• Philip Burn

The Salvation Army Provides Support Amidst Chaos After Tornado in Houston

Dallas, TX (January 25, 2023) – The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services staff and volunteers are providing assistance to first responders and impacted communities after a tornado hit the Houston area on Tuesday afternoon. Damage assessment continues in several communities after the powerful storm moved through southeast Houston, causing significant damage and loss of power in Deer Park, Pasadena, and Baytown.

The Salvation Army quickly mobilized it’s trained disaster response teams in the area and mobile feeding units began providing meals to affected residents within a few hours of the storm. Service continued on Wednesday with feeding locations established in Deer Park and Pasadena.

Captain Dante Salgado, The Salvation Army Officer in Pasadena, Texas, was in The Salvation Army church building when the storm swept through the area. “The tornado made landfall really close to our building around 2:30 PM, only about three blocks away. We were inside already preparing to go out and serve those affected in our community,” said Salgado. “We pulled out in the mobile kitchen around 6 PM and served more than 200 meals, 400 drinks, and 200 snacks in little over an hour. Many people in the area were without power and were looking for a hot meal but businesses and restaurants were also without electricity. I am proud that The Salvation Army was there and ready to provide a meal and an encouraging word to those caught up in the chaos of the situation.”

At the request of Mayor Jeff Wagner, the Pasadena response team will continue to serve through Friday.

Other areas of the city were impacted and The Salvation Army established feeding sites in Deer Park, at the Central Baptist Church on Oak Street, and also at the corner of Center Park Street and Oak Street.

As the storm moved to the east, other cities experienced strong winds and heavy rain and two tornadoes touched down in Jefferson and Orange Counties. On Wednesday afternoon, The Salvation Army in Orange deployed a disaster team in a Rapid Response Vehicle, a modified pickup truck, to assess area damage and provide lunch, snacks and hydration. “Much of Orange is without power and there is isolated damage from the tornado that hit our community,” said Captain Jan Zuniga, Commanding Officer in Orange. “We will continue assessing the needs in the coming days and remain in communication with our city officials, especially as people are without power and the weather is so cold.”

"This response feels a little different to me compared to other efforts I have been a part of," said Captain Frankie Zuniga, returning from several hours of service on Wednesday. "The tornado hit very close to our home, right there in my neighborhood, and I find myself in a position where I am ministering to my neighbors, to people we actually know. Several homes in our area are completely destroyed," said Zuniga. "I was humbled and blessed today by the reaction of people who received a sandwich and a drink from our team. It is incredible to me how something so simple and so small as a sandwich and a cup of coffee, can lift the spirits of someone in crisis and dealing with so much. We're praying for our community and will be out here serving as long as we are needed."

In addition to meal service, The Salvation Army is providing clean up kits and tarps in impacted areas.

For the latest disaster response information, go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.