Meals served with a side of hope: The Salvation Army ramps up service after Hurricane Idalia

Sep 2, 2023 | by Brad Rowland

Meals served with a side of hope: The Salvation Army ramps up service after Hurricane Idalia

By: Michelle Hartfield

The Salvation Army is ramping up meal service in the areas of Florida most affected by Hurricane Adalia. In Perry, Florida, located in Taylor county, 95 percent of residents are still without power as a result of the storm’s impact.

In addition to meeting human need via hot meal service, The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster specialists are always willing to offer emotional and spiritual care for survivors processing many different levels of trauma. Even in a drive-through distribution, with little time for extended conversation, teams try to check on survivors as they serve.

"My son is epileptic," said one survivor as her toddler laughed alongside team members loading their meals into the car. "All of the stress of this has thrown him off completely, and he has not eaten since the storm hit. Hopefully a hot meal will help, and I can get him to eat tonight. Thank you so much."

Another woman joked about the added benefit of peace in a chaotic situation. "We have a lot of evacuated family staying with us,” she said. “With all of the kids and the generator, there is just so much noise. This is such a blessing just to have a hot meal and moment of quiet."

Major Candice Biggers leads the team of Emotional and Spiritual Care specialists for the Incident Management Team serving in Florida.

"The Emotional and Spiritual care of those we serve is so vital because it brings hope to those who feel like they have nothing left,” Major Biggers said. “They feel abandoned and like they have lost everything, and we can provide comfort, often by simply listening to their experiences. We are the hands and feet of Jesus here in Florida."

Whether the need is a hot meal or simply a kind word and an ear to listen, The Salvation Army will continue to meet the needs created by Hurricane Idalia.

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