Teams at the Salvation Army New Jersey Division are moving quickly to pack up generators, loading emergency disaster supplies and getting them ready to ship. Thursday, NJTV News caught up with the emergency disaster services crew at their headquarters in Union as they prepared to send out 250 hygiene and 60 clean-up kits.
“These are items requested down south. Could be Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or Houston. So we’re putting together equipment we had left over from Sandy, our last disaster,” said Director of Emergency Disaster Services Michael Clayton.
Like dozens of other organizations, The Salvation Army is mobilizing hurricane relief efforts. First, for the victims of Harvey and now for Irma.
“This is your standard Salvation Army clean-up kit; the mop with handle, a filter for areas with mold, broom, garbage bags,” said Clayton.
The northeast territory requested that extra supplies, especially for cleaning, be packaged and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Clayton says sending simple items can make a huge impact.
“Anybody who’s had their home damaged, they might have a little water damage, soil or sand. We’ll give those out because locally they’ve been depleted of cleaning supplies. So to help people get their lives back in order we’ll supply them,” he said.
Volunteers will hit the streets with the hygiene kits they’ve packed that included things like toothpaste and soap. Even areas that aren’t hard hit are likely to be in need. Clayton says crews are being deployed all over the south to distribute meals and find victims searching for food.
The Salvation Army has multiple types of mobile feeding units. There are canteens with equipment like stoves and ovens, canteens without equipment and feeding kitchens, all deployed during natural disasters.
“As of Wednesday, they’ve served, The Salvation Army down in the south and the Houston area, over 280,000 meals. We have 95 mobile feeding units down there serving the public and those numbers will continue to grow as other disasters like Irma affect the country,” continued Clayton.
Gov. Chris Christie deployed roughly 100 National Guard soldiers to provide support in Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. And, New Jersey State Police led a convoy of five tractor-trailers full of humanitarian aid to Houston. Most relief organizers say the best way you can help is through a financial donation to a reputable organization.
The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania Division was also in New Jersey, loading up supplies to get them out on cargo trucks and planes, and deployed to survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, just as fast as they need them.