Alexandria, Va. (SUBMITTED) – More than 100 Salvation Army mobile feeding units responded to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike in Texas. Several convoys of canteens and mobile kitchens moved into the disaster zone to begin serving the millions of people who are without power in the areas around Beaumont, Galveston, Houston and Lufkin. They join a contingent of Salvation Army relief workers who served overnight in some of the most devastated areas. Since the storm began, The Salvation Army has served nearly 52.000 meals to evacuees, emergency workers and those affected by the storm.
“Our ‘strike team’ members were awed by the power of this storm and the extent of the devastation,” said Major Marshall Gesner, Greater Houston Area Commander for The Salvation Army. “Communications on the ground are difficult, there is no power, and the water system is compromised in many places. What this all means for us is a lot of hungry, thirsty people who are going to need relief for an extended period of time. We are calling on the public to help us mount a long-term response that could last several weeks or months.”
On Sunday, a convoy of six canteens, plus a 48-foot kitchen and a satellite communications trailer, left a staging area in San Antonio to set up a command post at The Salvation Army Corps in Pasadena, Tex., outside Houston. At the same time, approximately 20 response vehicles moved from Tyler into Lufkin and other points of East Texas, and many will continue into Pasadena, Galveston and Texas City. Six canteens were still moving into the area from Florida, heading to a command post being set up in Beaumont. Dozens of canteens will continue feeding at sheltering locations throughout Texas that have been serving evacuees since the operation began. The canteens will be re-deployed to the stricken region once the shelters no longer need them. Three canteens are in Cameron Parish, La., to assist residents who are now affected by a second hurricane in less than two weeks. Other vehicles from out of state will continue to be mobilized during then next several days.
The Salvation Army began staging its overall disaster response effort in San Antonio and Tyler earlier this week. For Hurricane Ike, the Army is undertaking its biggest operation of the 2008 hurricane season. Including the meals served during the past 48 hours, the Army has provided throughout the Gulf Coast nearly 1 million meals to people affected by Hurricanes Dolly, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and now, Hurricane Ike. The Army also has three other 48-foot, mobile kitchens which can serve more than 20,000 meals per day and is using new satellite communications equipment that creates local phone and Internet networks for its incident command teams. Throughout Texas, the Army is supporting the evacuation and shelter effort in at least 25 locations.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by the recent tropical cyclones to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet survivors’ most immediate needs. A $100 donation will feed a family of four for two days and will provide two cases of drinking water and one household cleanup kit (containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies). The Salvation Army currently is not accepting donations of clothing and furniture for storm victims; however, please continue giving to your local Salvation Army thrift store and the much needed programs your in-kind gifts support. (Information provided by The Salvation Army.)