In addition to working 24 hours a day to help victims in Florida’s Hurricane Charley, The Salvation Army is using a 53-foot tractor-trailer rig from Illinois, equipped with outfitted with computers, phones and radio communication systems to help develop a new approach to emergency disaster social services assistance.
The Salvation Army caseworkers first used the mobile operation center in Arcadia on Aug. 29. and made a stop at Winn Dixie on Aug. 30. They used computers to register victims and store their information in a database to better assess and find ways of meeting their long-term needs.
The vehicle was originally from The Salvation Army Central Territory, based in Des Plaines, Illinois.
People affected by the hurricane can visit any one of the organization’s twenty-one existing Social Service Centers at local Salvation Army facilities located throughout the affected areas. A full list of locations are available on The Salvation Army’s Florida Website, www.salvationarmyflorida.org.
Since the hurricane struck Southern Florida, The Salvation Army has served nearly 430,000 meals. According to the organization, fifty-five Salvation Army emergency disaster services vehicles (canteens) continue to move through neighborhoods providing meals and emotional support. The organization has also set up 13 comfort station, in which people can come to receive food, water, social service assistance and counseling.
Food vouchers or gift cards are also distributed to those who need to purchase perishable foods, non perishable supplies including baby food and diapers, paper products, personal hygiene items, clean up kits, household goods, utility bill payments and rent and mortgage assistance.
“This will be an ongoing process,” said Kevin Smith, disaster services director for The Salvation Army in Florida. “We will work with families and individuals to determine their needs and help them directly or through a network of services that will be available from many other agencies working together to meet needs.”
The Salvation Army has requested for additional financial donations from the general public. Checks can be mailed to The Salvation Army "Disaster Relief", P.O. Box 270848, Tampa, FL 33688 or online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.