Tampa, Florida (September 22, 2017) - In what is the largest response in the history of the Florida Division, The Salvation Army continues to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. All Salvation Army units in Florida are actively involved in the statewide relief effort that includes the support of trained disaster workers and volunteers from around the United States and Canada.
The Salvation Army of Florida has 61 canteens (mobile feeding units) and 3 field kitchens that are serving in locations throughout the state of Florida. Other support vehicles including sleeping units, refrigerated vehicles, and generators have been dispatched to some of the hardest hit areas in southwest Florida.
Sixteen mobile feeding kitchens from Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Mississippi, as well as a field kitchen from Florida, are providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care service to individuals impacted by Hurricane Irma. As of the end of the day on September 20th, almost 40,000 hot meals had been served to the community The planning team continues to scout out new sites. Approximately 2% of Collier County is still without electricity, which represents 4,760 individuals. This does not represent the individuals who have power restored to their area but, due to the storm damage to their homes, their power cannot be restored. The Emotional and Spiritual team continues to provide comfort throughout the community, as well as at federal assistance sign-ups sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio’s office.
The Salvation Army in Highlands County has begun transitioning to long-term recovery. Partnerships in the community will help The Salvation Army provide food boxes, supplies, and monetary support to those in need. The area United Way has committed funds to The Salvation Army in Highlands County in order to help with rent, power, and mortgage payments for those impacted by the storm.
A field kitchen arrived a couple of days ago from Alabama/Mississippi and up and running. Although it is capable of cooking 10,000 meals a day, the need for prepared meals is decreasing. Most residents have had power restored. “There are fewer pockets who need immediate emergency assistance, and that’s encouraging,” said Major Marshall Gesner. 1,300 lunches will be delivered today to locations in Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres, Labelle, and Fort Myers. To date, more than 33,000 meals have been served in the Fort Myers area alone. The transition to long-term recovery efforts continues, and The Salvation Army will continue to serve those impacted by Hurricane Irma.
With residents allowed to return to the Florida Keys, The Salvation Army continues to work with county officials to meet needs of first responders and residents as the community begins to asses and rebuild. Long-term relief efforts are being coordinated by the local Salvation Army corps in Key West, and they are assessing the needs of the community in order to meet those needs in the near future.
Salvation Army response in Miami-Dade County has transitioned to the area command under the direction of the area commanders. The Salvation Army will continue to provide services to the Miami area through food boxes and cleanup kits, partnerships with the school district, and various community and family programs. The Miami Adult Rehabilitation Center has provided the Area Command with clothing vouchers to provide to individuals and families in need to help them get back to a sense of normalcy.
Services are in transition in northeast Florida as power is restored and businesses are reopening. The Salvation Army is providing mass feeding, snacks, and water to folks who are still struggling to get back on their feet. Emotional and spiritual care workers are vital, connecting disaster survivors to local networks and resources. Local Salvation Army units are preparing to serve the needs of the community and support for households as they return to life after Hurricane Irma.
As of Friday morning, September 22, The Salvation Army Florida Division has prepared and distributed 723,393 meals and snacks, and have made 8,125 emotional and spiritual care contacts with the support of 41,855 service hours from officers, employees, and volunteers.About The Salvation Army