FEMA Directors Visit as 12,000 Meals Served by The Salvation Army in SE Texas

Dallas, Texas (August 30, 2020) – Mobile kitchens from The Salvation Army of Texas served 12,000 meals in SE Texas and Lake Charles, LA, to residents affected by Hurricane Laura on Saturday. 14 teams of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) staff and volunteers worked tirelessly throughout an extremely hot and humid day to serve hot meals to those in need.

FEMA Directors, including FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, visited a location in Orange County, TX, on Saturday where a Salvation Army mobile kitchen was preparing to serve lunch. “The Salvation Army works very closely with FEMA during times of disaster and we are thrilled that the FEMA staff saw our mobile kitchen team in action,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services for Texas. The FEMA Administrator grabbed a piece of paper during the visit and wrote down the number for affected individuals and families to call for assistance. The number, 1-800-621-3362, was posted inside the message board of the mobile kitchen for all to see. “The Salvation Army is one part of the response effort and works with FEMA, other government agencies, and many local disaster partners. These relationships are key to the success of any response effort and we appreciate the support of FEMA.” The number for FEMA assistance is now posted to each Salvation Army mobile kitchen.

Saturday was the first day of meal service by The Southern Baptist Texas Convention kitchen as part of Hurricane Laura response. The commercial-size kitchen and serving area is set up on the basketball pavilion at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Beaumont. Mobile kitchens drive through the serving area and crews load the hot food, packed in heat sealing cambros, directly onto each vehicle. The kitchen prepared 5,000 hot meals for distribution on Saturday and it is anticipated that production will ramp up to 10,000 meals each day in the coming week.

The Salvation Army is serving food in the following fixed locations:

  • Bridge City – Market Basket: 2005 Texas Ave Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur – Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 114 W. Bolivar St, Vidor TX
  • Jasper/Newton – Newton Church/Food Bank, 501 Main Street, Newton, TX
  • Deweyville High School – 171 TX-12, Deweyville, TX (TX-12 & HWY 87)
  • Huntsville Shelter – HEARTS Veterans Museum: 463 State Highway 75 N, Huntsville, TX

The Salvation Army has served 18,481 meals, 16,270 drinks, 6,608 snacks in affected communities in Southeast Texas since the response effort to Hurricane Laura began on Friday.

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. 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.

Salvation Army Serving Amidst Widespread Power Outages in Southeast Texas

Dallas, Texas (August 29, 2020) – Widespread power outages across Southeast Texas are currently one of the main challenges for many residents affected by Hurricane Laura. The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams and mobile kitchens pulled into several of the hardest-hit communities on Friday, serving lunch and dinner. The hot meals were gratefully received by residents, many of whom are without power in their homes and have been unable to refrigerate or cook food since the storm.

Eight mobile kitchens, each with the capacity to prepare and deliver 1,500 meals, and three Rapid Response Units, left The Salvation Army warehouse in Beaumont on Friday morning stocked with supplies, meals, and water. Units staffed by Salvation Army trained volunteers and employees from Waco, Lewisville, Midland, Beaumont, Lubbock, Abilene, Granbury, and Tyler were in position at designated locations in time to serve lunch. In Bridge City, news of the lunch-service had been received on social media, and a steady line of people patiently waited to receive food throughout the day on Friday. More than 500 meals were served in Bridge City alone on Friday. The Salvation Army is serving food in the following locations on Saturday:

  • Bridge City – Market Basket: 2005 Texas Ave Bridge City, TX
  • Port Arthur -Sam Houston Elementary: 3245 36th Port Arthur, TX
  • Orange Corps – 1950 MLK Drive Orange, TX
  • Vidor – 114 W. Bolivar St, Vidor TX
  • Jasper/Newton – Newton County Fairgrounds, 415 Fair Park, Newton, TX
  • Huntsville Shelter – Hearts Veterans Museum: 463 State Highway 75 N, Huntsville, TX

“You are the first help that we have seen since the storm,” explained one grateful resident who has been without power for two days and is working to clean up fallen trees and branches from his home. “I was lucky that I didn’t have any damage to the house but all the food I had in my refrigerator has spoiled since I don’t have power. We’ve been through this before after Hurricane Rita, Ike and Harvey but it’s still so hard to deal with. I am thankful for the help The Salvation Army brings.” He left with a hot plate of chicken, rice and beans and the promise that The Salvation Army team would return in the coming days.

Beginning Saturday, the Southern Baptist Texas Convention Kitchen is preparing the meals to be served from The Salvation Army mobile kitchens. “This is a long-standing relationship that allows staff and volunteers to serve food, kept warm in cambros, as opposed to actually cooking on the mobile kitchen. This simplifies and expedites serving food to hungry residents,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services for Texas. “The Baptist Convention Kitchen will be preparing 5,000 meals a day and expand as needed.”

On Friday, The Salvation Army served 4640 meals, 5138 drinks, 1274 snacks in affected communities in Southeast Texas.

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. 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.

Salvation Army Mobile Kitchens to Commence Feeding on Friday in Southeast Texas

Dallas, Texas (August 28, 2020) – Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams moved into Southeast Texas after Hurricane Laura blew northwards on a course close to the Texas/Louisiana border on Thursday morning. Much of the area was left without power and damage assessment is underway in affected communities.

In Walker County, Texas, The Salvation Army began providing meals on Tuesday, August 25, at four evacuation shelters housing more than 380 individuals. Residents under mandatory evacuation orders were transported to the shelters in Huntsville by Monday evening. Working closely with local emergency management staff, The Salvation Army teams from Conroe and Austin have been preparing and delivering three meals each day to the shelters. Evacuation shelters are anticipated to remain open until power can be restored and transportation arranged back to the respective cities.

Staging at The Salvation Army disaster warehouse in Beaumont, nine full-size mobile kitchens and two rapid response vehicles will begin feeding operations on Friday morning. “Five mobile kitchens from the Texas Division will head to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to support the response efforts of the Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi Division after that community bore the brunt of the hurricane,” said Alvin Migues, Director of Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army in Texas. “The additional six units will serve at fixed locations in Orange County, Bridge City, and Port Arthur. Each mobile kitchen will be stocked with 2,000 meals and our trained staff will continue to monitor the need in communities throughout the area.”

Partnerships are key to any disaster response effort and The Salvation Army is privileged to work with the Southern Baptist Texas Convention who will set up a field kitchen in Beaumont on Friday. The kitchen has the capacity to produce 10,000 meals each day, and The Salvation Army is planning to utilize 25,000 meals over the span of five days.

“In addition to serving as the staging point for the Texas Division disaster teams, the Beaumont warehouse will be the logistics hub for donated goods and supplies to be distributed to the three Salvation Army divisions impacted by the storm,” said Migues. “We are pleased to have the capacity in Beaumont to assist our neighbors in Louisiana and beyond.”

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. 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.

Salvation Army Officers Evacuate as Disaster Response Teams Prepare for Hurricane Laura Response

Dallas, Texas (August 27, 2020) – Mandatory evacuations are in place throughout much of Southeast Texas as Hurricane Laura’s landfall is now imminent.  Many residents of the region have heeded the warnings and evacuated to cities outside of the Category 4 hurricane’s projected path. While multiple Salvation Army Emergency Disaster response teams and mobile kitchens are headed to the region, Salvation Army officers living and serving in the area have temporarily evacuated.

Captains Francisco & Jan Zuniga are the Commanding Officers of The Salvation Army in Orange, TX. The threat of a major hurricane and serious flooding is not new to the Zuniga’s as they served in the region during Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda, each causing significant power outages and flooding. The Zuniga family were cut off for more than a week when their neighborhood flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

“As Salvation Army Officers (Pastors) we approach these storms and disasters in several ways – how to best serve the needs of our community, our congregation and staff, and our own family,” said Captain Jan Zuniga. “We work hand-in-hand with the Office of Emergency Management to stay up to date on what is expected of The Salvation Army in the aftermath of the storm and how we can help. We stay connected with our church members and staff during any disaster to ensure they are safe and to coordinate local response efforts. Lastly, my husband and I do our best to divide and conquer our many responsibilities, considering what is best for our two young daughters.”

10 Salvation Army mobile kitchens, staff, and volunteers from throughout Texas are positioning in Conroe, north of Houston, in preparation to move into the affected area. A disaster response team from The Salvation Army in Austin is currently providing food service at a large shelter in Huntsville already housing evacuees. Additional units are on standby to deploy after Emergency Disaster Services staff complete their initial assessment once Hurricane Laura moves out of the area.

“There are so many things to think about and handle before the storm arrives,” said Zuniga. “We finalize current social service programs and make plans for the food in our refrigerators and freezers in the case that we may lose electricity. We return after the storm as soon as possible and get right to work. Our biggest job is to make sure the community knows they are not forgotten and that The Salvation Army is here for them. As well as providing for their immediate practical needs, we also want to give them much-needed emotional and spiritual support, remind them that they are loved, and share hope.”

“Our teams will be ready to move into affected communities as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Disaster Services in Texas “This is a very powerful hurricane and we anticipate significant power outages and  flooding throughout East Texas, and storm surge along the entire coastal area. The Salvation Army, along with our committed partners, will do everything possible to reach and serve those affected by the storm.”

The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx.

Salvation Army Disaster Response Teams Position for Hurricane Laura Response

Dallas, Texas (August 25, 2020) – Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers are preparing to move into South East Texas ahead of the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Laura on Thursday morning. Current forecasts suggest that the storm could potentially reach the coastline as a Category 3 Hurricane. Ten mobile kitchens are on standby for deployment with an additional five units in Texas being prepared should additional support be needed.

Feeding operations have already started in South East Texas where regional resource centers have been established. “The Salvation Army teams from Texas City and Beaumont are providing food to those seeking help from local resource centers, even ahead of the storm making landfall,” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) in Texas. “We are especially concerned about the Golden Triangle and Houston areas that have historically suffered significant flooding during similar severe weather events. As the track of the storm develops, we will be in position to react and deploy, as necessary.”

As several counties begin the process of evacuation, an 11-person Incident Command Team has been assembled and will be moving into the area. The team, consisting of Salvation Army EDS professionals and Officers from throughout Texas, will pre-position in Beaumont on Wednesday. “The Incident Command Team members provide leadership in all areas of disaster response including safety, operations, logistics, finance, planning and communication. As you can imagine, there are many moving parts in a large-scale disaster response, and we have an experienced and effective team in place to support the work of our staff and volunteers on the ground,” said Migues. “At this stage we have 10 mobile kitchen teams ready to deploy to deliver food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care, and depending on the impact of the hurricane, have more units available. Units from Houston, New Braunfels, Bryan, Beaumont, Waco, Tyler, Lewisville, and Irving, will be the first to deploy.”

Several cities outside of the projected affected area including Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, are preparing to provide shelter and assistance, should it become necessary, to those evacuating from their homes due to the storm.

EDS personnel will all be pre-screened prior to each deployment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Disaster workers will answer a series of wellness questions to determine if they are fit for duty at the time of deployment. “We have established protocols specifically to address responding to disaster during the current pandemic,” said Migues. “These include wearing a mask while serving, practicing social distancing and healthy hygiene by frequently washing their hands, and of course additional daily cleaning of mobile kitchens and other units. All aspects of service have been impacted by COVID-19 and we are committed to the safety of our staff and volunteers, while continuing to deliver help to those experiencing crisis.”

You can support the disaster work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx.

Texas Salvation Army Preparing Response to Storms Threatening the Gulf Coast

Dallas, Texas (August 24, 2020) – The Salvation Army is closely monitoring not one, but two storms, that could potentially seriously impact communities in South East Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Tropical Storm Laura and Hurricane Marco are both anticipated to make landfall on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. 20 Salvation Army disaster units in Texas and neighboring states are fully stocked and on standby for deployment. Heavy rain and potential flash flooding are a possibility in greater Houston and throughout the Golden Triangle area.

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) staff has been in communication with all affected field units, staff, and volunteers, placing 10 mobile feeding units in Texas 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. Response teams and supplies will be staged north of the potential landfall for rapid deployment into affected communities.

“It is very unusual to have two storms threatening the Gulf Coast at the same time and our EDS teams in Texas are paying special attention to Hurricane Marco,” said Alvin Migues, Texas Emergency Services Director for The Salvation Army. “Many communities in Houston, Beaumont and Orange are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and extensive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019. The Salvation Army was there to provide help and practical assistance after those storms, and we will be ready and prepared to deliver services again to those affected in the coming days.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional challenges for the emergency response teams. “Mobile kitchens, cooking and serving areas, and utensils, are all being deep-cleaned multiple times a day which takes time and increased supplies. Our teams are paying special attention to safety protocols put into place due to COVID-19, wearing PPE and social distancing. Many of our committed volunteers are older in age and so we are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe while ensuring we are in a position to effectively meet the needs of the community.”

Local preparations are underway in Houston where four mobile kitchens are stocked and ready for deployment. “At the height of service during Hurricane Harvey The Salvation Army had 103 mobile kitchens, from all over the country, serving food, snacks and drinks in Houston and South Texas,” said Major Zach Bell, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in Houston. “Our year-round commitment to serve those in crisis is only heightened during disaster response. Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers not only provide for the immediate physical needs of those affected, but also for their emotional and spiritual needs through listening and sharing words of encouragement and prayer. The Salvation Army has been serving the residents of Houston since 1897, providing shelter, food, rehabilitation and much more, and we will continue to serve throughout this storm and beyond.”

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.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.

Worship Gathering Reopening Plan: Effective June 7

**Any Person exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms must stay home**

  • Live Stream will still be available at salvationarmybcs.org
  • No church pick-ups until social distancing guidelines lift.
  • Chapel is limited to 25% occupancy WITH social distancing. Seating will be first come first serve.
  • Fellowship Hall will serve as the overflow with a live feed to the service in the chapel.
  • If you are still wanting to be “in person” but are not ready to come inside yet, you are welcome to stay in your car and stream the service from your mobile device, or If parked in the parking lot, you will also be able to listen to service on 88.9 FM. The best radio reception of service will be in the parking lot on Waverly Street.
  • There will be no food/beverage service provided at the church.
  • There will be no physical handouts, ie: church programs, lesson materials, etc.
  • Offering will be collected at designated spots in the chapel and fellowship hall. The offering plate will not be passed. You can still give online at www.salvationarmybcs.org.
  • We will only have the 11 am service. Sunday School to resume in late summer.
  • Social Distancing MUST be maintained at all times.
  • No physical touching; ie: hugging, handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
  • All ages are welcome to attend. Children MUST be under the supervision of their guardian at all times.
  • Vulnerable individuals are encouraged to shelter at home but are welcome to attend if they feel comfortable doing so.
  • Hand sanitation products will be made available.
  • Masks are recommended but not required
  • Families will be able to sit together. Anyone not living in the same household must have 6 feet, or 2 chairs, between them. You will be shown where to sit when you arrive.
  • Do not “congregate” inside the building. When arriving, you must go straight to your seat. As soon as service is over, rows will be dismissed in order to prevent “bottle necking” at the door. You are welcome to congregate outside as long as social distancing is being practiced.
  • Only one adult in bathroom at a time. A child can be accompanied by an adult.

 

These guidelines will remain into effect until either DHQ or the State of Texas revises their guidelines for places of worship.

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