Hurricane Harvey: The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Update

Hurricane Harvey: The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Update
by Linda Leigh
Categories: Articles, Blog, Feature, Mobile
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In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, The Salvation Army is supporting one of the largest disaster relief operations in its history. To date, The Salvation Army has deployed 71 mobile feeding units to Texas.  Salvation Army trained disaster workers are being deployed to the stricken area from across the United States and Canada.

GREATER HOUSTON

12 mobile kitchens and response teams, with an average capacity to serve 1,000 meals each day, are providing hot meals, snacks, and hydration today in accessible areas of Houston. Teams continue to discover neighborhoods that have not received any kind assistance. The number of mobile kitchens serving in Houston is expected to more than triple this weekend with an additional 18 units arriving from Georgia and 10 more from Texas, bringing the total to 40 response teams.

Two shower units installed at the George R. Brown Convention Center are being utilized by first responders and medical personnel.

Three Salvation Army locations are continuing to provide emergency shelter to families and individuals who have evacuated their homes:

  • Harbor Light Center – homeless shelter for men
  • Family Residence – homeless shelter for families
  • Conroe Red Shield Lodge – homeless shelter for individuals and families

A brief break from the stress and challenges facing families staying at The Salvation Army Family Residence was delivered by The Houston Symphony string trio, Thursday. The group performed a mini-concert for the residents who enjoyed the music. The trio plan to perform again at the shelter very soon.

Corps operations continue throughout the city and are rapidly changing reflecting the needs of the community. The Pasadena Corps no longer has anyone staying at the building and have started providing diapers, food and water to those in need. Lt. Luis Villanueva, immediately following the closing of his shelter, stocked up the mobile kitchen and began serving food in his community. Similarly, the International Corps is serving as a distribution point providing food, clothing and baby supplies. Displaced families staying at Harbor Light/Red Shield Lodge have left the shelter although 250 individual survivors remain. The Conroe Corps has assumed responsibility for the cities disaster center where the number of survivors staying there has dropped from 400 to 75. Staff and volunteers are serving lunch and dinner and a roving mobile kitchen is serving in the streets. The Aldine/Westfield and Garden City locations are both serving through foo delivery in mobile kitchens.

The Northwest Corps is hosting the Incident Command Team and is the daily center for mobile kitchen operations. The Greater Houston Advisory Board met at the Corps on Thursday for a briefing on current relief efforts and to strategize for the coming days.

CORPUS CHRISTI AREA

In the Corpus Christi/Coastal Bend area, feeding operations continue from 11 mobile kitchens in the following locations:

  • Rockport
  • Port Aransas
  • Aransas Pass
  • Gregory
  • Seabreeze
  • North Corpus Christi

An Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) team arrived from the Eastern Territory comprised of five members bringing the total up to six ESC officers. The mobile kitchen and team from Corpus Christi were at Cabaniss Field as buses carrying evacuees returned to their home city from San Antonio today. The response team served food and drinks and welcomed residents home. Stripes/Laredo Taco Company continue to provide 600 tacos a day for our canteens.

DALLAS FORT WORTH

Several large shelters are being operated in the DFW area. The Salvation Army’s role as part of the Mass Care Taskforce is the responsibility of mass feeding. Three meals per day have been provided at the Kay Bailey Convention Center (Dallas) currently housing approximately 500 people. Beginning on Monday meals will be served at three area recreation centers housing more than 750 evacuees. Shelters are available at two recreation centers in Fort Worth but neither currently has any residents. 3,600 evacuees are expected to arrive in the DFW area over the weekend.

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE – BEAUMONT, ORANGE, PORT ARTHUR

This area continues to experience extreme flood conditions and the water is still rising. The Officers in Orange and Port Arthur have been unable to leave their homes for six days and roads across the area are closed because of high water, including Interstate 10. Beaumont is under an evacuation order. Six mobile kitchens are staged and will move into the area once it is accessible.

ADDITIONAL SHELTER LOCATIONS:

The Salvation Army is serving as a last resort emergency shelter in the following locations: Beaumont, Corsicana, Lufkin, Temple, Tyler, and Waco.

As of August 31, The Salvation Army has served 81,710 meals, 44,922 snacks, and 63,724 drinks statewide in response to Hurricane Harvey.