Tampa, FL (August 30, 2012)—Today (Thursday) is the final full day of Operation Rehabilitation, a collaborative effort with The Salvation Army, the City of Tampa and other agencies to hydrate first responders and the public in downtown Tampa.
Eleven Salvation Army units are strategically stationed at downtown fire hydrants for easy access to city water.
To date, more than 25,000 cups of water have been served to first responders and the public – a refuge for people who may not be accustomed to Tampa’s August heat and humidity.
Salvation Army Capt. Josue Prieto, from Brooksville, said serving during Operation Rehabilitation is rewarding.
“People come up to us, say thank you and ask us to pray for them,” he said. “I pray for their safety and our mission.”
For Marvin Lee, a Salvation Army volunteer from Vero Beach, Operation Rehabilitation has meant giving encouragement to those who need it.
Tony, a homeless man came to his hydration station near the Tampa Bay Times Forum Monday asking for water. Lee said he gave Tony his lunch, prayed with him and gave him water.
“That’s what we are here for: Giving people water and encouragement,” Lee said.
Lt. Jamie Ward, a Salvation Army officer from Bradenton, said the best part of her week-long service has been meeting people and making sure they are safe from the heat. On Monday she was able to give first aid to a police officer and on Wednesday (August 29) she was able to meet Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.
Ward said Castor praised The Salvation Army’s work in Operation Rehabilitation.
“Working with partners like Chief Castor is such a joy,” said Major Tom Louden, incident commander. “The mission of The Salvation Army is one that most Americans appreciate and embrace and allows us to reach the deepest needs of our communities.”
Louden said The Salvation Army is grateful for the city’s partnership during Operation Rehabilitation.
“We look forward to any opportunity we may have to join together to help others,” he said.
Along with Operation Rehabilitation, The Salvation Army is also serving residents in the Palm Beach area after Isaac caused massive flooding.
Since flooding began in the area, The Salvation Army’s South Florida units have served almost 4,000 meals.
In Palm Beach County, The Salvation Army continues to provide daily meals, drinks, comfort kits and pastoral care in Acreage and Loxahatchee communities.
Relief efforts will extend throughout the impacted region.
Nationally, The Salvation Army is staging emergency response teams in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and other states.
The Salvation Army has 24 mobile feeding units (canteens), a fully equipped 54-foot field kitchen, and approximately 60 personnel stationed along the Gulf Coast in Hattiesburg and Gulfport Miss., and Baton Rouge, La.
In addition to feeding, The Salvation Army is prepared to provide:
• Clean-up kits containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies
• Hygiene kits
• Drinking water
• Shower units
• First-aid supplies
• Emotional/spiritual care
The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to prepare an Emergency supply kit and stay informed to all warnings. Disaster response professionals recommend having a three to five day supply of food and water for each individual of your family as well as flashlights, medication, and battery powered radio.
For more information on how The Salvation Army of Florida is responding to the storm, follow @salarmyfla on Twitter, search for “Salvation Army Florida Division” on Facebook or go to our website, www.salvationarmyflorida.org. You can also go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org other ways The Salvation Army is helping residents recover from a disaster.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by this disaster to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Donors may also contribute $10 via their phone bill by *text messaging the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief and can be sent to your local Salvation Army in Florida. Please designate “2012 Disaster Relief” on all checks.
At this point, in-kind donations are not being accepted. Used clothing and used furniture are seldom required during an incident. However, these gifts are vitally important in supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Store or dial 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).
In the short-term aftermath of a storm, Salvation Army officers and staff will focus primarily on the immediate needs of disaster survivors and first-responders, providing food and hydration for impacted individuals and families.
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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.