvation Army of Florida is responding to the storm, follow @salarmyfla on Twitter, search for “Salvation Army Florida Division” on Facebook or go to our website, www.salvationarmyflorida.org. You can also go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org other ways The Salvation Army is helping residents recover from a disaster.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by this disaster to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Donors may also contribute $10 via their phone bill by *text messaging the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief and can be sent to your local Salvation Army in Florida. Please designate "2012 Hurricane Relief" on all checks.
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).
For the latest emergency disaster services news, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and follow the EDS team on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.
In the short-term aftermath of a storm, Salvation Army officers and staff will focus primarily on the immediate needs of disaster survivors and first-responders, providing food and hydration for impacted individuals and families.
# # #
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 130 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 carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.