Austin, TX (September 20, 2011) – The Salvation Army continues to provide practical assistance in Central Texas, more than two weeks after wildfires struck Bastrop County. The recovery process is going to be a long-term effort and The Salvation Army is committed to supporting the people of Bastrop and surrounding communities.
More than 2,000 meals have been served to responders and wildfire survivors by Salvation Army crews from mobile feeding units, as well as 24,994 drinks and 8,664 snacks.
Staff and volunteers have worked tremendously hard to first unload, and then sort, the massive amount of donations received through the KXAN “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign. The Salvation Army Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center, located at 12317 Technology Blvd. #300, Austin, first opened for distribution at 9:00 AM Friday, September 16, and assisted 32 individuals by the end of the day, Saturday. People who have lost their homes are able to freely select household items, clothes, non-perishable food, and baby supplies in addition to receiving a gift card to help off-set immediate expenses. Salvation Army staff is working with several agencies and groups in Bastrop County to promote the distribution effort to those in need.
One visitor to the relief center on Friday was a Youth Pastor from a church in Bastrop; reportedly the only church in the city destroyed by the wildfire. “Wow, you guys have got some tools, I could really use them”, he explained to Captain Mike Morton, The Salvation Army Officer responsible for relief center operations. As he came to the last row of the “store”, the young man came across a large sun shelter. “This is amazing! Do you know what this means?” he excitedly asked Captain Mike Morton. “This means that we’re going to be able to have church on Sunday. It’s truly an answer to prayer!”
Later that same evening Captain Morton shared this experience with other Salvation Army staff over dinner. On hearing this story Major Shannon Winters explained that only three days earlier she had spent a few moments talking, and praying, with a lady who had lost her home in Bastrop. Despite her own loss, the woman’s major concern was how her church, which was completely destroyed in the wildfire, would meet for services the following Sunday. Despite the loss of the church building, she continued to pray that that the Lord would provide a way for them to have church. Little did she know that it would be in the form of a sun shelter from The Salvation Army? Many people have shared wonderful stories of the love shown by others in their community, and the assistance they have received.
Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been privileged to talk with many people who have been directly affected by the wildfires. In addition to practical relief, Salvation Army pastors and staff are available to counsel, and pray, with wildfire survivors, at the Central Texas Wildfire Relief Center, Monday-Saturday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Please call (512) 476-1111 if you have questions regarding The Salvation Army distribution.
Volunteers are still needed at the facility to help sort the remaining donated items. The Salvation Army is no longer accepting in-kind donations but monetary contributions are requested to support the Central Texas Wildfire Relief. Financial contributions can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org