Getting Ready for Harvey
Since before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston had been meeting the needs of those potentially impacted by opening the door to all four of our homeless shelters, not turning anyone away. Our Corps Community Centers also stocked up on water, snacks, and items to make meals, so they could meet the potential need in their communities.
On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds. From August 26th through the 30th, Harvey covered 70% of Harris County with 1.5 feet of water, flooding an estimated 136,000 structures.
By August 30th, some Salvation Army locations had already begun operating as “shelters of last resort” and had started accepting guests that had been impacted by flooding. Relief teams were starting to reach communities and pockets of residents who had, at that point, received little or no assistance since Hurricane Harvey moved through the area.
Salvation Army Reinforcements Arrive
As the water receded, it left behind a stark picture of the overwhelming relief work and recovery that was ahead. 29 mobile feeding units deployed to provide meals, drink and emotional and spiritual care throughout the city. The Salvation Army Florida Division arrived with a field kitchen, with the capacity to produce 15,000 meals a day to support the increased feeding efforts. They also brought two shower trailers to the area. A warehouse was quickly set up in Houston to house donations and support feeding efforts.
Just days later, threatened by the potential landfall and devastation of Hurricane Irma, assets and personnel from Florida serving in Houston returned to Florida to make necessary preparations. Houston’s Harvey operations continued, uninterrupted with a new deployment of equipment, officers, staff, and volunteers.
On September 8th, the international leader of The Salvation Army, General André Cox, visited Houston. General Cox spent the day meeting with The Salvation Army leadership team, visiting with survivors, and encouraging Salvation Army officers, staff, and volunteers involved in the response efforts. As General Cox spoke to residents, he gave them the assurance that, “God loves you, The Salvation Army loves you, and we will be here to help.”
As water continued to recede throughout affected areas, The Salvation Army ramped up relief efforts to its highest level since the storm ended. An incredible forty mobile feeding units (canteens) responded to hardest hit communities throughout greater Houston. Polaris four wheelers brought supplies to areas inaccessible to our canteens due to debris from the storm.
Our Work Continues
The Salvation Army continues to serve in numerous locations along the Texas coastline including the Corpus Christi/Coastal Bend area, Victoria, Freeport, Galveston County, and the Golden Triangle area of Beaumont, Orange and Port Arthur. More than 70 mobile feeding units and response teams are deployed throughout Texas, peaking at 96.
Because of our generous donors, The Salvation Army was already on the scene to provide relief from the storm. We will continue to help until the healing is complete.