Dallas, Texas (July 30, 2020) – While conditions continue to steadily improve in South Texas after Hurricane Hanna moved through the area over the weekend, The Salvation Army disaster response teams continue to serve those affected by the storm. As of Thursday, the response efforts are concentrated in areas of McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley that experienced flooding and power outages.
Mobile kitchens and teams from Kerrville, McAllen, Austin, Victoria, and San Antonio are serving food, hydration and providing emotional and spiritual care in Sullivan City, Palm View, Port Mansfield, San Pelita, Sebastian, Lyford and McAllen. Food service ended in Corpus Christi on Wednesday evening. Salvation Army staff continue to work closely with long established feeding partners and local jurisdictions to ensure that services and resources are not duplicated.
“The Salvation Army is fortunate to work with some wonderful partners in disaster response who come alongside us and make it possible to establish service quickly and effectively to reach those in need,’ said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army. “We are particularly grateful to Breedlove Foods, Coca-Cola and Midwest Food Bank for their generous donations of food products and water that have significantly supported our food delivery this week in South Texas.”
The Salvation Army in Texas stands prepared year-round to respond to disaster situations, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and flooding, storing essential equipment and supplies such as clean up kits, water, and paper products at their Emergency Disaster warehouse in Arlington, Texas. “Our network of partners respond very quickly to provide for any additional needs that we may have once a disaster strikes,” said Migues. “This week alone, Breedlove Foods provided multiple trucks of dehydrated food products that support rapidly deployable hot meals from our mobile kitchens, Coca-Cola delivered bottled water along with assorted Coke products, and two truckloads of food boxes arrived from Midwest Food Bank that are headed for the McAllen area for rapid distribution. Their support makes it possible for us to reach the most people and provide for their immediate needs.”
In response to Hurricane Hanna The Salvation Army has provided more than 6,480 meals and 5,441 snacks and drinks. It is anticipated that response efforts in the Rio Grande Valley will continue through the weekend as The Salvation Army continues to engage and coordinate with local and state Emergency Management, The Disaster Recovery Task Force, and the Texas Feeding Task Force.
For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To make a donation go www.helpsalvationarmy.org.
Dallas, Texas (July 28, 2020) – Residents of South Texas affected by Hurricane Hanna received meals from The Salvation Army in several communities on Monday. Seven mobile kitchens delivered food and hydration in counties surrounding Corpus Christi and McAllen, and teams anticipate moving into additional communities on Tuesday as floodwaters recede.
“Today was a busy day of service in Corpus Christi, Laguna Vista, Sullivan City, Port Mansfield, McAllen and Flour Bluff,” said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army. “Our teams have done a great job of quickly establishing distribution locations and getting food and assistance into the hands of those in need. We will be serving affected communities as long as we are needed and are working closely with local and state Emergency Management and other partner agencies.”
On Monday, 1,240 meals were served, and 1,148 drinks and snacks were provided. In several locations, such as Sullivan City, drive-thru meal delivery took place with food being provided out of the mobile kitchen and hand delivered to a steady line of vehicles by staff and volunteers. This is one of many aspects of the current response effort to be adjusted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Disaster response is long and tiring work for staff and volunteers, but it is also very rewarding and fulfilling to know that you are helping someone who is experiencing crisis and in need of help,” said Lt. Adolph Aguirre, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in McAllen. “As the mobile kitchens return at the end of each day, we make sure to disinfect and clean every unit including the work surfaces and all of the utensils. This will be the daily process to make sure we provide a safe workplace for our volunteers and staff, as well as protecting those we serve. We are also using UV Disinfecting Lamps, like those used in hospitals, in the kitchen at The Salvation Army to ensure that all food preparation areas remain clean. We are working hard to follow all protocols related to COVID-19 as we serve our community.”
Donations are needed to support the ongoing response efforts in South Texas. “Financial contributions are the best way to support The Salvation Army in helping those affected by Hurricane Hanna and allow us to purchase product to meet the most urgent needs,” said Migues. “Where possible, purchases are made near the disaster site to help stimulate the local economy and for quicker delivery to those in need.” To make a donation go to www.helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SALARMY.
Dallas, Texas (July 26, 2020) – The Salvation Army staff and volunteers in Corpus Christi and McAllen spent Sunday preparing meals and serving those affected by Hurricane Hanna in their respective communities. The Category 1 hurricane swept through South Texas on Saturday evening leaving tens of thousands of residents without power and causing widespread flooding.
“We have deployed seven mobile kitchens and have commenced feeding operations in Corpus Christi, serving San Patricio, Nueces and Kelberg counties, and in McAllen, serving Willacy, Cameron, Starr and Hidalgo counties,” said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Services Director for The Salvation Army. “We anticipate ramping up mobile feeding in affected communities once we are able to fully assess the damage and flooding caused by the storm.”
Additional units from throughout Texas moved into the area on Sunday and will remain as long as needed. The Salvation Army disaster response model is extremely flexible and rapidly scalable with supporting units available from within the state, and beyond, depending on the scale of the disaster and the needs presented. A mobile kitchen from The Salvation Army in Kerrville is providing support in Corpus Christi, while units from San Antonio, Kerrville, Bryan, Austin and Laredo will deploy in the Rio Grande Valley. Additional supplies, such as clean up kits, bleach, tarps, trash bags and fans will arrive from The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services warehouse in Arlington for distribution by end of day Monday.
In Corpus Christi, The Salvation Army spent much of Sunday serving free hot meals, drinks, and snacks from the Rock City Church parking lot in Flower Bluff. “We know that a lot of people are without power in the Flower Bluff area due to the hurricane and so we are here providing a meal and some encouragement to keep them going for the rest of the day,” said Captain Patrick Gesner, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi. “We’ll continue serving for as long as we are needed and expect to be out here for several days.”
One of the areas of particular concern is the Rio Grande Valley, along the border with Mexico, where many communities are flooded due to sustained heavy rainfall associated with the storm. Volunteers and staff at The Salvation Army in McAllen prepared and delivered meals to those without power on Sunday, including serving residents of a local shelter. “I am so thankful for our staff and volunteers who consistently answer the call to help those in need in our community. Our team has been working very hard to provide help to so many during the COVID-19 pandemic, including our drive-thru food pantry and daily to-go meals,” said Lt. Adolph Aguirre, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in McAllen. “Along with the additional Salvation Army teams and mobile kitchens on their way to help, I am confident that we will be able to meet the need caused by Hurricane Hanna too.”
Throughout the disaster response efforts, Salvation Army staff and volunteers will be observing all safety protocols related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. PPE will be worn and social distancing will be maintained.
Dallas, Texas (July 25, 2020) – Multiple Salvation Army disaster units in Texas are fully stocked and on standby for deployment in response to Hurricane Hanna after the Category 1 storm made landfall in South Texas on Saturday evening. Widespread flooding is a possibility in the area as a result of the slow moving storm and Salvation Army staff will continue to closely monitor the storm over the next 24 hours.
The Salvation Army has been in communication with all affected field units and placed six mobile feeding units on standby for pre-positioning closer to the affected area. Each mobile feeding unit has the capacity to deliver up to 1,500 meals per day. In addition, eight 3,500 meal push packs and a supply of bottled water will be staged in San Antonio ahead of possible transportation to affected communities.
“We will be carefully watching the system overnight and have units and staff throughout South Texas ready to respond and provide food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care to those affected and to first responders working to help. The McAllen Salvation Army has already opened its facility as a pre-landfall shelter at the request of Hidalgo County,” said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Services Director for The Salvation Army. “Of course, all teams will be paying special attention to safety protocols put into place due to COVID-19, wearing PPE and social distancing.”
Captain Patrick Gesner, with The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi, has been actively working with local staff in preparation for Hurricane Hanna making landfall and any resulting response efforts. “We’ve been preparing for the last three days and held a special Zoom meeting with key staff to go over response procedures in light of COVID-19. We have additional staff on duty at our shelters to assure safety procedures are followed and residents of our centers were briefed yesterday on all protocols,” said Gesner. “We will be ready to support those affected by this storm, both in our own programs and in the community. The Salvation Army was here before and after Hurricane Harvey and we will be here to serve after Hanna as well!”
Dallas, Texas (July 24, 2020) – The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams in Texas are ready and prepared to respond to potential heavy rain and flooding associated with Tropical Storm Hanna as the area of low pressure approaches the South Texas coastline.
Alvin Migues, Emergency Services Director for The Salvation Army said, “Our disaster response units in Corpus Christi, McAllen, and Harlingen are on standby and will be ready to respond as needed. We will be watching this system very closely over the next 24-36 hours and its projected track as it moves inland.”
The principle threat from Tropical Storm Hanna will be rainfall, with totals of over five inches possible and potentially higher amounts where bands of rain stall for a period of a few hours. The flash flooding threat will extend from the Texas Coast to well inland, on a line stretching Corpus Christi to Laredo and then on into northern Mexico.
The 2020 Hurricane Season is predicted to be an active storm season, with another named storm, Gonzalo, already having the potential to reach the Gulf. The Salvation Army is prepared to provide emergency response, providing support to first responders and affected communities, as they have done since the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 prompted the first relief effort of its kind in the USA.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges to the long-established models and methods of EDS service delivery and The Salvation Army staff is actively working to put response protocols in place that adhere to social distancing and limit any potential exposure.
“We have sent a survey to more than 5,500 Emergency Disaster Services volunteers registered with The Salvation Army in Texas, specifically addressing their willingness and availability to serve should the need arise in the current pandemic,” said Migues. “Our phenomenal network of volunteers is the foundational backbone and driving success of The Salvation Army’s ability to meet the needs of those who need it most and we anticipate being in a strong position to respond, quickly and effectively, even considering the challenges in the world today.”
In addition to a fleet of more than 35 mobile kitchens assigned year-round to locations in Texas, The Salvation Army also operates two Field Kitchens with the ability to provide more than 7,500 meals per day, a mobile Laundry Unit, two Shower Units and more.
“The Salvation Army has an extensive network of trained staff, volunteers and Officers who are prepared to respond to disasters in Texas, and across the nation,” said Migues. “The focus of our response efforts is the provision of meals and hydration to both first responders and affected communities, as well as emotional and spiritual care. Every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs and our services are flexible and rapidly scalable. The Salvation Army stands ready to respond when and where we are needed.”