The Salvation Army in Upstate New York Assembling Relief Crews
Trained Salvation Army Disaster Volunteers to Deploy to Impacted Areas
SYRACUSE, NY (September 1, 2017) – The Salvation Army is continuing response to the catastrophic flooding in the Houston area and providing relief to first responders and survivors. The Empire State Division, consisting of 48 upstate, NY counties has been asked by its territory headquarters to assemble crews of Salvation Army trained disaster volunteers to deploy in September to relieve volunteer crews currently serving in Texas. Since Hurricane Harvey will likely impact more people than Hurricane Katrina, The Salvation Army is establishing multiple staging areas throughout Texas including San Antonio, Victoria, Arlington and Houston to coordinate relief efforts.
Many of The Salvation Army’s national network of trained disaster staff and volunteers that have been deployed to Texas are providing food boxes, bottled water, cleanup kits and comfort kits. Staff and volunteers are also serving at emergency shelters and staffing emergency operations centers.
“Our crews will be operating mobile feeding units in impacted areas by making food and delivering it to communities that greatly need it,” said Michael Schwartz, Divisional Emergency Disaster Director for The Salvation Army Empire State Division. “With a disaster of this magnitude we will rely on volunteers that we’ve already trained and have deployed to other disasters. The probability for an untrained or novice volunteer to be quickly overwhelmed is high. Seasoned volunteers that have adjusted previously to the stress and emotion of larger disasters are key in this situation.”
The Salvation Army has deployed 79 mobile feeding units that each can provide up to 1,500 meals per day, along with four field kitchens that each can serve up to 15,000 meals per day. As of August 31, The Salvation Army has provided more than 126,632 meals and snacks.
“Assembling crews is a balancing act at the moment,” says Schwartz, who deploys on September 19th to impacted areas. “Remnants of Hurricane Harvey are set to hit our area on Sunday with up to five inches of rain in areas of New York that flooded just over a month ago and we are monitoring storms that models predict may impact the east coast with some strength. It’s our responsibility to also be available here should we need to respond. Either way, we will be ready for both.”
Those desiring to actively volunteer in disasters can visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org to register and create an online profile. Availability and level of training will limit activation and duration of deployment. All volunteers must undergo training such as Intro to Emergency Disaster Services, Disaster Food Services, Serve Safe, and Emotional and Spiritual Care.
The Salvation Army has been on the front lines of this disaster since day one and will be there until the healing is complete. “Donations from the generous public will help provide food, shelter and other valuable resources to Houstonians in need,” said Major Ronald Foreman, The Salvation Army Empire State Division’s Commander. “With public support, The Salvation Army will be here to help the thousands affected by Hurricane Harvey for as long as they’re in need.”
Response efforts to this hurricane and flooding are expected to be costly and last for years.
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. To contribute to The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts, visit HelpSalvationArmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text “STORM” to 51555.
About The Salvation Army Empire Division
The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.) Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 40 community and worship centers, service areas in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and 167 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need.