Salvation Army relief teams at work after Hurricane Hanna makes landfall in Texas

By: Philip Burn

Salvation Army staff and volunteers in Corpus Christi and McAllen, Texas, spent Sunday preparing meals and serving those affected by Hurricane Hanna in their respective communities. The Category 1 hurricane swept through South Texas on Saturday evening leaving tens of thousands of residents without power and causing widespread flooding.

“We have deployed seven mobile kitchens and have commenced feeding operations in Corpus Christi, serving San Patricio, Nueces and Kelberg counties, and in McAllen, serving Willacy, Cameron, Starr and Hidalgo counties,” said Alvin Migues, emergency services director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “We anticipate ramping up mobile feeding in affected communities once we are able to fully assess the damage and flooding caused by the storm.”

Additional units from throughout Texas moved into the area on Sunday and will remain as long as needed. The Salvation Army disaster response model is extremely flexible and rapidly scalable with supporting units available from within the state, and beyond, depending on the scale of the disaster and the needs presented. A mobile kitchen from The Salvation Army in Kerrville is providing support in Corpus Christi, while units from San Antonio, Kerrville, Bryan, Austin and Laredo will deploy in the Rio Grande Valley. Additional supplies, such as cleanup kits, bleach, tarps, trash bags and fans will arrive from The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services warehouse in Arlington for distribution by end of day Monday.

In Corpus Christi, The Salvation Army spent much of Sunday serving free hot meals, drinks, and snacks from the Rock City Church parking lot in Flower Bluff. “We know that a lot of people are without power in the Flower Bluff area due to the hurricane and so we are here providing a meal and some encouragement to keep them going for the rest of the day,” said Captain Patrick Gesner, commanding officer of The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi. “We’ll continue serving for as long as we are needed and expect to be out here for several days.”

Of particular concern is the Rio Grande Valley, along the border with Mexico, where many communities are flooded due to sustained heavy rainfall associated with the storm. Volunteers and staff at The Salvation Army in McAllen prepared and delivered meals to those without power on Sunday, including serving residents of a local shelter.

“I am so thankful for our staff and volunteers who consistently answer the call to help those in need in our community,” said Lieutenant Adolph Aguirre, McAllen corps officer. “Our team has been working very hard to provide help to so many during the COVID-19 pandemic, including our drive-thru food pantry and daily to-go meals. Along with the additional Salvation Army teams and mobile kitchens on their way to help, I am confident that we will be able to meet the need caused by Hurricane Hanna too.”

Throughout the disaster response efforts, Salvation Army staff and volunteers will be observing all safety protocols related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. PPE will be worn and social distancing will be maintained.