As Floridians begin recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division deployed nine officers and staff from the Chicago area to assist with relief efforts and develop a long-term recovery strategy.
This specialized incident management team oversaw all response and service efforts including feeding (stationary site and mobile feeding), supply distributions (clean-up kits, food boxes, bottled water, flashlights, diapers, etc), emotional and spiritual comfort, and initiation of long-term casework. Working with local leaders, they paved the way for The Salvation Army Florida Division to implement a long-term recovery plan, dubbed Operation: Lasting Hope.
Major David Dalberg, Director of Emergency Disaster Services for the Metropolitan Division, helped lead the initiative in Naples, emphasizing the importance of transitioning services back to the local Salvation Army command after initial disaster relief work is complete. “The officers and staff know the community and its needs, and they know the residents,” he said. “They will be here as long-term recovery, restoration and rebuilding efforts move forward.”
Operation: Lasting Hope includes grassroots tactics to inform residents of services, including both roving and fixed feeding efforts, after-school and youth programs, ministries, support services, rental/mortgage and utility assistance, help navigating FEMA paperwork, and more.
Operation: Lasting Hope is expected to last several years, as residents rebuild and restore their communities.
Since Hurricane Irma made landfall, The Salvation Army has provided the following services in Florida and Georgia:
- 928,677 meals
- 529,459 beverages
- 339,628 snacks
- 17,208 food boxes
- 102 mobile feeding vehicles
- 5,633 people sheltered
- 143,335 baby supply kits
- 2,374 clean-up kits
- 9,732 comfort kits
- 28,160 people provided with emotional & spiritual care
How to Help:
The quickest and easiest way to support The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts is to make a monetary donation.
- Text STORM to 51555
- Visit HelpSalvationArmy.org
- Call 1.800.SAL.ARMY