Disaster Response in Texas

Jan 7, 2016 | by Meagan Hofer

As the extensive cleanup and repair work continued in the North Texas communities hit by the Dec. 26 tornadoes, accessibility became increasingly difficult. To address the problem, The Salvation Army mobilized two catering trucks and two Polaris UTVs facilitating the delivery of meals, snacks and drinks to even the hardest hit areas.

Neighborhood streets in the communities of Garland and Rowlett were busy with the sounds of heavy equipment including city dump trucks and bulldozers removing rubble and debris while roofers worked alongside insurance companies on homes. These operations resulted in extremely congested neighborhoods. The Salvation Army Bryan College Station and DFW catering trucks were able to successfully maneuver through the streets to deliver meals, snacks and drinks to grateful residents, workers and volunteers.

Dwayne and Diane Walters, volunteers from The Salvation Army in Bryan College Station, began their deployment on Saturday, Jan. 2. "We've been serving in this same area since Saturday and are getting to know some of the people," said Diane. "The residents and workers are so happy to see The Salvation Army pulling up, especially when we crack open the sides of the truck and start serving. For lunch today we're serving Salisbury steak and au gratin potatoes."

Four mobile feeding units provided drinks, snacks and meals, along with emotional and spiritual care in Garland, Rowlett, the Ovilla/Glenn Heights area, and Sunnyvale.

Meals were served to survivors, first responders and volunteers at the Granger Recreation Center in Garland as well as at a Garland police command post.

Resource centers provided residents with emergency financial assistance along with cleanup kits, hygiene products, blankets, work gloves and other cleaning supplies. Additionally, Salvation Army case workers met with tornado survivors to learn of their specific needs for long-term recovery.

The Salvation Army in Texas reached out to Midwest Food Bank, a long-time disaster partner, in the hope to add emergency food supplies to already established relief operations supporting those who have lost so much as a result of the recent storms.

"Midwest Food Bank has been a great support in recent times of disaster in Texas, including the widespread flooding that hit the state in the spring," said Alvin Migues, Texas disaster service director for The Salvation Army. "The Salvation Army supplies the boxes and Midwest Food Bank provides all of the food, often filling the box with additional items including Bibles."

The Salvation Army contacted UPS for help in delivering the 768 food boxes over the New Year's weekend.

"UPS were delighted to help and they moved mountains to get a driver from Coyote Logistics, a UPS company, to the Midwest Foods warehouse in Peoria, Illinois, by 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve," said Migues. "Incredibly, the delivery truck arrived and 24 pallets were unloaded at The Salvation Army warehouse in Arlington on Friday night.”

By Dan Childs

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