Central Texas volunteers travel to Florida to assist in Hurricane Ian recovery efforts

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Around one million Floridians evacuated before Hurricane Ian took landfall on Wednesday afternoon. Hours before that, trucks from Texas headed to Florida in the morning.

The Salvation Army sent six trucks from Arlington to Florida. These mobile feeding units came from Austin, Granbury, Irving, Houston, San Antonio and Pasadena.

Six canteen trucks, like this one, are heading to Florida from Arlington to help feed victims...
Six canteen trucks, like this one, are heading to Florida from Arlington to help feed victims of Hurricane Ian.(Courtesy of Major Jim Taylor)

“Those units we’re talking about are called canteen units and they’re self contained and they are able to cook, they have a freezer, a refrigerator,” Major Jim Taylor with the Salvation Army - Waco said.

Once they arrive, the Salvation Army’s canteen units can feed 500 to 1,500 people per day. All are stocked with water and food supplies plus a generator so they can work in areas without power.

“Because they’re on wheels they’re able to go up and down streets, and they can change locations from day to day,” Major Taylor said.

The Salvation Army’s disaster service employees are the first to travel during an emergency call. In two weeks, they’ll determine if there’s a need for more volunteers.

With Hurricane Ian, Major Taylor expects to receive that call soon. He said he’s already asked volunteers with emergency disaster training for help.

Another organization, Texas Baptist Men, is ready to serve once they get the call.

“As we see what the needs are then we will deploy those volunteers,” John Hall, Texas Baptist Men spokesperson, said. “It’s just a matter of time before everything becomes a little more clear.”

Depending on the need, the organization can provide showers, wash clothes and remove fallen trees.

“Essentially we’re trying to get folks wherever they are after this disaster we’re helping them with the recovery process,” Hall said.

It’s a need these two organizations are ready to fulfill.

“Salvation Army is across the nation,” Major Taylor said. “We’re one family in the Salvation Army and so we are going to help each other when there’s a need.”

The Salvation Army is asking for monetary donations at the moment, instead of goods. Donate online here or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. All donations go to direct services on the ground.