Salvation Army among group of organizations helping TS Harvey evacuees

Salvation Army of Central Arkansas is part of the groups helping evacuees in southeast Texas (Photo Courtesy: Salvation Army)

During a natural disaster, the Salvation Army rushes to the most devastated area. Tropical Storm Harvey, initially a category 4 hurricane, was no exception.

The unique weather event paralyzed the nation's fourth largest city, Houston, with non-stop rain and record flooding.

“When we knew that things were starting to develop, and we were looking at a hurricane possibly hitting, Salvation Army became very proactive working alongside the American Red Cross," said William Tollett, Director of Development for Salvation Army Central Arkansas.

In Arlington, Texas, crews set up a 150,000 sq. foot staging center. It’s as close as crew could get without getting in the way.

"They're staging water and food and clothing and all kinds of resources," said Tollett.

The Arkansas and Oklahoma division of the non-profit arrived on Saturday with mobile feeding units called canteens.

The trucks are equipped with deep fryers, sinks, and refrigerators.

Tollett tells Channel 7 a total of 42 units are feeding the displaced and hungry in southeast Texas.

"Each one of those canteen units can feed about 1,500 meals at a serving," said Tollett.

However, the non-profit’s initial efforts go to first responders.

"We want to keep them hydrated,” said Tollett. “We want to keep them fed as they're in that search and rescue mode."

After the area becomes stable, Tollett says social workers will work with FEMA to further help evacuees with immediate needs like food and shelter.

"New roofs, new furniture, maybe just meeting a gap in their insurance that the insurance didn't cover," said Tollett.

Tollett says the canteen units will be there three to six months and their workers will be servicing the evacuees three to five years.

We checked with the Arkansas Department of Human Services to see if the State of Texas requested help.

A spokesperson says they have not been activated yet, but will help with mass housing and feeding if called upon.

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