Local Salvation Army officers help in Harvey relief efforts in Houston area
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- As Hurricane Irma rips through Florida, preparations are being made to help the Sunshine State.
In the meantime, there are groups still trying to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Local central Virginia church groups, like the Salvation Army in Lynchburg and Roanoke, are joining forces to help victims in the Houston, Texas area.
Lynchburg Salvation Army Captain Trey Jones is on the ground in Houston.
He is in charge of the disaster response for all of the Salvation Army operations in the Houston area. He said Hurricane Harvey left destruction all across the city.
"This is the most devastating disaster that I've been a part of," Capt. Jones said.
More than two weeks after the storm hit, thousands are still without power and need help to survive.
"Katrina was a very devastating hurricane, so not to discount what happened there, but just the nature of this being a major city as big as Houston being impacted, makes it a little bit more devastating just because of the amount of people we are serving," Jones said.
The Salvation Army's main goal right now is making sure storm victims have what they need.
Meaning their team is working around the clock to dish out meals and get other essential items to those victims.
Jones said they are running about 25 of mobile feeding kitchens. "We do all the cooking in these trucks when we get onto the site," Jones said.
Inside those mobile feeding trucks are ovens, refrigerators and stove tops -- everything needed for feeding and cooking.
Jones said once they get established in a community people start lining up to receive food.
"In some areas we're doing as many as 300-400 meals for a single lunch just because there's so many people here that need it," he said.
The Salvation Army is also operating out of a 53 foot tractor trailer truck kitchen that's capable of producing 20,000 meals a day.
Roanoke Salvation Army Captain Monica Seiler is also in Texas helping Captain Jones. Jones said there are roughly 10 volunteer officers from the Virginia area he is working alongside.
Capt. Jones will be serving in the Houston area until September 21st.
He said the Salvation Army will be in Houston until there is no need for their services anymore.
And as Hurricane Irma is hitting Florida the Salvation Army is preparing to send volunteers there as well.
"We're trying to make sure that we are able to serve there as well; to reduce the amount of service that we have and spread our resources out so that we can help those in need in Florida as well," Jones said.
He explained that their long term recovery operation will probably last for 2-to-5 years in Houston.
"We're gonna be in service for along time in both of these states," Jones said.
If you would like to keep up with their relief efforts, you can visit their Facebook page.
You can also make a donation to the Salvation Army on their website. Those funds will help them help others.