Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Northeast Florida, South Georgia to Send Aid to Texas Coastal Communities

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Northeast Florida, South Georgia to Send Aid to Texas Coastal Communities

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski

Help from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia is en route to victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Texas coastal communities with high wind and storm surge as well as spawned catastrophic flooding inland.

On Monday, the Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross expects to send an Emergency Response Vehicle - manned by a two-person team - to a staging area in Louisiana for deployment where needed in Texas.

More assistance will follow in the coming days, chapter spokeswoman Amber Bierfreund said Sunday.

"From our North Florida region, we've sent out about a dozen people already from the Tallahassee and the Pensacola area, most to Louisiana for the most part to stage to see where they're needed," Bierfreund said. No Jacksonville volunteers have left as yet, she said.

Bierfreund also said they are checking their roster of volunteers to determine who is available to travel to Texas over the next few weeks for what they anticipate will be a large and lengthy disaster relief effort.

The organization also is fundraising to help offset the disaster response costs. In addition, it would welcome new volunteers, she said.

On Tuesday, the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida, based in Jacksonville, will send its mobile kitchen - known as a canteen - to Texas in support of the organization's response to the hurricane. It is capable of serving up to 1,500 meals a day.

The mobile kitchen first will go to Pensacola, where its team will be assigned to a site in Texas, organization officials said Sunday.

"As we monitored the progress of Hurricane Harvey, we made preparations here in Jacksonville in anticipation of potential deployment of our mission to provide food, water, and emotional and spiritual care," said Maj. Rob Vincent, Northeast Florida Area commander. "We are asking for your prayers for first-responders and for those in the community who have been affected by this storm."

Initially, they planned to send the mobile kitchen on Monday.

"We've been asked to delay our canteen deployment until Tuesday due to deteriorating conditions and roads in Texas," said Kelly Belich, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida. …

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