Salvation Army Welcomes Hurricane Maria Evacuees to Florida

October 18, 2017
Kevin Smith | kevin.smith@uss.salvationarmy.org

Salvation Army Welcomes Hurricane Maria Evacuees to Florida

Tampa, FL - Salvation Army volunteers and case managers are providing services as Puerto Rico evacuees arrive at airports in Florida.  Governor Rick Scott signed a “Host State Agreement” to establish Disaster Relief Centers where State agencies and non-governmental organizations partner together to provide resources as available. 

At the Miami International Airport Disaster Relief Center, Chaplain Raymond Boyd leads The Salvation Army team that has seen as many as three hundred individuals a day.  Many of the families that have arrived have one set of clothing and are not sure how they will get additional items for their children.  Chaplain Boyd is distributing items like food boxes, toiletries and feminine hygiene products.

“Some evacuees have family to join in Florida, but others aren’t sure what their next steps will be.”  said Chaplain Boyd.  “Our goal is to connect them with community services across Miami-Dade and make sure that they have a place to go.  In a few cases we have provided a place to stay in our family shelter for a night or two while they connect with resources on the ground.”

At the Orlando International Airport, The Salvation Army is distributing 500 meal kits, hygiene packages and baby supply packs per week.  For families that have no additional clothing items as a result of Hurricane Maria, The Salvation Army is distributing vouchers to Salvation Army Family Stores in the Orlando area.  Families with young children are receiving financial assistance to help get a change of clothes and clean under garments. 

“We are seeing children in clothing that they have been wearing for days,”  said Major Ted Morris, Area Commander for The Salvation Army, Orlando Florida.  “We spend a few minutes talking to the family making sure they have basic food necessities covered and a little money for needed clothing.”

To date, The Salvation Army Florida Division has distributed more than 4,600 food and hygiene kits and has arranged and shipped 10 tractor-trailer loads of supplies of water, baby supplies and hygiene kits to Salvation Army teams on the ground in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army continues to help families across Florida recover from Hurricane Irma.  As of October 18, The Salvation Army has distributed more than $4.2 million in aid to Irma-affected Floridians.  To continue meeting the needs across southwest Florida, The Salvation Army is setting up Disaster Assistance Centers in Ft. Myers and Naples.  These centers will help by providing financial assistance and distribution of donated supplies.  Case managers will help Hurricane Irma survivors navigate local, state and federal resources available to rebuild homes and families across south Florida.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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